The Enterprise Cloud: Approachable And Affordable World-Class IT

The Enterprise Cloud: Approachable and Affordable World-Class IT

This white paper by Jay Ethridge and Joe Jezior of Technology & Business Solutions (TBS) examines how public enterprise clouds provide Fortune 500-level IT access, reporting, and integration for small- and medium-sized companies. It’s the fifth in a series of TBS white papers on cloud computing that defines the enterprise cloud and discusses its benefits, why companies of all sizes, including Google, Microsoft and the Federal Government, are embracing it, and how you can leverage this new technology at your firm.

Files

In our first four installments of the TBS Whitepaper Series – Understanding Cloud Computing: What’s Best for Your Enterprise – we’ve defined cloud computing and explored the differences between private and public cloud environments, examined how only public enterprise cloud hosting delivers a true reduction in costs, and explored the security and compliance advantages of the public enterprise cloud. Underlying all of this is the topic of our fifth installment in the series – that cloud computing is an IT game-changer for small- to mid-sized companies. Simply put, public enterprise clouds provide access to world-class IT solutions at one time only available to Fortune 500 giants.

As discussed before in this series, public enterprise clouds are highly cost-effective solutions for obtaining the very best software platforms, be it your CRM, ERP tools, or your HR and Accounting systems, such as Deltek® GCS Premier. But cost reduction with the benefits of everywhere availability and world-class security is just half the story. Put another way, public enterprise clouds not only provide cost-effective solutions, they make the very best information technology – typically only within the reach of the largest and most profitable firms – obtainable and desirable for all businesses, whether small or medium sized, or start-ups.

As quick review, public clouds are built as platforms, meaning their solutions are delivered to ALL users simultaneously. In this way, every public enterprise cloud user gains the benefits of the very best performance, security, and delivery, because their cloud platform is the very same one available to thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of other users too. When cloud delivery is platform based the requirements of a large “public” community ensure the very best performance and functionality are available to all. It’s baked into the business model.

Private clouds, conversely, do NOT deliver their products as platforms – one industry-leading template deployed to all users all the time – but instead they create unique installations in reaction to each individual client’s stated requirements, know-how, and budgets. This “lowest common denominator” approach means you may not be sure what you’re really buying from a private cloud provider until they build your cloud for you. Such case-by-case deployment is typically costly as well, because private cloud hosts CAN NOT share single platform costs among all clients. Because unique arrangements are built for each individual client, that client alone bears all the associated costs.

So, what does all of this mean for a growing business seeking the very best tools and support for its staff, both front line and back office? By leveraging public enterprise clouds for these solutions, such forward-thinking companies gain access to and benefit from truly world-class IT options. Through the cloud, these enterprises are therefore able to “play above their weight,” with profound impact across their internal operations and client-facing delivery, and upon their bottom line.

Secure Access, Smart Reporting and Efficient Integration – It’s In The Clouds

Gartner, the world’s leading IT research company, identifies the three essential elements of information technology for the enterprise as Secure Access, Reporting and Business Intelligence, and Integration. The very best public enterprise clouds – like TBS – successfully deliver all three to companies of all shapes and sizes – whether small or large, you pay just for what you use.

With delivery of their solutions as platforms, public enterprise clouds provide virtually limitless access and scalability for customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and accounting and HR systems.

Because these cloud-powered platforms are delivered via the most secure Internet connections, this means users can access critical business data and tools anywhere they have web access, and increasingly via their smart phones. This broad and secure access empowers the workforce to be more flexible, rapid, and efficient, and meets the business needs of increasingly mobile teams – those with multiple locations, cross-department workflow, and non-main-office installations, such as client-based project or contract groups. And, public enterprise clouds provide the most secure access to proprietary business data – the strongest encryption levels, the very best security certificates, SAS 70 Type II controls to ensure complete SOX compliance. Finally, because every transaction in a public enterprise cloud is handled by integrated processes directly in the hosted platform, company data is always locked down in one impenetrable environment, even if users are accessing this data from a wide range of locations.

When is comes to Reporting and Business Intelligence, public enterprise clouds again provide unrivaled capability, performance, and value for all companies, not just the big boys and girls.

One strong example is TBS’s Claritas software platform, which provides real-time access to posted, unposted, and unprocessed Deltek accounting data through optimized modules specifically for Project Managers and Financial Managers. Here, the flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud enables the rapid development and deployment of a powerful contract-management tool, created to address the specialized needs of specific business users. Claritas is NOT an expansive and expensive generic business intelligence tool that has been pushed, pulled, and shoe-horned to finally fit a business need. Instead, Claritas is a tailored and targeted IT solution right out of the box, one available at a remarkably cost-effective price point for even small- to mid-sized businesses. Claritas serves clients their very same cloud-hosted Deltek data, but with multiple dashboards and powerful analytical and cost-control tools optimized just for Project Managers and Financial Managers. As a result, PMs may manage important period and contract costs even before Accounting has closed the books, and Controllers may get immediate answers to critical issues impacting the bottom line. Thanks to the economic model of the public enterprise cloud, products like Claritas quickly and automatically evolve for ALL users through regular updates, providing the latest versions and functionality at no additional cost.

Finally, integrating corporate data among multiple software products and across departments, subsidiaries, and partners may provide the greatest opportunity for companies of all sizes to take advantage of advanced IT solutions available through public enterprise clouds.

The reason for this is that integrated “appliances” may be readily deployed between multiple cloud-hosted products – such as PeopleSoft and Deltek Costpoint – because these exchanges are built directly in the cloud too. This “cloud-to-cloud” integration may be customized and delivered in days not weeks, the typical development timeframe for one-off conversion applications written to connect non-cloud software systems. Such traditional non-cloud integrations require intensive and time-consuming discovery and development because the two “end points” of locally installed software often are rife with scores of unique desktop set-ups, software versioning, and security compliance levels from user to user.

In an Integrated Cloud Exchange, all of this user-by-user and system-by-system uncertainty is circumvented, because the integration is deployed and implemented in a cloud-based environment, linking up two (or more) securely hosted sets of software data also in the cloud. This leads to rapid, secure, audit-compliant, and error-free integration. With cloud-based integrations, critical corporate data does not pass through multiple hands to get from point A to point B – in fact, once the exchange is created, it passes through no hands at all (strict audit control), nor is it subject to potential exposure via end-user software “scripts” – such customized software code used to integrate non-cloud systems is vulnerable to fraud and unable to secure confidential data. Just like our review of the cloud’s Secure Access and Reporting strengths above, the public enterprise cloud provides dramatic game-changing Integration capabilities for smaller and emerging firms that meet real business needs. With cloud-based software integration, businesses eliminate manual data extraction, conversion, and entry, a significant savings of staff time for smaller firms. And, because cloud integration creates a direct platform-to-platform exchange appliance, it does not require customized onsite consulting and application development, typically costing several months and multiple tens of thousands of dollars for non-cloud environments.

 

When it comes to Access, Business Reporting, and Integration, public enterprise clouds make world-class IT approachable and readily available to any business consumer. Gone are the islands of information far away in their own software or departmental seas – in PeopleSoft or SalesForce or GCS Premier or QuickBooks. With the cloud, these islands are brought together and transformed into a new world of scalability, security, and efficiency – truly Fortune 500-level stuff without the Fortune 500 price.

 

As the largest provider of cloud hosting for Deltek software, minority-owned TBS serves hundreds of customers with thousands of users across the globe. We know that public enterprise clouds ensure the most secure delivery with the very best regulatory compliance, and provide the broadest range of world-class IT solutions for companies of all sizes. Stay tuned to this white paper series. Over the coming months we’ll explore these important cloud computing topics:

To craft an enterprise cloud model tailored to your organization's needs, contact TBS or call 703.444.6562.