Cloud Computing

Modern thinking for a more agile, responsive organisation.

Cloud applications are transforming the way in which we live our lives. Modern organisations are looking to cloud applications to deliver greater agility and responsiveness. Mobility is unifying organisations with many CEO’s far more focused on proactive alerts and visual analytics at the touch of a button. Post modern ERP, as coined by Gartner, is the blend of cloud-based applications and on-premise solutions to scale and flex to today’s business demands.

Understanding your Cloud options

Whether you’re considering cloud due to existing hardware lifecycles or a plan to move away from a legacy ERP, the options are numerous and can be designed to best suit your overarching strategy. From public cloud offerings to a private, fully hosted managed service, CPiO explains some of the fundamentals.

Prime examples of Public Cloud include Sage 200 Online, Sage X3 Cloud, Salesforce.com and Microsoft Office 365 This multi-tenanted approach means that subscribers share a single application instance.This is a quick and cost effective way to deploy your software but integration with other applications or specific customisation is limited.

This service varies depending on the Cloud Service provider. At the very least, the provider should manage the transition from your own on premise hardware to hardware housed in a Data-Centre. More often, you will need to purchase the hardware but there will be a level of service delivery in terms of managing and maintaining your hardware and Microsoft technologies.

As the name would indicate, this is a mix of deployment type.You can choose to have your ERP or CRM software delivered in a Private Cloud or Fully Hosted Service model, but also keep some of your infrastructure on premise – this could include shared documents and files. Furthermore, you may want to host your Microsoft 365 email in the Public Cloud.

You can choose to migrate part of your infrastructure into the Cloud, then you have the flexibility to build or add other solutions as and when the time’s right for you and your business.

This model is not offered by every Cloud partner because it requires experience in working with business critical application stacks such as ERP and CRM and then integrating them with the Microsoft infrastructure technologies. Every aspect of your software, hardware and the associated housekeeping will be managed to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and charged as a monthly operating expenditure (Op-Ex) payment.The payment plan will be based on utilisation and the number of users.This approach will allow you to fully concentrate your IT efforts on developing your business systems and improving your business processes, leaving skilled professionals to manage your infrastructure stack.

The most common Cloud back up solution is one which replicates your file structures to a Cloud server on a daily basis. This will allow you to individually recover files and documents but it won’t allow you to perform a complete recovery of your entire system environment. The recovery process consists of manually preparing the server Operating System and third party applications such as Microsoft Office, and engaging with application specialists to reinstall the software and recover the data into the application stack.


"One size doesn't fit all. The beauty of cloud is about blending its use to best fit the individual organisation."

Joel Campbell

Cloud Computing Specialist I CPiO Infrastructure Services


The advantages of Cloud

Operating Expenditure vs Capital Expenditure

The challenge faced by any business maintaining an on premise infrastructure is forecasting expected expenditure, based on changing demands of the business. This could include functionality development and the associated costs of upgrading your infrastructure to support this, through to refreshing hardware or delivering DR to make the systems more robust and available. With Cloud deployment, these issues disappear. You pay a fixed price per user per month with no surprises. The solution scales proportionately with your business, as and when required, so if you take on temporary workforce, you simply add the users and remove them when you need to.

With no upfront or sporadic large Cap-Ex investment for your IT infrastructure, IT shouldn’t be the cause of any cash flow issues.

Uptime

When your systems aren’t available, your business will suffer. Any good Cloud provider will have a proactive approach to managing and monitoring the system and will deliver out of hour’s maintenance to eliminate downtime. Every part of the system should be closely monitored which will alert the Cloud provider to potential problems. Issues should be quickly evaluated and dealt with before any users are affected.

High specification hardware infrastructure

Information technology has to be one, if not the fastest changing industry rendering some technologies obsolete within twelve months, while others may be relevant for a few more years. New technologies are rapidly changing the landscape but some bring with them performance problems. By moving your infrastructure into the Cloud, generally means that you are able to run your applications on high end Enterprise class hardware and software infrastructure platforms.

Flexible Working

Whether you have a remote or roaming workforce, or you have cause to relocate your business, your Cloud system doesn’t move and it’s always available. It should be secure and accessible at any time.

Secure and Compliant

The level of security and the type of technology deployed in the Cloud means that your data is in a safer place at a secure Data-Centre facility, than if it were sitting on hardware in your offices. It is a common misconception that

Cloud technology makes your data publicly available to anyone over the internet – your data sits behind more enhanced security technology to protect it from internet interference. For those businesses who keep their data on premise, their data is vulnerable via their internet connectivity.

Time and Resources

The day to day challenges of managing your infrastructure are gone, you can make better use your time and resources by developing your business systems and processes.

Customer success story

Moore Large, one of the UK’s largest distributors of bicycles, bicycle accessories and motorised scooters explains how Sage Business Partner, CPiO migrated its software into the Cloud.