By Christophe Primault, 15 November 2010
When time allow we love to attend events related to Cloud computing and even if we always learn a lot and meet amazing people and good business contacts, what we keep on telling the organizers is that these events should focus more on the end user and how they could practically benefit from Cloud computing, be it at the infrastructure or applications level. Kudos to the guys at BusinessCloud9.com, this is exactly what they have cooked for the next Business Cloud Summit. For once the event won´t be about technology and vendors pitches but will focus on how to use this technology innovatively to deliver services in a way that’s innovative and responsive to businesses needs. Apparently they did a good job at asking their audience on what they wanted in a Cloud Computing conference. Based on the previous events feedback, they have set-up an agenda that will deliver practical, no-nonsense advice on how Cloud Computing works, how it’s going to develop and how it’s going to benefit businesses, now and in the future. At the Business Cloud Summit 2010 on 30 November at the Hammersmith Novotel in London, there will be first-hand testimony from organizations that are facing up to the challenges of change and innovation in uncertain economic times, using all of the potential of the Cloud to enhance and support the way they do business. That´s what we all want to hear and of course GetApp.com will be there to learn from Cloud users testimonials. Even better, the organizers are offering users and partners of GetApp.com a free pass to this year’s Business Cloud Summit! So if you can be in London that day, you should come to hear from real-world users of the Cloud Computing model to innovate and prosper. There will also be great keynotes from key players and thought leaders around the industry. To claim your free conference pass, visit The Summit website, www.businesscloud9.com/summit, and register using the code, “GetApp”. How cool is that ;-) See you there.
By Christophe Primault, 11 November 2010
Palo Alto Networks has just released its 6th edition of the Application Usage and Risk Report with the objective of understanding which applications are used in the enterprise, what are the adoption trends and the risks associated to the use of these applications. Most used applications in the enterprise are "consumer-class" and main usages are webmailing, instant messaging, social networking and filesharing. We can assume that they are used for personal rather than professional reasons and that most of the time they fall outside of the company IT endorsed "enterprise-class" applications. Consumer-class applications win No surprise, dominant global applications are the usual suspects. The winners being Facebook, Gmail and Yahoo! IM. Gmail leads the webmail category, followed by Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Yahoo! Messenger is still the #1 IM category but is being challenged by Facebook Mail and Facebook Chat. Of course FaceBook is by far the leading social networking app with its traffic being 500% more important than the total of the other 47 social sites included in the survey. This number talks for itself! The most used filesharing P2P app remains BitTorrent but web based media sharing such as Windows Live or Megaupload are getting more and more popular. The numbers of the report are staggering, these consumer-class apps are used in 96% of enterprises participating in the survey (with a sample evenly split 1/3 Americas, 1/3 Europe, 1/3 Asia) and the bandwidth consumed by these apps accounts for 25% of the overall companies bandwidth. Enterprise-class applications on the rise Although only 10% of web-based applications usage is considered "enterprise class", this number is increasing. Through the monthly published GetApp.com report of popular enterprise cloud-based applications we know that CRM and collaboration tools are getting the most adoption and this is confirmed by the report with Salesforce.com, Webex, Microsoft Office Live and Google docs being some of the most popular apps "for work". What we found really interesting is the following extract from the report summary: "Enterprise-class, cloud-based applications adoption is driven by both IT (top-down) and end-users (bottoms-up). The growth patterns around a segment of enterprise-class, cloud-based applications from Microsoft and Google suggests that like IM in the early days, the adoption of cloud-computing is being driven initially by end-users with support from IT as acceptance grows." That clearly supports the vision we have already shared at GetApp.com that enterprise-class applications adoption will be driven by professionals extending their consumer apps addiction consumption to a wider enterprise experience. Very often IT departments are showing initial signs of reluctance. However the view of IT is also changing as early adopters reports show that in many cases cloud-based enterprise apps compare favorably with ROI and user adoption and that traditional barriers such as security, availability, vendor lock-in are more misperceptions than real issues. You can view a summary of the report and download the full version here (registration required).
By Christophe Primault, 14 October 2010
The Cloud is getting more popular than ever and by now most of us, including my grandmother, have some information hosted somewhere in the cloud. As a consumer, think Gmail, FaceBook, Twitter messages or Flickr photos - just to name a few of the most used cloud-based services. But for my business, what does Cloud Computing really mean? How can I benefit from it? And how do I choose a Cloud hosting company? Currently, the most used hosting technology is called "shared hosting". Cloud hosting can be considered as the new generation of shared hosting where instead of sharing multiple clients, applications and websites on a single physical machine, data centers host multiple clients, applications and web sites on any physical server part of a large "farm" of machines, interconnected through operating technology called virtualization. Benefits of Cloud hosting Thanks to this approach, more clients can be stuffed on less servers, which means less hardware, power and maintenance costs. So hosting prices should be lower and will probably continue to come down. You also pay as you go. Yes, like you do with gas, water, electricity... so you can increase or decrease capacity as your traffic shifts up and down (Benefit #1, it is cheaper). Because data can easily move from one server to another and machines can be added and removed form the grid, it also means that your sites, apps and data are always online and do not suffer from shutdowns from incidents and maintenance. With Cloud hosting, you can expect up to 99.9% availability, should be 100% but let´s be conservative! (Benefit #2, better availability). With Cloud technologies, resources are distributed more effectively and quickly, which means that you can demand more processing power either to respond to peak activity or for steady usage growth. With Cloud hosting, you eliminate the risk to going past your traffic limit (Benefit #3, scalability and elasticity). In public Cloud data centers, your data is stored in multiple copies on many servers, so if a server fails, your apps and data should still be safe and available. In fact, you might not even notice that something even went wrong at some point! (Benefit #4, reliability) What are the downsides then? The perceived downsides of public Cloud hosting are security risks and loss of control. Some businesses tend to think that if their apps and data are not withing their perimeter, they may not be safe or they could lose control over it. Without getting in too much detail, we believe that this is a largely erroneous perception and that the vast majority of Cloud hosting companies will offer a much higher level of security that what most businesses could normally afford. Another concern is the loss of control and data privacy. Again, most businesses should not worry about this unless they hold sensitive information and/or operate in a highly regulated environment. In these cases, you should consider a private Cloud where achieving compliance for data confidentiality and integrity is easier. This is relevant mainly if you need to comply to regulatory requirements such as HIPAA , Sarbanes-Oxley Act and PCI-DSS, just to name a few. Another route to consider is an hybrid utilization of public and private Clouds, although it may raise some issues in terms of interoperability and portability that are beyond the scope of this post. How to choose a Cloud hosting company? In most scenarios, the benefits of choosing a Cloud hosting solution will be far greater than the inconvenience but still you need to choose a reputable hosting company. The most popular choices are the giants, such as Amazon Web Services, NetDepot and Rackspace, but you should also consider smaller players that are able to provide a more personalized and often cheaper service. These are some of the things you should bear in mind before making your choice: Make sure that they have a great technical and customer support team. Call their customer service to understand how they run their operations. See how competent and quick they are to respond (Check #1, customer service). They need to be offering a highly open and flexible platform to respond to your individual requirements. Open standards offer not only easy migration from traditional solutions (such as dedicated hosting) but neither locks you or your data in the cloud (Check #2, openness). It is a very competitive market and vendors are working aggressively to acquire new clients. Both on-demand and subscription pricing should be available, with the minimum billing period being as little as a few minutes (Check #3, compare the prices). Most companies will guarantee high availability and performance through SLAs. Their modern servers and infrastructure should provide a high level of redundancy, and a 99,9% service-level agreement should come as given (Check #4, SLAs). You should be able to manage your Cloud servers through a web-based interface that includes a full API access to guarantee a smooth transition, should you decide to change supplier later on. Security and guarantees on your data integrity and confidentiality should also be part of your check list (Check #5, security and a way out!). There are many companies out there that fit the bill, and most of the mainstream providers should pass your scrutiny. We can directly recommend a Swiss company with global reach that is paying special attention to cost-efficiency, security and customer service. CloudSigma [disclaimer, CloudSigma is a GetApp.com sponsor] meets all these requirements and is the Cloud hosting platform of choice for demanding corporate users. They offer a free trial which makes it a risk-free option for getting started in the Cloud.
By Christophe Primault, 15 September 2010
There is a lot of buzz about the business case for moving to the Cloud and there is a clear trend in IT towards rationalizing software applications, servers, data centres and back-office functions to cheaper web-based solutions. However, it can be challenging to assess whether Cloud Computing is an appropriate move for your company's needs. Find below a few tools and services available on GetApp.com to help you plan your migration to the Cloud On Premises or On Demand Today most software applications are available both on Premises or On Demand in the Cloud...but are you really sure this model fits your current requirements ? Does your actual business will really benefit from this new subscription based model, where you rent the applications (pay as you go service) rather than actually buying it ? With this online personalized assessment you get your own report in less than 5 minutes ! Cloud ROI Calculator We recently laucnhed this easy-to-use ROI Calculator to help you analyze which elements of your IT infrastructure and portfolio of applications will cost less and perform better when moved to the Cloud. This ROI tool has been developed based on data collected from a large number of companies that have migrated to the Cloud and has been build by Astadia on the Force.com platform. Amongst other things, it shows the ROI of moving to platforms such as Google, Amazon Web Services and Force.com. Business Value Migration Services Moving to the Cloud is a complex decision that involves many factors and a simple online decision tool cannot be the sole element on which a company should base its decision. It is highly recommended that you complement this path online analysis with a professional assessment from leading Cloud migration experts before moving your business to the Cloud. We also recently published a few articles specifically on how you can benefit from Cloud Computing, some of the challenges and recent figures If you come across additional interesting online tools to help plan migration to the Cloud, feel free to add to this list !
By Christophe Primault, 9 September 2010
In this post, we are publishing the most popular questions from Answers@Getapp.com If you are not registered yet, don't be shy and join in to share your expertise or ask the questions that keep you up at night ! Business-critical servers: premise-based, hosted, co-located or cloud-based ? How best to decide whether to run a particular business-critical function on in-house servers, shared hosted servers, dedicated hosted/co-located servers or cloud-based servers? What criteria matter most to which types of businesses when making such decisions? Small business ERP? We need to improve the way our agents are following up with customers (travel agency). I have heard that ERP software could help, but after doing some research, it seems like ERP is just too big for our small company. What do you think? Do you use ERP for your small business? If not, what other types of software are available for someone in our position? Looking for an online CRM with strong account management features We're looking for a new CRM right now, but we want something that has strong account management features. It needs to be able to accurately track conversations and remind users when specific things are needed for each account. Accounts need to be able to be categorized by what product they use, and have a built in quote system. In your opinion, what system does the best job with these features? I'm familiar with a lot of products, so I don't need a sales pitch, I need expert advice and experiences. Thanks. Business Intelligence as a Service Anyone out there using any Web/cloud-based analytics or business intelligence tools for analysis of customer behaviors at Web sites and via social media? Why or why not? If you want to read more articles like this, follow us on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and grab our GetApp.com blogfeed
Found in Ask the Experts
By Christophe Primault, 31 August 2010
When advising software clients who are interested in moving to a SaaS business model, one of the areas I really dig into is how are they selling to new customers. Most of us in the SaaS community realize that carefully tracking your Customer Acquisition Costsor CAC, is a critical component in building a successful and profitable company, but I think it is equally important to understand how traditional software sales and marketing models and SaaS models differ. (more…)
Found in Marketing & Sales
By Christophe Primault, 24 August 2010
Over the last years, software development of new Web Apps designed to be run in the Cloud has gone under a major shift, moving away from the "usual suspects" Java, C#, .NET, PHP, etc,.. to the so called PaaS environment (Platform As a Service). In a nutshell, PaaS is the ability to leverage an underlying cloud based infrastructure (also called IaaS) to build Web Apps offered as a Service (also called SaaS). Large SaaS providers were the pioneered in the PaaS world, as an attempt to increase their application wallet share through an ecosytem of partners solutions built on top of their existing infrastructure. For a Software developer, the key driver to move to PaaS is that it offers the ability to build and deploy customized software solutions at a fraction of the cost of a traditional software build. Recently one of our vendor mentioned to me that it took them only 6 months to re-develop their whole HR suite using the Force.com platform (compared to the 8 years it took them to build it originally in Java !) If you are a Business owner you may already use an Application from one of the leading PaaS provider (CRM, Accounting, etc,..) but you may want to check out what's available from other PaaS providers or simply understand how each other Apps can integrate and be complementary. This is why at GetApp.com we have also organized Apps by Platform eco system, so you can browse them quickly and jump for one PaaS to another to evaluate their Apps offering. View all Apps for your platform Browse by Platform Amazon AWS Google Apps Netsuite Intuit Salesforce SAP WorkXpress So what's your favorite PaaS ?
Found in Choosing Providers & Partners
By Christophe Primault, 19 August 2010
As Cloud services are seeing a fast adoption with SMBs and more and more ISVs are depending on PaaS (platform as a service) to develop, run and to some extent sell their applications, there is a genuine concern in the industry of shifting the on-premises software lock-in risk to an equivalent cloud-based services lock-in. The main issue being the prospect of out of control increases of cloud services prices once you are highly dependent on a cloud infrastructure, platform or application. This topic has been recently debated by Dana Gardner, analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and industry experts in a ZDNet article titled Cloud computing´s ultimate value depends on open PaaS models to avoid applications and data lock-in, where she introduces the interesting notion of application "fungibility". If you are an ISV worried about the risk of running very large hosting bills as your app is scaling you may want to read this article to understand how Cloud standards, unification and openness will provide some guarantees against these threats. If you are an enterprise or a SMB consuming Cloud services, you should read and listen to this debate to understand the risk of a vendor trying to lock you in in order to guarantee their future revenue streams.
Found in Benefits
By Christophe Primault, 3 August 2010
An interesting perspective on Cloud Computing reality and why it is here to stay by Joel York at Chaotic Flow Recent weeks have brought a bewildering number of competing claims around SaaS and cloud computing. On one hand we are debating whether the SaaS experiment is over, IaaS is just an incremental advance in hosting technology, and the cloud is just hype. While on the other, Gartner estimates SaaS is now 10% of the enterprise market, Amazon AWS is a $500 million dollar business and Jim Cramer is picking his favorite cloud stocks. What’s a person to think? I for one think that recent reports of the cloud’s death are greatly exaggerated, and here is why… The cloud is real. The cloud is big. But, the cloud is slooooowww. The Cloud is Real. The Cloud is BIG. It’s absolutely true to say that the cloud is simply the next evolution in computing, but saying it is an incremental change and isn’t all that different from traditional hosting or time sharing is like comparing the Internet to a T1 line. There are lot’s of new technologies and standards, big and small, that go into the cloud. And, there will continue to be others added as it matures. But, you shouldn’t allow the technology to cloud your thinking. The cloud, the REAL cloud, is about bringing any and all of the computing resources available on the Internet together to create Inter-networked applications and computing infrastructures. Consumer mash-ups perhaps being the simplest and earliest of these, but it isn’t that hard to imagine much bigger iron, mission-critical business applications running the same way. Most Internet innovation to date has focused on users and content, and has been strangled by a lack of bandwidth and integration standards. As these constraints erode, the cloud will continue to emerge. The cloud is about the machines. It is as big as all the computers connected to the Internet. The Cloud is Hard Security is and will remain the most difficult problem of SaaS and cloud computing, with reliability following close behind. But, this is more a matter of proliferating standards and best practice than technology. The problems are completely tractable. In the end, public standards and SLAs backed by SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS professionals working in their own areas of expertise will ultimately outperform all but the largest and most sophisticated internal IT departments. Most companies hire security firms to handle their physical security, why would they do any different with their IT infrastructure? Specialists do it better. Read more from the original post
By Christophe Primault, 27 April 2010
Cloud Computing or SaaS is becoming an increasingly popular option as it continues to move into a broader range of applications and larger, more strategic deployments. Many smaller businesses have already jumped on the opportunity as they are more agile and can react faster, but what are the real business benefits of SaaS for large and/or growing companies? How do the costs and value compare with the traditional IT ownership model? We have discussed these questions with Michael Knuckey, editor at CloudVision.com and the good news is that he has decided to put together a webinar on this exact subject, together with a subject matter expert at SAP. We recommend that you attend this webinar: 'The Business Benefits of Cloud Computing for Growing Companies – What is the ROI?' at 3.00pm UK time on Thursday 29th April 2010. By the way, all registrants will be sent a complimentary copy of a report from Forrester Research on the Cloud ROI topic. That sounds like a good deal to me. You can reserve a seat here: www1.gotomeeting.com/register/407878856 We´ll meet you there virtually! Christophe @GetApp.com