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How to Create a Strategic BDR Plan

How to Create a Strategic BDR Plan

The Right Data For Backup & Disaster Recovery

For backup and disaster recovery (BDR) planning, you need more than a trusted solution. You need a data center that can’t fail. You need an IT team that won’t keep you up at night. Server room aside, you might want to back up everything, or you might want to delete outdated information. You might fear that your BDR plan will be too expensive if it becomes all-inclusive, or you might wonder if you’re cutting costs while risking a slow restore in the event of a disaster. Fortunately, many IT service plans for disaster recovery often rely on managed cloud services that allow you to scale up or down, adjusting your costs on a monthly, or even daily, basis (depending on your managed IT solution). However, BDR options abound, so let’s look at how to build the right BDR plan for your business needs.

BDR Solutions Across Devices

Choosing BDR

Things to consider when choosing a BDR plan revolve around your own personal preferences regarding on-premise backup vs. cloud backup. Where do you want your data stored? The varieties of BDR options are seemingly endless as we move toward a society that depends on cloud-based technology to enable nearly every aspect of business culture. Your BDR decisions are vital and unique to your company size, geography, climate, and more. Small business technology can help businesses struggling to grow stay competitive, even when business is slow. Larger businesses, especially manufacturers with complex ERP systems, choose cloud-based BDR for peace of mind against ever-evolving threats of cyberattacks and downtime. Across all industries and organizations, good BDR planning promotes the universally desired benefits of reduced risks and lower costs. So, information management similarities and differences in mind, where do you want to save, store and share your company data?

BDR Plan Quick Q&A

  • How much critical data do you need to fully protect?
  • How many users and devices will be affected by your backup and disaster recovery plan?
  • What are your greatest vulnerabilities (natural disasters, ransomware, malwaresocial engineering attacks)?
  • Do you know your RTO & RPO? Do you need DRaaS?
  • What is your BDR training and testing strategy?
  • Have you ever experienced data loss or data corruption? How did you respond? Did you achieve restoration?

Save Your Files & Save Them Again

Where is your data currently stored? In a web-based software? On a server in an office closet? In the basement storage area? In multiple places, including on personal devices (in light of BYOD trends)? You’re not alone if you’re struggling with data management. Likewise, you’re not alone if you’re struggling to choose a BDR solution that will be a perfect fit for your company’s future.

3 Basic BDR Roadmaps

If you want to back up everything, or if you want to back up one file, you have three basic options for saving your information.

  • Cloud services for BDR with true cloud environments and 100% virtual office infrastructure
  • Software solutions deployed on company-owned hardware that stores backups for disaster recovery
  • Hybrid cloud infrastructure that leverages cloud-based software solutions, off-site data centers and external technology specialists

Back up, Data Backup

A common concern is that a cloud-based BDR solution will cause excessive external data center usage, resulting in unforeseen ingress and egress expenses, among other unpredictable costs. The fear of creating luxury backups is real, and business owners have struggled in the past with surprise bills that read like fine-print privacy disclosures. This is why the planning stages of your business continuity strategy are critical in terms of IT budgeting. If you’re concerned about decisions regarding incremental backups, recovery point objectives, recovery time objectives, compliance, and all other backup and disaster recovery choices and expenses, then you’ll do well to first assess your core operations. If migrating to managed hosting, you might choose to waterfall excess data storage (such as old servers or unused servers) away from your cloud solutions. An IT specialist can assess your systems and make detailed server management recommendations.

Your BDR Plan Data Core

In a perfect business world, you can back up all of your data and also securely delete it at whim. Unfortunately, the burden of managing data often requires a highly skilled IT team to monitor and safeguard your BDR hardware and software. If you’re not at the point at which you can easily back up everything daily, then you’ll want to ensure you’re protecting critical information.

  • Financial data, including accounting software, invoices, payroll, transactions
  • Customer information and client data, including saved CRM information like prospect notes and lists
  • Critical data from project management activities
  • Employee information, including all HR files that enable operations
  • Paper-based communications, including image saves and scans
MSPAlliance Cyber Verify A Rating Badge Awarded to EstesGroup

A Perfect Plan For Your Business

If you need proactive or reactive backup and disaster recovery services, EstesCloud technology consultants are highly skilled at on-premise, hybrid and private cloud solutions. An IT expert can help you create a penny-wise BDR solution that keeps your data safe.

After The Disaster Plan, The Disaster

After The Disaster Plan, The Disaster

Disaster Plan: Dressed For Disaster

What Happens After You Choose A Disaster Plan?

If you’ve already settled on a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy, you need to know that this is not a “set IT and forget IT” business solution. Yes, you now know that your backups are more reliable. Yes, you know that you have good hardware backing up your data. However, this brings about new focus to your data management activities: training employees, testing backups, and preparing for disasters through routine “fire drills.” Technology gets outdated quickly, so you’ll need to keep an eye on things like server care, cybersecurity, preventative maintenance, software updates, and data storage quality. Tech training is key: a good disaster plan means nothing if your team isn’t solidly prepared for a disaster, especially if it comes in the form of a malicious attack.

 

Training & Awareness

Because technology is always changing, and our world is becoming more digital, staff needs constant training. This is especially true in regard to cyberthreats. Advanced social engineering attacks often result in a data breach. Train your staff on everything from mobile device theft prevention to remote worker security. Your employees are the gatekeepers of your data. Cybercriminals often enter a network by phishing through methods like malvertising. One vulnerable staff member opens your portal to the dark web. Train and test your users. Disaster prevention begins with empowering your team.

 

 

Hardware Maintenance & Testing

A solid disaster recovery plan protects the backup of the backups. Test your hardware and also test the methodology, the infrastructure, and the people backing up your backups:

  • Do you have generators on-site?
  • Do you need backup batteries?
  • How reliable are your cooling systems?
  • Are your fire detection devices up to code?
  • Do you have flexible cloud storage for redundancy?

 

Timely Technology Testing

Your disaster plan should include a testing schedule. Testing should cover everything from user behavior to cloud storage quality. To be certain that your backups are ready and that the guardians of your data are worthy of the task, include the following points in your business continuity strategy:

  • 24/7/365 monitoring of all devices
  • Real-time alerts and incident response
  • Responsive maintenance, patches and updates
  • Continual monitoring of the cyberthreat landscape
  • Penetration testing
  • Disaster response training and cybersecurity training

 

Multi-Location Data Storage

Because natural disasters can quickly level your facilities, include an off-site backup as part of your data management strategy. A good disaster plan lists potential threats and appropriate responses. For example, if your threat is a tornado, an off-site backup is essential, and a tornado drill is also necessary. If your threat is ransomware, then your BDR strategy should include incident response procedures. Do you plan your IT budget with the possibility in mind that one day you might end up paying a ransom fee? Cloud-based backup allows you flexibility and resiliency here. If you know the ransomer doesn’t hold the only copy of your data, then you know you won’t need to pay a stranger to get it back.

What is your disaster plan?

Network Connectivity

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are complex and therefore need a robust disaster plan.

Our IT experts can take you through an ERP hosting demo to show you the power of private and hybrid cloud technology. We can tailor your hosting demo to be industry-specific. EstesGroup’s long history includes thousands of success stories in Epicor hosting, Prophet 21 cloud, and other ERPs (like Sage, QuickBooks and SYSPRO). If you’d like to see how ERP hosting can help your business, please fill out the form below, and our IT & ERP experts will prepare a custom demo.

How to Move Your Business to the Cloud

How to Move Your Business to the Cloud

How to Choose a Cloud for Your Business

Companies are moving to the cloud in droves, swift to flock to new IT solutions. Fortunately, there are a lot of birds wise to the server sky. When you’re choosing to put your data on a remote server (“the cloud”), you’ll need to know that your internet activity is secure and protected against disasters. Leveraging the power of off-site servers allows you to securely scale your system up, down or around. However, just how to move your business to the cloud can become a bit cloudy with so many hybrid, private, public and multi-cloud options available.

How to Choose a Cloud For Your Business Data Spiral

Two-Step to the Cloud

First of all, moving your business to the cloud allows you to effortlessly adapt your technology to your changing needs. When you host software on a physical server that’s right in your own building, you have to invest a lot of time and energy dancing around in-house technology management.

  • Is your server the right fit for your current state?
  • Can your server support your future goals?
  • Does your server justify its costs?
  • Is your server ready for a disaster? Where do your backups go?

Egress Expense and Other IT Considerations

If your software (whether a basic app or a complex ERP solution) is in the cloud, you pay for your specific usage, rather than a blanket allowance.  Remote work enablement becomes easy sailing. Moreover, it opens the way for new ways of distributing your workforce. Furthermore, greater efficiency is a given. In the end, your secure, virtual office is everywhere you go, and you can also monitor and manage it from any location of your choice.

 

Unfortunately, data loss happens for every company. Sometimes through a breach. Sometimes through a disaster. Let’s look at a little data delirium:

  • More than 50% of us house our data in the same room as our core technology.
  • We tend to count on the data backup, meaning we miss the business continuity step of creating a disaster recovery policy.
  • Double trouble is a common business mistake. When your backup is stored on-premise with the core IT infrastructure, you take risks.
  • Moving to the cloud is often delayed by indecisiveness.

In summary, many businesses stand unprepared to for a company crisis, like a malware attack. Fortunately, our managed IT specialists can show you how to move your business to the secure cloud.

 

 

 

Move to the Cloud for Business Success

Here’s a basic walkabout of how to choose business cloud solutions:

  • Understand your cloud computing options. First, do a little research on different types of IT infrastructure. Then, look into your data history. See how technology helped your business become what it is today. Next, jot down ways you’re already using the cloud both personally and professionally. Finally, analyze your data and your communication needs. (In the end, awareness is key. For example, do you know if you use public cloud software and trust IT security to default infrastructure?) Do you need an entirely virtualized office? Do you need a hybrid cloud environment to host your data with lightning-fast sync and share capabilities?
  • To begin the cloud transition, separate your necessary data from the rest. Furthermore, question all of your software. Would you benefit from a more simple or a more advanced ERP system? What applications are necessary?
  • Decide public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud deployment. Likewise, decide on a solid data backup plan for the transition.
  • Predict your costs and your roles. Responsibilities will change when your technology changes. Will your employees clearly know their responsibilities once your cloud solution is deployed? What’s your new IT budget, and who will be responsible for managing expenses? When you work with a managed service provider (MSP), you form a trust bond that operates at the highest level of corporate ethics. Do you trust the IT experts who will build, access, manage and monitor your new cloud?
  • Choose security, including business firewalls and automatic encryption. Who will manage vulnerable data? Do you need additional encryption services from your managed IT provider? Do you need all of your data encrypted or protected by advanced cybersecurity services? These are necessities for organizations that deal with sensitive data, and our IT experts specialize to keep up with compliance requirements for highly regulated industries (for example, managed IT for law firms or managed IT for hospitals).

 

See Through the Cloud

One of the great benefits of cloud technology is that you get to choose a solution that is exactly what you’re looking for. How to move your business to the cloud is dependent on so many factors that we recommend you get a software demo of your options and then work with cloud specialists to take it from there.

 

EstesCloud supports manufacturers and distributors, healthcare clinics and medical facilities, accountancies, law firms, government organizations, nonprofits, and more. Please fill in your information below, and our IT experts will arrange a personalized demo on how to move your business to the cloud.

Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Cyber Verify A Risk Assurance Rating

The MSPAlliance Cyber Verify rating gives customers of cloud & managed services the assurance their provider is using the most current cyber security practices.

 

EstesGroup Receives Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Loveland, Colorado – EstesGroup has received the MSPAlliance® Cyber Verify™ Risk Assurance Rating for Managed Services and Cloud Providers. Cyber Verify is designed to provide consumers greater transparency and assurance when it comes to the cyber security practices of those providers.

 

Cyber Verify is based on the Unified Certification StandardTM (UCS) for Cloud and Managed Service Providers and governed by the International Association of Cloud and Managed Service Providers.

 

“Today, more than ever, the consumer needs assurance when it comes to matters of cyber security and IT risk. We are honored to award EstesGroup with the “A” Cyber Verify seal and congratulate them on their exemplary display of dedication towards providing one of the highest levels of assurance possible to the consumer. Today, very few companies in the global MSP community have achieved an “A” Cyber Verify rating, placing EstesGroup in an elite group of managed service and cloud providers world-wide.” 

Celia Weaver

President, MSPAlliance

Cyber Verify Rating System

The Cyber Verify evaluates many different aspects of a company’s service delivery, paying particular attention to security. Cyber Verify evaluates internal service delivery security practices, business continuity of the provider, cyber insurance usage, and many other characteristics which are important in the evaluation process of customers seeking out professional and secure providers.

 

Cyber Verify applies the following rating system:
⭐︎ AAA – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices on a 3-12 month period of review
⭐︎ AA – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices on a particular day
⭐︎ A – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices based on a thorough and in-depth self-attestation examination
 
 
 
Cyber Verify must be renewed annually. The Cyber Verify is a first in the industry and specifically designed for outsourced service providers and the customers they service.
 
 

“EstesGroup is proud of our EstesCloud division’s exciting new award – the Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating – as part of our ongoing commitment to further strengthen our posture towards cyber criminal activity. Our clients can be assured that we employ the highest standards, and we are constantly seeking new ways to tighten our safeguards.”

Bruce Grant

President & CEO, EstesGroup

ABOUT MSPALLIANCE

MSPAlliance® is a global industry association and accrediting body for the Cyber Security, Cloud Computing and Managed Services Provider (MSP) industry. MSPAlliance was established in 2000 with the objective of helping MSPs become better MSPs. Today, MSPAlliance has a robust and global reach of cloud computing and managed service provider members across the globe and works in a collaborative effort to assist its members, along with foreign and domestic governments, on creating standards, setting policies and establishing best practices. For more information, visit http://www.mspalliance.com/

ABOUT ESTESGROUP

For 17 years, EstesGroup has served as a leading technology and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions provider. By integrating business application consulting with managed IT services, EstesGroup helps thousands of companies reduce both costs and risks. As a trusted managed service provider (MSP), EstesGroup employs technology experts to care for comprehensive IT responsibilities across industries. This means companies can focus on the work that only they can do, while EstesCloud technology specialists service the IT requirements of the business. With ERP experts in multiple disciplines, EstesGroup also employs certified, highly skilled ERP consultants to meet the needs of companies of all sizes with application management, managed hosting, professional services, and complete ERP support. EstesGroup is headquartered in Loveland, Colorado, and employs leading IT and ERP experts throughout the United States.

ABOUT ESTESCLOUD

EstesCloud provides managed technology services that meet the unique needs of each business served. Companies across the nation depend on EstesCloud for backup and disaster recovery, compliance, business continuity planning, cybersecurity, on-premise and remote technology infrastructure, managed application hosting, and complete IT department outsourcing. EstesCloud powers on-site work and remote technology enablement, including complete virtual office infrastructure. By offering secure and cutting-edge technology through public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud solutions, EstesGroup brings the newest technology to startups, small businesses, midsize companies, governmental and nonprofit organizations, and large manufacturing and distribution companies that depend on robust IT solutions.

 

To learn more about EstesGroup’s service as a leading technology firm, please fill out the form below to get a copy of our “Why Managed Services?” fact sheet.

To see EstesGroup’s deep ERP expertise in action, please fill out the form to get a copy of an Epicor consulting case study that analyzes engineer-to-order and make-to-order Epicor implementation challenges.

 

Benefits of Managed IT Services For Your Business

Benefits of Managed IT Services For Your Business

Is IT at the heart of your company?

Imagine your company is a heart, and managed IT services provide the health benefits to sustain your entire business system. You do the work you love, and your customers, your employees, and your products keep the beat. Technology is the energy that feeds each beat, helping you keep your rhythm. On that note, let’s look at the top benefits of managed IT services and how outsourcing some of your technology infrastructure can bring new value to your business.

Benefits of managed IT services for IT networks

Attention from an IT managed services provider gives you freedom.

If you’re a small business owner, you might have core people wearing the hats of IT, without the time or resources to fully engage new technology. Whenever you supplement your internal resources with external IT consulting experts, you open up time to focus on what you do best. Likewise, you free your people, meaning they’ll have more time for creativity and thought leadership in your organization. By freeing your core team from the responsibilities attached to the fast-changing complexities of technology, you ensure focus on your products, your processes, and your customer service.

 

Risk management, as a central feature of IT solutions, ensures uptime.

Straightaway, one of the top benefits of managed IT services is that you don’t have to worry about your backups. Similarly, your cybersecurity infrastructure and your compliance adherence is always at its best. As a result, you experience more uptime. Less time is lost to researching the latest security software or the most recent regulations affecting your industry. Moreover, a managed services provider (MSP) provides a solid risk management plan:

  • Data management, including backup solutions and backup testing
  • Network care, including network administration and security
  • Systems and software support, including 24/7 incident response monitoring and assistance
  • User training and testing capabilities, including penetration testing and real-time analytics
  • Audit and assessment management, including planning and scheduling

Supporting in-house talent with out-house IT skillsets

You wouldn’t want to ask your employees to beat your heart for you. Many companies find themselves in this sort of “CPR for IT” scenario. A break-fix methodology might work for a glitch in your network. However, more robust attacks can quickly sap the life from your core.

 

Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in a situation that needs a more heroic save. Eventually, an aging server or a spear phishing attack will make you consider outsourcing some of the more difficult technology management. Whether you’re looking at cybersecurity or private cloud hosting, a good MSP doesn’t only provide a mere lifeline for your business. Rather, a managed services provider should prevent attacks and disruption.

 

Partnership with proven IT consultants and solutions gives you predictable costs in a scalable and adaptable framework.

Why choose an outsourced IT service? An information technology scramble can feel similar to a panic attack. If you fall behind on patches or updates, either on the software side or the hardware end of things, you open yourself up to ever-evolving threats. One of the great benefits of managed IT services is lower risk, and this means increased stability for your IT budget. Furthermore, you can know your investment brings your business the top solutions available to your industry.

 

Your partnership with a consulting firm of technology experts gives you talent aligned with your unique needs. Service level agreements define the relationship and the commitment. An MSP partnership acts as your metronome, meaning your technology is predictable and always set at the pace you’d like to keep.

 

Advanced technology means the sky’s the limit for business growth and success.

If your heart’s wish is to be a Boeing or a Lockheed Martin but you only have 100 employees to set your pace, rather than 100,000+, then partnering with an MSP levels the playing field by integrating advanced technology early in your game.

 

Why not implement advanced IT solutions in-house?

Malware is the tip of the spear in cyberthreat management, and compliance goes far beyond CMMC or HIPAA.  MSP consultants let you focus on core business initiatives, while your outsourced resources reduce risk at lower monthly costs than if you’d solo the challenge. Especially if you’re caught in a cycle of break-fix services, you know how unpredictable technology can be, and managed services takes all the worry out of IT.

 

An MSP opens your doors to highly qualified, certified and experienced IT technicians, engineers and architects. In the end, your managed services provider holds the responsibility of keeping your technology competitive and secure. New solutions can be implemented while you’re thinking about future products and new customers.

 

With cloud solutions on the rise, you can stay above the storm by utilizing a team specifically trained for virtualization. You can work in Loveland, Colorado (home to the EstesGroup headquarters), or you can work from any airport or hotel or office building in the nation.

Benefits of managed services for cloud solutions

Advanced persistent threats are moving businesses into the secure lining of cloud technology. Moreover, the cloud provides the most economical long-term infrastructure to scale your business. New challenges to data management surface daily. Cloud services prevent revenue loss by keeping you up-to-date and secure. Cloud-based IT circumvents natural disasters and human errors. Across systems and devices, your backups and your real-time data are secured against ransomware and other malicious attacks. This is especially true when considering complex cloud ERP architecture.

 

Due to complex sync and share capabilities, workers are empowered through remote enablement, including virtual office deployment. As a result, your business is keeping pace with new, mobile technology. Meanwhile, your sensitive information and valuable business assets (the heart of your business) are secured by SECaaS (security as a service) in the cloud. Remote monitoring keeps track of your hardware and software for you. With telemedicine on the rise, a managed services company enables privacy protection that exceeds regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability). Unquestionably, the cloud makes compliance cost effective, and your in-house IT team is free from monitoring new governance and regulation.

 

EstesGroup tailors managed IT services through solutions that meet everything from basic needs to advanced requirements (including, but not limited to, Microsoft, US Signal, Datto, SentinalOne, ThreatLocker, and Acronis). In addition, our EstesCloud managed services provide private cloud hosting to support advanced IT needs, and we call our hosting platform ECHO. Our co-located data centers protect sensitive data. Our IT services division is headquartered in Loveland, Colorado, but we have happy clients throughout the nation. Please ask to speak to them. EstesGroup also leverages the benefits of managed IT solutions with enterprise resource planning.

 

 

Learn more about what it means to be an MSP (Managed Services Provider) by signing up to receive a fact sheet that explains how EstesGroup can Monitor, Protect, and Serve your business. See why companies choose managed IT.

Cloud Business Solutions for the Virtual Office

Cloud Business Solutions for the Virtual Office

Virtual offices become the business solution of the now

The term “cloud” is a term as elusive as it is enormous, and a virtual office these days often appears to be anything you want it to be. The sky, after all, is a big place. And fitting lightning in a bottle is no easier than pinning a hard-and-fast definition on the digital computing donkey known as the cloud. When it comes to software deployments, cloud application deployment can mean different things to different people. Unfortunately, this amorphous ambiguity has tangible, deleterious effects on the user community. At its core, a cloud business solution implies real-time data access, and a virtual office is simply a cloud-based environment that enables secure and complete data interaction from anywhere in the world.

Remote Worker in a Private Cloud

SaaS vs. Managed Application Hosting

Let’s begin with the simple admittance that not all clouds are created equal. In cloud computing, you can make a vast sky-and-earth distinction between web and private hosting environments. Let’s lightly look at both.

 

Web-based solutions:

Purely web-based applications are hosted by a vendor, not the customer. The customer accesses these applications over the internet, often through a simple web browser. Technology consultants often call these deployments “software as a service” (SaaS). This is due to their subscription-based costing model.

 

Private cloud business solutions:

Private cloud deployments replicate on-premise versions of the software. Customers work with a surrogate hosting partner. The hosting of the application isn’t controlled by a software vendor.

 

These are the basic options for cloud deployment in a computing environment. This is important to know because if you choose the best cloud business solution for your company infrastructure, you can expect tremendous impact on your company’s capabilities. Thus, you can achieve your strategic objectives.

 

Does your hybrid cloud lining need a business solution tailor?

In software circles, “tailor-ability” refers to the customization capabilities of an application. Can you safely tailor your application to the needs of your organization? Compare this to core code modifications that were common and often detrimental to ERP implementations of earlier eras. An easy customization process ensures that your cloud solution can adapt to your business like a good ERP lets you easily upgrade.

 

In this new world, software vendors tout themselves based on toolsets. These computing tools allow customers to tailor an application. The IT department, or an IT consultant, can then address idiosyncratic needs. These solutions promise maintainability and upgradability. And all is well in the world.

 

However, as software vendors move enterprise platforms increasingly to web-based cloud architectures, the highly touted tailoring functionality can vanish faster than a morning mist in the desert. Moving from traditional office to virtual office is obviously the future of application management, but a web-based infrastructure can limit users.

 

Fortunately, a hybrid cloud environment assists companies with needs that revolve around complex business environments. Premiere data centers, secure virtual conference rooms, remote worker empowerment, and even futuristic capabilities like machine learning, all become accessible and customizable computing tools.

 

 

Will SaaS be enough?

As cloud deployments go, hybrid cloud computing can save companies time, money, and headaches. This is especially true if SaaS is not the most applicable cloud management application available. Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is a management tool that is ideal for companies with standard requirements. Cloud infrastructure for configure-to-order environments, for example, needs highly adaptive and robust capabilities. Virtual office services create a cloud-based business address for remote teams to securely meet.

 

An ideal solution often isn’t the first choice of companies moving to cloud services. Cloud applications are as diverse as the businesses that could benefit from a computing solution that transcends a physical office. What if the sales cycle ends with meeting rooms in the cloud that aren’t specifically helpful to the software buyer? You might regret ever giving out your phone number.

 

 

Are you on-premise and going cloud?

I once heard the CEO of a software vendor describe his own transition to the cloud this way: “On-premise vs. cloud has become a matter of customizability vs. configurability.” That is to say, if you are bound to the web-based or SaaS version of the application, and you’re in search of customizability or tailor-ability, you’re out of luck.

 

Unfortunately, this memo has been slow to reach the prospective user community. Sales engineers demonstrate the software in its on-premise form, on locally-deployed machines, with the full gamut of features and capabilities, only to have the customer ultimately sign the dotted line for the web-based cloud version of the application, a neutered version, bereft of many of the bells and whistles that were so brightly touted during the beauty contest that was the software selection phase. Tricky cloud.

 

What happens when tire meets the cloud terrain of virtual office?

Companies frequently move through a software selection cycle that ends with a cloud-based solution deployment:

  • Closing the sale and finally owning the software license
  • Implementing the purchased software
  • Training employees and customizing the solution based on business needs

In the third phase of cloud-based application deployment, disappoints surface. For example, clients often struggle to implement an enterprise resource system in a large, and complex business environment. One customer came to us amid such disappointment. Company management purchased an ERP application in the cloud in its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) form. In this case, “cloud” meant an underpowered, web-based subscription service version of the application. Vapor-ware.

 

 

What are some alternatives to SaaS?

Alternatives available in private cloud hosting become necessary in complex environments common in the manufacturing and distribution industry. Frustrated with the limitations of the web-based version, our customer first came to us scrambling to understand just what they had been mandated to implement and whether there were any other options for implementing the software that did not so badly hamstring the organization. Had the management team received an impartial explanation of “the cloud” and its variants, they may have averted many of the frustrations of trying to implement an enterprise system in a complex business environment with a tool that was frankly too underpowered to be up for the task.

 

A business cloud solution can surface confusion.

If you’re looking at a web-based cloud version of a software, ensure that the vendor’s demonstrations use that specific version. Similarly, if you’re deliberating between the on-premise application and a version of the cloud, work for answers to the following questions:

  1. Web-based applications operate largely on the server, and operate in a shared environment. This normally limits the amount of server-side tailoring available. Given the thin or zero-client environment, what kinds of tailoring capabilities are available in such an environment?
  2. Reporting solutions frequently operate on the server, creating challenges when trying to develop custom reports. Does the web-based solution have answers to these challenges?
  3. User-defined data is often a key capability in complex manufacturing and distribution environments. How does the system in question handle these requirements when deployed in a web-based manner?
  4. What options are available when it comes to cloud-based versions of the application? How do they differ, in terms of features and capabilities?
  5. What are the core capabilities of the application, in terms of both configuration and customization? Are these capabilities present in all versions?
  6. Are there any specific modules of interest that might be affected by a cloud decision, such as field service or product configuration? Do these modules differ in their capabilities based on their cloud versions?

Addressing these concerns at the time of selection verses the time of reflection is key. Nobody wants to reflect on an overlooked version of a software, especially when making the decision to move to a business solution in the cloud.