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Entries in Cloud (9)

Thursday
Feb142013

Print to Cloud

Xerox's ConnectKey:

Printers nowdays can scan, email, and fax documents. So why not extend those capabilities to allow users to print documents to the cloud. That's the pitch that was made by Xerox on Wednesday. 

By using ConnectKey and 16 differnt other software programs, users would be able to link their printers to their DropBox, Google Drive, and Evernote accounts; in so doing allowing them to "print" to the cloud. 

 

That's not all, In June, Xerox is said to release App Studio: which is basically the business version of ConnectKey; a set of ConnectKey apps that run on multifunction devices that can be linked to ERP and CRM enterprise systems. 

Tuesday
Apr102012

Connect Salesforce to Other Apps

Kapow Software released its latest cloud integration recently which lets users connect Salesforce - or any Force.com app - with any web-based data or business provider. Kapow Katalyst, as its called, allows for seamless sharing and automation across various platforms. And it all works without any coding. 

As Salesforce becomes more and more critical to the handling of various (and growing in number) business processes the need to integrate Salesforce with outside systems becomes necessary. Kapow has the right idea. 

Stefan Andreasen, CEO of Kapow Software, explains the need for this update well:

 

“We hear from customers that as Salesforce pushes deeper into their enterprise, the need for real-time, self-service integration between Salesforce and external web apps and websites is becoming a must-have, not simply a nice-to-have."

 

Beyond integration, the other major service the update offers is automation. The Kapow Katalyst Apex Generator allows for automation between any Force.com app and any other web-based application. This feature allows Salesforce, or any other Force.com application to become the center and focus of many different business processes. 

The best part of all this is that no coding is required. These applications bypass the Apex needed to connect any outside data or business processes to Salesforce. Kapow is simply streamlining the process. 

Overall, I'm pretty excited about this update. The need to automate and integrate various platforms is the key to productivity and doing it without code is pretty handy.

Friday
Mar302012

Should you use multiple cloud providers?

 

 The task of choosing one cloud provider can seem daunting enough with the options growing exponentially. So why would you want to make the process more difficult by using multiple cloud providers? Well, there are a few reasons that I thought I'd explore today. In fact, diversifying your cloud providers may actually turn out to be very beneficial. 

 

  • The first and probably most important reason you would want to use multiple providers is if your business has international relationships. Sometimes information cannot cross borders so it's best to have international providers to compensate for situations like these. 
  • It can be beneficial to have a public and private cloud in special circumstances. For instance, if an important customer requires the extra security that may be provided by a private cloud.
  • If you're a growing company, chances are you will be expanding and need space to host a growing amount of information. It's much easier to have a back up provider to tap into when extra space is necessary then have to scramble for one last minute. I've often seen people that start out with one, expand to a second and then find that the second was better. They then switch and the original becomes their backup site.
  • And finally, different suppliers just offer different things. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses and thus using multiple allows for the most cohesive and well-rounded experience. 

 

In short, using multiple cloud providers can be beneficial to many businesses. 

Friday
Mar092012

Public vs. Private Cloud 

Choices, choices, choices. As more and more people move their business into the cloud, they find that they are faced with numerous decisions. One of the biggest choices facing those looking to move their business into the cloud is whether to use a public or private cloud provider. Each one has its own pros and cons and is better suited to different business environments. Choosing a cloud provider isn't a simple decision so today I thought I'd break down the basics of each and what kind of business might benefit from each.

 

What are the public and private clouds?

Before we delve into the benefits of each type of cloud let's first examine what we even mean by public and private cloud. The public cloud, as the name suggests, offer applications, storage and other services to the general public by a service provider. Many of these services are free or have a pay-pre-usage model. Microsoft and Google are probably the biggest examples of the public clouds. 

The private cloud, in contrast to its public counterpart, isn't available to the public but is built specifically for a single organization to fit its needs. It may be managed internally or by a third-party and be hosted internally or externally. 

So, public or private?

Well, it depends. Let's examine the benefits of each type of provider. 

Pros of Private Cloud 

 

  • Security: The security risks associated with the private cloud tend to be less prominent than those of the public cloud. The location of the data is available to the service owner unlike with the public cloud.
  • Costs: The initial costs of the private cloud tend to be higher than the public cloud but decline as the time of usage increases. 
  • Data Storage: Larger amounts of data can be stored in the private cloud for a lower cost. 

 

Pros of Public Cloud

 

  • Costs: The initial costs of the public cloud are lower but tend to go up over time.
  • Data Storage: Many different types of data can be stored in the public cloud however large amounts stored for long periods tend to get pricey. 
  • Accessibility: The public cloud can be accessed from a number of location and a number of ways unlike the private which can only be reached from one source.
  • Availability: The public cloud has so far proven to be more reliable and available thus drawing many users. 

 

I think that this quote summarizes the benefits of each type of cloud very succinctly. 

 

In two statements on public as well as private cloud architecture, Vanessa Alvarez, a Frost & Sullivan analyst on cloud computing said that: “Private clouds will make the most money and drive the most revenue,” whereas “Public clouds can offer some level of security and reliability, but private gives you that comfy feeling.”

 

 

Saturday
Feb182012

Tech giants accept cloud!

Sometime later this year, technology giants Apple and Microsoft are planning to unleash new operating systems on the world. Exciting news! As a MacBook user, I know a great deal more about Apple's newest OS X upgrade, Mountain Lion, then Microsoft's latest offering, Windows 8. Really, the only thing I know about Windows 8 is that Microsoft is planning to do away with the Start button, an iconic element of Windows. 

Apple's latest release plans to bring many elements of iOS, its mobile operating system, to its computers and bring a larger focus to the cloud. So today I thought I'd educate myself about Windows 8 and also compare how each company is planning on integrating and capitalizing on the cloud in their latest offerings. 

OS X Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion seems like a merging of the existing OS X and iOS even though Apple representatives deny that they are attempting to merge the two. Mountain Lion will include a number of features present on iOS currently such as: the Launchpad, the App Store, full-screen mode, AirPlay, Messages, Notes, Reminders and many more. At the same time Apple is leaving many elements alone. The Dock, menu bar, windows and desktop remain largely the same. 

One interesting feature of Mountain Lion is the prominence of the cloud. iCloud is being placed in a central position in the new operating system. Upon initially starting Mountain Lion, a user is asked to input his or her iCloud credentials and if he or she doesn't have them, the option to create an account is offered. With the role of iCloud becoming greater in OS X the need for applications previously only available for iOS compatible systems also arises. And Apple is certainly going to provide them. 

Overall, Apple isn't making drastic change just merely merging its two highly successful operating systems together for personal computers. The changes Apple is undertaking show that the company understands the greater emphasis being placed on the personal cloud. 

Windows 8

Maybe Apple isn't making any radical changes but Windows certainly is. The company has used the same interface for its operating system since 1995 when the world was introduced to key elements (such as the Start menu) that have defined Windows. Windows 7 was a slight step away from the existing UI. While Apple created an entirely new OS for its mobile devices, Microsoft simple fused the already existing elements of some of its programs to create Metro, the UI of its mobile devices. Windows 8 will include the Metro interface, a photo of which can be seen below.

The approaches taken by both businesses are so different it's almost hard to compare the two operating systems directly. While they are both becomingly increasingly mobilized, they are taking very different steps to get there. This is why I wanted to compare both systems on their cloud capabilities. Apple's giving a greater role to iCloud but what is Microsoft doing? 

With this update, Microsoft seems to be bettering the functionailty of SkyDrive, the company's free online storage and file-sharing service, and integrating it into Windows 8. The new SkyDrive will give users the ability to share individual documents, do drag-and-drop uploads and manage their files more efficiently. The Windows 8 integration will allow users to sync files much more easily. 

In conclusion, the cloud is growing. Maybe it's not growing as quickly as mobile technology but the fact that these tech giants are integrating the cloud into their latest offerings suggests that its certainly only going to get bigger from here. 

 


Friday
Feb172012

Public vs. Private Cloud

If you're moving over to the cloud, you might have a hard time deciding whether to invest in the public or private cloud. Well, this infographic from The Cloud Inforgraphic describes the differences between both better than I ever could. Hopefully you'll find it useful!

Sunday
Jan222012

So, what's up with "Big Data?"

I throw around a lot of terms on this blog and was thinking that it might be a good idea to define and discuss their relevance more in-depth. Since I talked about one of the most used concept last time (and essentially let Salesforce define it for me), cloud computing, I thought I'd focus on another buzzword today. "Big Data." What is it exactly, what does it refer to and what is its significance?

What is it?

As its name suggests, the term refers to large amounts of data. I've read somewhere before that we create something like 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. It's big, certainly. The majority of this data was created in just the last few years thus giving rise to a phrase to describe it. 

What does it mean today?

Well, that's a tough one. The term has encountered many evolutions since being originally defined and it's hard to pin point just one succinct definition. Beyond its fairly literal meaning, the phrase has also come to describe the tools and process a company uses to manage very large amounts of data. This includes terabytes, petabytes or even numbers beyond in some cases. Big data has become important not just due to the large amounts of data customers produce but also as a way to comply with government regulations in certain cases. As digital data gains more importance in legal matters thus arises the need to save all digital data, emails, documents and other forms of electronic communication, in case a firm faces any kind of litigation. 

Why does it matter? 

Well that answer's not so simple. It'll take more than a paragraph to describe why Big Data is important to a business and what can be gained from it. As I was writing this article I was thinking that it might be more fitting to discuss how a business can successfully leverage Big Data in its own blogpost. Now that you have a basic understanding of what Big Data is exactly, we can examine what do with it. 

Friday
Jan132012

Saas BI: Pros and Cons

What are the pros and cons of gathering business analytics in the cloud? Let's take a look:

Pros

 

  • Since technology in the cloud doesn't have to be installed and maintained, it frees up more time for the employees to focus on the process of gathering and analyzing business intelligence. 
  • On a similar note, a company can start using SaaS BI technology more quickly since the installation process is bypassed entirely. 
  • Cloud vendors offer cheaper options usually since there isn't a need to purchase software or hardware (however, keep in mind that the cost will depend on the amount of usage).

 

Cons

 

  • Since technology in the cloud is still growing, it may be less complex than on-premise software but also less functional.
  • And of course, there's the always present concerns about security. Many IT professionals worry about the safety of data being sent over IP connections. 

 

Even though the pros slightly outweigh the cons in my analysis, it doesn't necessarily mean that SaaS BI is the right choice for your business. Clearly there are many factors to the considered and it seems to me that the choice will become more clear when cloud technology reaches its full potential. 

Wednesday
Sep152010

Salesforce Chatter Going Mobile

Earlier this week, Salesforce.com announced that they are taking Chatter to the smart phone. While we've expected this for some time now - it is exciting news. Mobile devices are becoming the new enterprise desktop. IDC research is placing the number at more than 50 percent of the workforce.

"The combination of devices like the iPad or the new iPod touch with mobile apps like Chatter that push information to you in real-time are making the desktop obsolete."

-  Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.

What excites me about Chatter going mobile is the clear commitment by Salesforce.com to bringing business and social media together. Chatter was officially launched back in June. They are reporting that nearly 20,000 companies have deployed the platform. I've been in a number of user group meetings over the summer and the topic always comes up by someone in the group, "have you guys implemented Chatter for your users?" As the summer has progressed I've been hearing less and less people say, "not yet." What seems to be a clear indicator of a successful Chatter adoption by end users is they buy in from key executives. When this would be raised in the group, at least one admin would always chime in, "..but our CTO is so tied up in meetings and trips he doesn't have time." By rolling out Chatter Mobile, this is no longer a roadblock.

Chatter Mobile apps for iPhone, Blackberry and iPad will be in the market later in 2010. Support for Chatter Mobile on Andriod devices should be available next year. 

Salesforce Chatter is available at no additional charge to app paying subscribers of Salesforce CRM and Force.com.