By Central Consulting Group (CCG), a Deltek Partner.
The Cloud brings computing technology as a utility service, enabling on-demand access to better software tools for companies to improve their operations.
The Evolution of Cloud Technology
As we look back over the first two decades of the 21st century, a clear pattern in business models has emerged across industries, and across Global markets: double down on your core competency and outsource the rest.
Within the IT industry, this resulted in the Big-tech companies like Google, Amazon and IBM, allowing access to their vast data computing and storage capacity to clients externally. The clients build and run their applications on the outsourced computing infrastructure, and pay for it on a pay-per-use model. This was the initial Cloud offering that became widely known as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
The pay-per-use pricing model for utility services is nothing new. It was first popularised for the distribution of more basic essentials such as water and electricity. The IaaS allows businesses – small and large – to substantially lower their IT operating costs. Company’s budgets, historically spent on data centers, servers and labor to manage these, now can be re-directed into propelling the company’s essence; to drive the differentiation in the market.
For the companies that build software tools, the Cloud technology allowed not just to outsource the infrastructure, but also to improve the distribution and management of software tools provided to their customers. This gave way to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model. SaaS brought a number of operational benefits to software providers, and in turn to their customers, the software uses.
For the SaaS providers, the model greatly improved software versioning control, eliminating the dreaded software version fragmentation where different clients operate a different version of the same software. In a SaaS model, the software is not installed on client computers, but instead, it runs on the Cloud. A software provider deploys and manages only one ‘live’ version. This greatly streamlines costs associated with deploying security and stability patches, software license management and user support efforts.
In turn, these operational savings, allow a SaaS provider to focus on the innovation and improving value and experience they bring to their customers. With only one version of the software to test for, new features, usability, stability and security upgrades are brought to the market with much shorter release cycles.
For software users, SaaS can bring significant improvements in the operations of their company. The main reasons include the total cost of ownership, security enhancements, productivity, staying market relevant, pursuing innovation and responding quickly to industry disruptions. All these reasons enhance market competitiveness.
Five Reasons Not to Fall Behind
1. Cloud Computing often saves you money
IT traditional infrastructure is expensive and resource intensive. Cloud allows your company not only to utilize fewer resources for IT maintenance but also saves you costs associated with the maintenance of servers, networks, updates, and downtime. Companies who have already migrated to the Cloud have been able to focus their time and budget in other business necessities and see an increase in their bottom line. A clear example is the case of Westland Resources, an Environmental Firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Our assessment was pretty cut and dried”, Maloney said. “Over 5 years we would save a lot of money in hardware purchases, software upgrades and our IT staff’s time”. Freeing up staff was a big draw of the migration because it meant they could work on more strategic projects vs. maintaining systems. Because of the cost-savings, the firm’s partners were on board right away, Maloney said. Their only initial concern was security since this was the firm’s first cloud-based app. “But as soon as CCG walked them through all the security provided by Amazon Web Services, the partners realized there was nothing to worry about,” she said.
2. Cloud Computing improves security and deployment
Organizations have the perception that their data would be more vulnerable to breaches of security in the Cloud. However, the opposite is often true. In the case of Elcon Associates, an Engineering Firm based in Portland, Oregon, they nearly lost all their on-premise ERP data as a result of a security breach.
“Luckily, our IT manager discovered the breach and shut the system down before the hacker got past our first accounting server,” said Dennise Kunkel, Accounting and Office Manager at the engineering firm. “Our backup data was on our second accounting server, so we could have had an issue with that, too.” The security scare was what finally motivated Elcon to switch from on-premise Deltek Vision to cloud-based Deltek First Vision Essentials. “We had been considering moving to the cloud for a while, but were busy and didn’t realize our on-premise system was that vulnerable,” she explained.
Now Elcon has the peace of mind that comes with using Deltek Cloud which leverages a Service Provider that’s ranked highest in security and uptime: Amazon Web Services (AWS). One of the reasons why Deltek Cloud leverages AWS IaaS is because of its security capabilities. Amazon Web Services came out on top in a Forrester study that evaluated Cloud Service Providers against 15 key security criteria. The study found that “AWS demonstrated a broad set of security capabilities in data center security, certifications and network security”.
Using the robust and reliable Amazon infrastructure, Deltek Cloud provides a fully deployed and managed application environment all supported by Deltek expertise. Being a SaaS provider, Deltek manages a significant portion of the application environment (OS, Middleware, Runtimes, and Applications) allowing the customer to be comfortable that the application environment is being well cared for and they can focus on their core competences.
“Our data is stored, backed up and watched over by Deltek Cloud, so we don’t have to worry about it,” Kunkel said. For more information, read Deltek’s Amazon Web Services Case Study here.
3. Cloud Computing improves resource productivity
For industries that derive most of their revenue through the work of their human resources, keeping productivity high means higher revenues. Cloud computing allows resources to use the time otherwise spent in manual administration on billable hours instead. In the case study of Baker Design Group, an architecture, and design firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Cloud improved their timesheet process time and accuracy.
“We have complex projects with lots of phases and additional services. Employees used to do timesheets manually, which was time-consuming, so they’d wait several weeks to turn timesheets in. By then, they couldn’t always remember what they had done” “Now, employees enter time more frequently, so it’s more accurate”.
In addition, SaaS allows for Mobility. Since SaaS only requires a thin-client, usually a web-browser running on any computer or a mobile device, users can access software tools they need at any time from anywhere the internet is available.
4. Cloud Computing is a good strategy to attract and retain top talent
The future of work is also related to Cloud Computing. The top professionals try to avoid their skills to get trapped in dealing with obsolete technology because this will limit their career perspectives. For this reason, a lack of Cloud adoption might make them seek new opportunities in organizations with better technology adoption and up-to-date maintenance. This is also related to the productivity point above as the Cloud allows resources to better use their time on productive projects rather than on administration making them more engaged employees.
At the same time, a Cloud Computing strategy can work like a magnet to attract talent, which will allow organizations access to the most qualified profiles in the market. Having an automated system in the Cloud that would create and manage unlimited forms, requisitions resumes and applications, manage social media and provide the option of “Mobile Apply” for job seekers among others, will not only allow your organization to find the right talent quicker but also have better visibility into your applicant pipeline, improved quality of hire and a faster on-boarding. This will allow your organization to start your projects faster and therefore, billing faster.
5. Cloud Computing encourages innovation in the organization
Innovation and keeping up with disruption are the main components of success in any growth-oriented organization. This translates to the ability to develop new strategies and evaluate their adoption in the market. In this sense, Cloud Computing is ahead of traditional IT processes. Since resources and new application features are available faster and more efficiently, it is easier to develop new strategies as feedback and process improvements are attained at a faster pace.
Cloud Computing also allows for scalability, which makes it easier to develop proposals with a better value and more client-focused, all of this at a less cost than traditional IT.
The Cloud Computing and utility-as-a-service business SaaS models are no longer emerging trends. They are well established and they are here to stay. Moving to the Cloud should now be in your organization’s business priorities. Keeping up with technology and its constant disruptions will ensure your organization stays relevant and ahead. The result will be better customer and employee satisfaction and in the end, higher bottom lines.
About the Author
CCG serves architectural, engineering and professional services firms across North America, the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East by helping them get more out of their software investment. As a Deltek Partner, CCG specializes in implementing, training, tailoring, customizing and integrating Deltek ERP Software; as well as assisting clients with their transition to Deltek Vantagepoint, the next generation of Deltek. CCG also helps their clients solve any challenges and supports them in every step of the project lifecycle. In addition, CCG is the parent company of EleVia Software, which provides add-on financial and field service products for Deltek software.
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