|By Richard Minney||
|November 26, 2012 08:00 AM EST||
In a tough economic climate everyone is looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing performance. More and more small and mid-size businesses are realizing the benefits of business management software. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and other business management tools are prohibitively expensive to develop in-house and there's simply no need when you can find great solutions in the marketplace; however, buying a product straight off-the-shelf can prove to be a false economy.
What Are the Risks?
Your first headache when implementing any new software or service is going to be integration. Do you have a dedicated IT department with time to roll out new software? Many packages have a steep learning curve and installation can be more problematic than expected. There will also be ongoing overhead involved in keeping the software up to date.
If you intend to plug into existing systems, then compatibility and security will be another concern. Will you need to splash out for multiple software packages in order to effectively manage and analyze your business? Will those solutions play nicely together? Do you have compliance issues in terms of security guarantees for your customers?
You should also look to cater for mobile device access, which is increasingly complicated by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Secure access to the information and functionality that you need, wherever you happen to be, is essential if you are really going to reap the benefits of business management software.
Another major issue with most off-the-shelf options is the fact that one size does not fit all. A set of generic features cannot possibly cater to the nuances of every individual industry. You will need industry-specific solutions that have been designed by industry experts. Ideally you'll also have the ability to further tailor that software to meet the demands of your business.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
The good news is that there are ready, cost-effective solutions that can circumvent and mitigate these concerns. SaaS can be the perfect middle ground between an expensive bespoke solution and something off-the-shelf.
Marco Limena, vice president, Operator Channels at Microsoft put it like this, "The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority - growing their businesses." Research by Edge Strategies revealed that "59% of companies currently using cloud services report significant productivity benefits."
By considering a cloud-based service you can eliminate installation and upgrade issues at a stroke.
Cloud-based software is growing more mobile and secure and cost-effective with every passing year. By allowing you to access your business management tools through a web browser or a mobile app, it can free you from the shackles of the desk. You can access the information you need and effectively run your business from anywhere.
An effective cloud-based solution will also enable multiple points of entry for different members of your staff. Collaboration should be a breeze with the ability to define workflows and roles and deal with situations in real-time without having to go outside the system to communicate via email, chat or phone. That should also give you a solid record of completed tasks, expenses and invoices so you have a central repository for your business records. Over time, that information can prove invaluable, especially if you choose a system capable of providing analysis and reports.
Things to Ask
With any solution you look at, it's vital to examine the ongoing support being offered. Do you have access to technical support? Can you expect to benefit from upgrades and updates to the system going forward or will you be asked to outlay more cash? Will there be any set up costs? You also need to verify the suitability of the software for your specific industry and see that it ticks off all your boxes. Does the software have industry best practices built-in for your specific sector?
Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you decide. Off-the-shelf business management software may look economical on paper, but SaaS will prove to be the smart choice over on-premise software for most businesses in the long term.
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Sep. 1, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 545
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Sep. 1, 2015 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 419
Microservice architecture is fast becoming a go-to solution for enterprise applications, but it's not always easy to make the transition from an established, monolithic infrastructure. Lightweight and loosely coupled, building a set of microservices is arguably more difficult than building a monolithic application. However, once established, microservices offer a series of advantages over traditional architectures as deployment times become shorter and iterating becomes easier.
Sep. 1, 2015 06:30 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
Sep. 1, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 435
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Sep. 1, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 248
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Sep. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 509
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sep. 1, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 914
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
Sep. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 240
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 324
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 408
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 373
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Sep. 1, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 607
Several years ago, I was a developer in a travel reservation aggregator. Our mission was to pull flight and hotel data from a bunch of cryptic reservation platforms, and provide it to other companies via an API library - for a fee. That was before companies like Expedia standardized such things. We started with simple methods like getFlightLeg() or addPassengerName(), each performing a small, well-understood function. But our customers wanted bigger, more encompassing services that would "do ...
Sep. 1, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 278
Docker containerization is increasingly being used in production environments. How can these environments best be monitored? Monitoring Docker containers as if they are lightweight virtual machines (i.e., monitoring the host from within the container), with all the common metrics that can be captured from an operating system, is an insufficient approach. Docker containers can’t be treated as lightweight virtual machines; they must be treated as what they are: isolated processes running on hosts....
Sep. 1, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 163
Introducing Containers & Microservices Bootcamp at @CloudExpo Silicon Valley | #Containers #Microservices
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
Sep. 1, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 364
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
Sep. 1, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 408
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Sep. 1, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 414
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
Aug. 31, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 527
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, answered that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for ...
Aug. 31, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 493
What does “big enough” mean? It’s sometimes useful to argue by reductio ad absurdum. Hello, world doesn’t need to be broken down into smaller services. At the other extreme, building a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is just asking for trouble: it’s too big, and it needs to be decomposed.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 365