As 2011 speeds to a close I wanted to take opportunity to describe some current technology-terms from the practical and realistic business perspective. Many still wonder why they should consider or what the benefits are of:
- Cloud Computing – using the internet to access remote based computing resources that include the server computers, all storage and software applications.
- SAAS – Software As A Service – a business model that allows “pay as you go, only for what you use” versus large capital costs to purchase capacity in advance.
- Google Apps For Business – Google’s bundled group of “cloud based computing services” offered for Private Domains via SAAS business model. Highly affordable and available for all desktop or mobile devices and comes with a 99.9% uptime SLA.
We hear others say these terms, we see them in articles and even use versions of them (often without knowing it) but people still wonder. Who is this stuff for ? How does it work? Answer to Ques 1 is; “this stuff is for anyone that needs affordable, flexible, available from anywhere reliable computing capacity”. Answer to Ques 2 is “you don’t need to know how it works to get the benefit”.
Below are 3 recent adopters of Google Apps. Highly diverse in their location, users and needs – ranging from government to education to private business. But all using the same solution to meet their needs, it illustrates how adaptable this new form of computing is. It may help to think of Google Apps (SAAS/Cloud computing) as buying electricity from an Electric Power Utility company. Every customer gets the same kind of electricity, but how they put it to work to meet their unique requirements is what makes them different. The same is true with cloud computing.
Lake Havasu AZ (city known as the American home of the historic London Bridge) Police Department dedicates itself to creating a safe and secure local resort, business and residential community. Most officers are primarily on the road of water doing patrol – being mobile is critical.
However staff could only check email before they started a shift or after they returned. Mobile computing demands combined with a need for easy fluid information exchange between 24×7 work shift people and typical 8 hour day shift office personnel drove them to look for new solutions. Regarding the question “is data secure in the cloud” which the Police Chief was asked repeatedly, he response is “By moving our data to the Google cloud, we are able to take advantage of Google’s FISMA certified security infrastructure. A far more robust system than most mid to small agencies (like ours) are able to build and maintain.
Utah K-12 Schools in all Districts is being encouraged by the Utah State Board of Education to offer support for Google Apps (for Education edition) to all K-12 schools across 42 state school districts, with full support of the Utah Technology Coordinators Council (TCC). Terms were worked out with Google for providing Google Apps to over 575,000 students and 25,000 teachers statewide.
This for-profit company sets-up, manages and promotes over 300,000 events annually. While based in Harlowton, Montana, their teams are distributed across North America and Argentina plus have fulfillment partners in Australia and the U.K.
They develop and built their proprietary LOB (Line of Business) software to be used from “the cloud” but they didn’t want to build their own email system. Their Microsoft® Exchange system was becoming more of a constraint and expense, by having to maintain their own systems. As a relatively small business with teams spread across six countries on three continents, Google Apps enabled them to be much more efficient in communicating across time zones and continents
Employees now have easy access to email on Androids, iPhones and iPads allowing them to be on top of important issues regardless of location with little or no IT support. It gave a 38% reduction in the average number of responses needed to resolve a customer issue, decreased the IT operating budget by about 28%.