If you are reading this, then there is no doubt that you are already using cloud software in your day to day life. You may be reading your personal e-mail via services provided by Google, Yahoo or Microsoft or you are using an Apple or Samsung device to upload your family photos into the Cloud via the Internet.
It is not just your personal life that has been affected by the Cloud revolution, companies can now run their entire business using Cloud-based solutions.
Using the company credit card, you can sign up to a Cloud service with just a few clicks and instantly start (with little or no configuration) using software which will manage almost any part of you organisation.
With a quick online search, you can find software to manage a sales pipeline, create and manage projects, manage workflow in the back office, edit documents, share and collaborate using online meeting tools, send invoices and track payments using accounting software. The Cloud has opened up a world of endless possibilities allowing you to access business solutions right at your fingertips!
The simple monthly pricing models and free trials that these solutions offer allows businesses to try different tools so that they can find the solution which is right for them. In addition to this, the level of risk is reduced as they do not have to commit all of their available annual budget and can easily swap one tool for another.
There are a plethora of options available for running your business in the Cloud and you don’t need to just choose a single provider to run every aspect of your business. You can choose a selection of the best or cheapest tools available to carry out specific business functions.
The Cloud software world contrasts greatly with the software world of the past. Typically, if you weren’t able to find a Cloud solution, there were two main options for businesses wishing to use software to run their business. One was to run and manage your own IT team to build a custom solution and the other was to choose from the limited number of large software houses to run a software project for you.
These would both generally involve a development cycle which was both lengthy and costly. You would have an arduous design, build, test and deploy lifecycle, which by the time you had built a solution with your requirements, the world would have moved on.
Software was traditionally created by coders, who would often reinvent the wheel, and then would need to deploy their creation to machines living in a server room of an organisation.
THE NEW WORLD
Spreadsheets of data stored on a local filesystem or documents lost deep within the account’s team hard drive which no one else in the organisation can access is now fast becoming a thing of the past.
Businesses no longer need to manage their IT infrastructure or have developers reinvent the wheel to provide a business solution, instead they need access to Cloud software which is managed by the provider.
The need for complex integrations with complex ‘integration buses’ has diminished as companies adopt cloud solutions with standard web based integrations and focus on configuration instead of building from the bottom up.
With this in mind, it is important to understand that you no longer need a single one-size fits all solution that will run your entire business, instead you can select from multiple software products carrying out distinct functions. A CRM, Case Management or Workflow tool will enable you to audit or track how each of these functions are used.
To achieve harmony between these functions, integration is done using simple and secure web based and Cloud friendly protocols such as REST and JSON or via ‘stitching tools’.
There is an emergence of ‘stitching’ tools such as IFTT or Zapier which allow you to select out-of-the-box integrations and join your cloud based productivity tools together seamlessly. You can switch in and out tools and providers at your choosing.
It is clear that there is a new world of software in the Cloud and businesses that embrace this new world will ultimately be able to get ahead, focus on their core business and have a set of solutions or platform for continuous innovation.