By Natalya Oleksik
- Posted on 2. July 2015 21:02
(Denver) As it continues to translate its global vision into a global footprint - eTransmittal, the revolutionary document management software developed by the Denver-based bWERX team, chalked up another “win” recently – the expansion of its flagship data management software into South Africa. There, it has partnered with Azcom, the region’s leading provider of Managed IT Services and Software Development, which will be using the software to provide its corporate clients unmatched managed file transfer, external file sharing, file share search and more.
It is another step in CEO and Founder Justin Culver’s vision of “a world where there are no longer folder structures” for companies – and individuals - to navigate. Culver and his team are striving to pave a smooth path for eTransmittal’s growth, ensuring that it integrates seamlessly into Microsoft SharePoint and other existing document management systems, bug-free.
So, has your organization opted to use software as a service (SaaS) yet? If not, you are in good company. Despite the valid claim that the cloud saves time and money, there is the (equally valid, some would argue) counter-claim that to do so also increases security risks. According to a recent Information Week survey, despite tremendous progress in how SaaS is adopted and deployed, almost a quarter of respondents have no plans to use SaaS technology and agree with the statement that “It is not strong enough”.
And then there are the headline-grabbing hacks which have further served to foster doubts about the safety of the cloud. Between Target in 2013 – 110 million records stolen; Home Depot in 2014- 56 million payment cards compromised and Anthem in 2015 - 69 million to 80 million records breached - it’s hard for company executives to hand over their document management to the cloud and still sleep at night.
But remember, when it comes to data security, proximity does not equal safety. It may make you feel better to think so, but just because you have a server sitting next to you in your office does not guarantee that your data more secure. In fact, it is more common for a web-based system to have more solid security systems in place than that server you may have on-site.
It all adds up in the end. A move to the cloud means trusting the process (maybe even a little beyond your comfort zone) - but it can also make your data more secure. The challenge of designing and implementing an efficient, secure document management and security software system enabling file share search; managed file transfer; online shared files and more has long been one of the “better mousetrap”. eTransmittal is be part of the answer – a step into the future of “a world without file structures.” A “better mousetrap” challenge – met.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 29. August 2014 01:18
For today’s technologically infused enterprise space, the project manager’s role is growing exponentially and the mounting list of IT projects needs a more enhanced tool set. For this reason, many business leaders are looking to cloud based SaaS (Software as a Service) resources to add to their arsenals.
Because of the hugely diverse array of SaaS project management tools out there, and because every business is unique and requires different needs in terms of SaaS resources, we won’t focus on the variety of tools available, but rather the elements you should consider when shopping for the right tool for your business. We’ve highlighted a few factors below that CEOs and CIOs should consider when the time comes to put these assets into play.
While many project managers consider price to be the primary concern with Cloud platforms or software, security is perhaps the leading factor that should be considered. After all, you’ve worked hard to keep your network and sensitive data secure, how regrettable would it be to employ a new, helpful resource only to see it become the single point of vulnerability? This is an especially important question for file transfer software.
Because your data will likely be in the hands of a third party with a SaaS program (or at least in a third-party location), this area is especially sensitive. Ensure that the cloud provider has top-notch security and privacy measures in place. You’ll want to look at the tool from a security officer and compliance perspective. In addition to checking out the SaaS security measures, ensure the proper backup protocols are in place, and what contingency plans there are in the event of a breach on the provider side.
This factor is pretty straightforward, as all businesses usually know how to shop with a price – or more importantly, a budget – in mind. But the tricky part of shopping for SaaS products is the widely varying pricing structures. Because cloud-based tools don’t use the standard boxed software + license model, instead offering a service-based tool, you’ll be hard pressed to find any cut-and-dry pricing. The key concern in terms of cost when shopping for SaaS tools is to be laser focused on the compatibility of the software with your architecture and finding a precise match between your needs and the offerings and features of the program and the provider.
The features of the SaaS product lie at the very core of the entire endeavor of implementing project management software. Ultimately, the features will be the ‘proof in the pudding’ for any PM who is looking forward to a more productive (and hopefully easier) road ahead. Again, your primary focus is compatibility and how well the PM software syncs up with your needs and the company’s existing architecture.
Be vigilant about uncovering at features that competitors might overlook, such as collaborative benefits and channels for marketing your services and products more effectively. Most importantly, for service-level features relying on the provider, ensure they have a consequence for failing to deliver features as promised.
Interface / Usability
While features, price and security are all significant concerns when shopping for SaaS project management tools, nothing else about the software will matter if the interface is broken, incompatible or simply hard to use. Demo versions and free trials exist for this very reason, and they benefit both parties. The SaaS provider gets to show off their product and bring the selling points home in a practical environment while gaining a stronger rapport with a potential client. Better yet, you get to see how well it works. Take every opportunity to try out a software you’re interested in before you buy.
If possible, make sure that as many staffers at the office get a chance to take the tool for a spin (or at least those will most likely be using it). Do some comparative testing along the way. While one SaaS platform may stand out in terms of usability, there’s no way to know if there’s a far better tool unless you shop around and try out several of them.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 8. August 2014 01:32
Over the past couple of years, Cloud computing has taken a clear and definitive foothold in the corporate space. The trend has hastened in 2012, although the precedent of widespread adoption may have been a bit short-lived.
As the previously swiftly growing trend begins to wane, analysts are discovering that businesses, especially those at the enterprise level, are taking the pace a bit slower now. There are a handful of reasons for the more cautious approach, but among those reasons, three in particular seem to stand out.
Whether you're eyeing the Cloud as an FTP Replacement for your file sharing or an ultra-accessible collaboration tool, we’ll explain what those barriers are and how you can overcome them to stay on track toward your ambitions to leverage the benefits of the Cloud.
The first issue that comes up at the forefront with business owners is security. The sensitivity and importance of a company’s data is often placed at the highest regard, and rightly so. But the fears associated with poor security in the Cloud, including news-worthy scares of isolated incidents of breaches and hacking, are largely unfounded. On the contrary, a company is usually better off in terms of security with a Cloud-based system.
The best tool for overcoming security fears related to the Cloud is education and awareness. Your CIO or IT department management will play a key role in assessing the security threats associated with moving data to the Cloud. Learning about the systems, the way data is stored and moved, and gleaning a clear understanding of the security measures in place will put these fears to rest.
Establish policies early on to address any vulnerabilities that seem to stand out. Furthermore, it’s best to abandon the myth that having data in close proximity makes it any more secure. In actuality, the Cloud servers at your local datacenter are much better equipped to protect your digital assets than in your local office.
Another prominent obstacle that seems to loom over any efforts to pursue Cloud computing is the cost. Not only does the Cloud hardware and services seem expensive, but the technology changes, infrastructure overhaul, IT personnel, software cost and maintenance costs seem to crash together in a nightmarish scenario with an outrageous price tag. In truth, however, the costs are minimal and the returns are great.
If your firm is concerned about the costs, the best method might be to outsource your technology. Partnering with an IT services provider will put all of the needed assets in one accessible place, on the shoulders of the tech vendor. Furthermore, they have the expertise and experience not only to complete the Cloud migration without a hitch, but to transform your technologies from a cost center into a revenue generating asset. You’ll spend less overall and they will assist in reducing your IT spend. In the long run, your returns will overshadow the initial expense, and you’ll be free to focus on the core business.
The final primary reason that businesses have been reluctant to make the jump to the Cloud is the knowledge gap. Executives worry that the staff and users of the Cloud services within the firm won’t adapt quickly enough or the learning curve will prove too counterproductive. They may have these concerns even for themselves if they aren’t as technologically savvy. Extra training, new procedures and the fear of a deluge of errors and mistakes are enough to put the brakes on a move to the Cloud.
But there’s no reason to abandon a Cloud-bound journey on the basis of such a knowledge gap. The solution to this barrier is two-fold: First, it is imperative to plan carefully for which Cloud services are needed and provide the most value. Don’t adopt anything that isn’t necessary. By keeping the selection of Cloud services precise and goal-oriented with the benefits in mind, you’ll reduce unnecessary headaches and make the transition easier on everyone.
Secondly, most Cloud service providers offer extensive, in-depth training services, learning resources and expert support. Tap into those offerings right away, and find out ahead of time how much support is available. In this manner, you don’t have to sacrifice a robust Cloud service for the sake of usability. You can get exactly what you need, even if it’s complex, and the knowledge gap can still be quickly closed.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 25. July 2014 03:14
Some business professionals aren’t yet convinced whether they should move to the Cloud, or if it represents any value. However, the cost savings and accessibility benefits are drawing more and more small businesses and corporate executives to the technology.
Cloud storage, for example, is especially attractive to smaller businesses by leveling the playing field with access to the same assets, data storage space and network capabilities only previously found in the enterprise space, but without the tremendous price tag associated with it. That’s not even including the huge amount of investment it would take to employ and manage a technology team to maintain the infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few more of the reasons every small business should consider Cloud computing.
Storage & Accessibility
Cloud storage, sometimes considered in the same term as ‘cloud computing’ is actually a web-based service that lets people access and store data at a server hosted on the worldwide web. The data held there is governed by the user, and they manage, update and download their own resources. A benefit of Cloud storage is that it’s not tied to a single machine and doesn’t require extra devices or applications, the storage location is accessible from anywhere on the web.
With Cloud computing, a user can perform a vast array of tasks on the web, from almost anywhere else on any web-ready device. Resources are updated in real time and data can be moved quickly. It’s likely that you might already utilize cloud services without realizing it. Big brands such as Amazon, Intuit and Google are already well vested into Cloud technology. The versatility and accessibility afforded through Cloud technology has not gone unnoticed in the titan tech arena, nor should it at the small business level.
If you want the best the Cloud has to offer, such as document management tools and collaborative business resources, you’ll likely want to pay for a full or premium version of the service. However, many more Cloud services exist that can handle a variety of tasks and daily conveniences through free and ‘lite’ versions. Those free services are bound to grow in number and quality and setting up an infrastructure that’s ‘Cloud ready’ will enable your business to continually take advantage of free cloud services as they emerge and evolve.
Internal Operations Made Easy
Previously many small businesses would either outsource functions such as human resources and accounting, or weigh down a single staffer with the time-sapping tasks. But the Cloud is providing new, innovative and cost-effective solutions. Cloud-based recruiting and accounting tools, along with management resources and software to tackle internal operational tasks are available at an affordable cost, and because the software don’t require licensing, you simply pay for the resource as a service, otherwise known as Software as a Service (SaaS). If your small business hasn’t already tapped into the Cloud and all it has to offer, consider this your wake up call. Not only does it empower a small company to leverage enterprise-level technology, it grows with the company, so you aren’t fighting logistical and architectural obstacles while you grow. It’s almost as if the Cloud was made for small business, and it’s time you found out why for yourself.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 18. July 2014 01:33
Massachusetts, or ‘Taxachussetts’ as it’s affectionately known in some circles, has recently released a ruling regarding the imposing of sales tax on Cloud computing services. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue typically applies a sales tax of 6.25% on most goods and property sold within the state. This encompasses pre-written software as well, no matter how the user gets the software.
Cloud services, on the other hand, don’t actually involve the licensing of software to a customer. Instead, users typically either leverage their own applications or log into a web-based portal serviced by the Cloud provider. In other cases, all parties use an open source platform. In these cases, as determined by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Cloud services aren’t taxable.
Because the Cloud services in question use the customer’s own software, or otherwise open source resources and there is no tangible asset changing hands, the Cloud product isn’t taxable in Massachusetts. This represents a crucial distinction regarding how sales tax applies to Cloud computing.
However, if the Cloud service provider requires the customer to purchase licensed software or proprietary applications sold by the Cloud vendor, sales taxes can be assessed on the services when sold to users in the state. This is applicable even if the software incurs separate charges or there is sub-licensing involved. The reasoning lies in the fact that the user actually acquires the software in one form or another, similar to a download of traditional pre-written software.
Many Cloud providers have adopted popular terms for their offerings, such as “Software as a Service” (SaaS) and other similar titles. While descriptive in a sense, these terms have no bearing regarding the taxability of their services according to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. They further determined that taxability cannot be discerned by examining whether customers download or otherwise install software applications on their own machines.
While these findings only affect vendors and users in the state of Massachusetts, they establish a precedent that could significantly impact deliberations of a similar scope elsewhere across the country.
The take-away for cloud computing services vendors hinges on the sale of pre-written software to customers. If the service requires users to download and install (and pay for) a proprietary software application, sales tax will likely come into play. But again, we’re talking only about Massachusetts at this point.
To better clarify, one source reports that “Massachusetts can impose the obligation on a vendor only if the vendor has sufficient physical presence with Massachusetts. It is often a challenge to determine whether a vendor has this physical presence, and the determination is based on the ‘facts and circumstances.’ If the vendor does not have sufficient physical presence in Massachusetts, the vendor does not have an obligation to collect the tax, but the customer has an obligation to self-assess the tax and pay the tax to Massachusetts. “
The struggle over how to apply sales tax in these digital realms has been an ongoing battle between the state revenue department and internet-based vendors for quite a while. Ambiguity within the downloadable product space means an uphill battle for Massachusetts lawmakers. The fog on that battlefield has thickened more and more as packaged software drifts away from brick-and-mortar store shelves and further into the Cloud.
For Massachusetts, or any other state for that matter, the loss in revenue from taxes on software could prove significant enough to more closely define taxability on digital services. Most revenue departments will be on the lookout for ways to replace tax revenue losses from the transformation of software into service. Cloud vendors and software developers for Cloud-based services should take note and prepare accordingly for the coming storm.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 28. July 2012 02:09
While businesses can reap a great multitude of benefits from adopting Cloud platforms, one advantage in particular stands out in the minds of IT leaders: Accessibility. According to a recent survey conducted by CSC and TNS, out of more than 3,500 technology pros, 46% agreed that the benefit of accessibility sets the Cloud apart from other architectures.
While some experts contend there are greater benefits and the findings may surprise some, the appeal of accessibility is easy to see. It allows greater flexibility and streamlined operations for everyone involved, both on the user side and the support side.
Another important factor, ever-present on the minds of business owners, is cost savings. However, despite the positive returns available through Cloud computing and the savings touted by Cloud vendors, only 10% of survey respondents said that the cost savings was the greatest benefit.
While most agree that the bottom line is usually considered as a top priority, the adoption process for new technologies changes the rules. When a company implements a new integrated technology such as Cloud computing, factors like accessibility become imperative advantages.
Traditional programs and software applications are typically installed on local systems, running on your workstation PC or on the local network. In order to utilize those tools, users must be physically present at the site where the software is installed. However, cloud applications run on web-accessible servers and are usually available through website portals and similar online channels. Many such Cloud-based services are even available via mobile devices and smart phones. This places Cloud applications at a tremendously higher level of accessibility than traditional software tools.
The great advantage of accessibility is actually two-fold in terms of the remote-access capability, as this benefits both users as well as the IT crews who are likely working on the platform itself or offering support. These benefits are quite clear, but accessibility isn’t the only factor to consider – what about other equally important concerns such as security…or even usability?
These issues are certainly important, albeit secondary to the crucial nature of accessibility. But the benefits of added security and streamlined usability are rooted more in the Cloud solutions and services offerings, and not so much in the actual architecture of Cloud computing as accessibility is.
Cloud computing has become swiftly and increasingly popular in recent months, driven by vendors offering solutions for an array of tasks including document management, online collaboration and services representing viable FTP replacement options. Discerning the level of security and usability offered with these services will require a closer look at those respective vendors.
The IT industry respondents in the survey mentioned earlier in our article have actually conveyed some sound advice in the numbers. Business owners should consider factors such as accessibility and cost savings first and foremost during a migration to Cloud computing. Security and usability, however, should deserve special focus when shopping for the tools and applications by which your business will leverage the new technology going forward.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 14. July 2012 02:42
As businesses blaze new technological trails into the future of corporate computing, Cloud-based systems are positioned at the forefront. We are quickly approaching a threshold at which Cloud computing transitions from an experimental concept to a fully integrated business resource. While some of the bigger players on the field have encountered pitfalls in Cloud computing, such as Amazon’s latest outage, the game is growing more approachable.
One of the problems with evaluation and visibility regarding a new platform like the Cloud is that there’s not much empirical evidence yet. Only after a period of testing, trials, application and evaluation would we really get a good feel for results and success rates – whether the news is good or bad. While we’ve only previously heard a huge amount of hype from proponents and vendors championing the Cloud as the end-all technology, there has been only scarce reports of real, actionable historical performance data. Until recently, it was assumed the lack of data was because it simply wasn’t available yet. But it’s time for a second look.
We’re now entering a time where we should be seeing quite a few reports, results and success stories from the Cloud computing space; not just from vendors but from businesses expecting returns from a Cloud platform in which they’ve invested significant time and money. However, there is still only a paltry volume of testimonials and documented successes. At this point, the reason is most likely because companies deploying Cloud platforms are considering their developments to be trade secrets and private, sensitive assets. You might occasionally run across an article or white paper touting a company’s success with a Cloud strategy, but you can count on the fact that there are thousands more that haven’t even been published.
You also won’t be seeing too much Cloud hype anymore. This is because the inherent value and flexibility of the Cloud is becoming more apparent to business owners and CIOs. Vendors and service providers will have to rely less and less on ‘educational’ marketing and ROI-focused hype in order to convert new adopters. This is also the phase where free trials turn into annual contracts, service providers go to work managing all the clients they reaped in the hype phase, and the attention is on the engine in your new car rather than the car salesman wooing you into it.
As the Cloud is also filling in voids of demand and problems needing solving, more businesses are becoming reliant – almost captivated – within the new infrastructure. Because of the added security, the Cloud represents an email and FTP replacement option that simultaneously improves productivity and efficiency while remedying drawbacks of the older, less effective and less secure platforms.
One of the natural barriers encountered in the shift toward Cloud computing has also been lifted recently; which is the ‘you go first’ mentality. Small businesses are reluctant to enter a space that even the behemoths of the land won’t venture into. Logically speaking, it makes sense to consider why such a universal enterprise space isn’t being pursued by the big players. But those fears have been quickly evaporating as technology titans like Google, HP, Amazon and Mircosoft enter the fray with committed strategies. That’s just one more obstacle removed from the path of a sweeping and swift movement.
Yet another indicator, which is clear and calculable regardless of reports and testimonials, is the money invested in Cloud computing. Cloud service providers and vendors are enjoying a steadily growing clientele and the profits are rising. Businesses are pouring more and more money into Cloud systems, which is often an uncontestable sign of the value of returns expected. A company contributes funds to the areas that stand to yield the greatest returns. The Cloud is clearly becoming one of the top contenders in that arena, and rightly so.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 30. June 2012 07:04
The buzz in the tech arena recently has included a sizable dose of Cloud computing topics. While we’ve progressed well past a conceptual perspective, the Cloud remains an interesting topic and a hotbed of speculation and progressive thinking.
The spotlight at the center of the discussion shifts almost daily as a fervor of competition and development herald a bustling digital revolution. Cloud service vendors stand to reap a bountiful harvest as more adopters emerge in the corporate space. But from a high level view, the current Cloud marketplace represents a threshold still unconquered despite years of growth.
I came across an article on GigaOm recently that was not unlike cracking open a virtual time capsule and peering into the Cloud as a fledgling concept. In the article, author Gary Orenstein analogized the Cloud marketplace as a ‘three-horse race’, where each “horse” is one of the key Cloud service offerings: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
While Orenstein’s descriptions and postulations about each service and the merits of their application for business make sense, the true takeaway was his prediction that the next progressive step would be “Undoubtedly, a combination of all three deployment models.” That was more than 3 years ago.
Yet few have managed to attain the perfect ‘Triple Crown’ of successfully and efficiently offering solutions that compile the treasured triad into one neat package. (Or perhaps we’re not looking hard enough.)
On the contrary, the news of the day involves big players marketing aggressively with a single-channel focus, a trend well exemplified by Network World’s recent piece about four household-name heavyweights jumping into the PaaS arena. Google has been snagging plenty of headlines of its own lately too.
For those keeping score, the evolution of the Cloud marketplace might have proven a little tough to keep up with. Despite predictions and anticipations from 2+ years ago that combining services would not only be the brass ring on the Cloud vendor carousel, but also the natural denouement for an evolving marketplace. So which is better? Time will tell.
But there is still little doubt that building the perfect ‘Triple Crown’ Cloud offering would benefit Cloud-bound businesses greatly, and earn a tidy fortune for the vendor. However, such a model may never exist – at least not as it’s been previously conceived.
The secret is that it’s not really a “Triple” Crown. For a vendor to execute the marketing, distribution and delivery of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services concurrently, at least one additional critical component must bolster the bundle together: An internally-grounded core infrastructure with a broad scope of support. Think about it this way: Even if you had three hands in all, none would do you a bit of good if you had no backbone.
There is one caveat that seems to have been only scarcely discussed, and which could create a barrier to global tech titans from being able to offer up the ultimate Cloud combo: Location, Location, Location.
Thoughts of the Cloud computing space conjure up images of a largely atmospheric environment, free of the constraints of the physical world. But the reality is less liberating, as proximity between vendor and client becomes increasingly important.
Successful Cloud marketplace competitors will be those who recognize and adapt to these subtle secrets. Our very own bWERX Inc., (the IT enterprise which helped develop eTransmittal into such a standout document management tool), represents this ambitious pursuit with a sound support strategy and local-focused IT management. No strategy is perfect, but we all know that every great formula has a few secret ingredients.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 24. June 2012 02:13
How Contractors are netting huge rewards by putting their money where the Cloud is
Back in February, our feature article, “The Secret to Pushing Green Building into the Mainstream” focused on concepts that could improve the adoption rate of Sustainability measures among A/E/C (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) firms. Only a few months have passed, and the trend is catching on like wildfire.
The ‘Secret’ article highlighted the importance of support-based vendors and contractors promoting value in their green-minded offerings. As it turns out, A/E/C firms are quickly discovering that value (and then some) as they internalize green practices – and not without the help of at least one eco-friendly ally in the building industry: ABC Green.
Both the ambitious efforts of ABC and the swiftly growing community of A/E/C businesses pursuing ABC’s Green Contractor Certification program serve to reinforce proof of promising progress resultant from establishing value in green practices.
It appears as though the barrier of justifying investments in sustainability products and policies is rapidly dissipating. Perhaps the most significant evidence to such a claim is the fact that contractors are committing to the cause like never before, by implementing intensive internal sustainability overhauls.
The requirements for companies wishing to net ABC’s prestigious Green Contractor Certificate represent a direct influence within the applicant’s own internal operations – it’s no longer about applying green standards just at the jobsite, and rightly so.
While the program isn’t a newborn (it was established in 2009), we are now entering a period of maturity for the early adopters, as the initial application covers a three-year period. The vastly superior advantages of infusing sustainability measures into the core business, rather than only serving them ‘ala carte’ on projects are now becoming strikingly apparent to those initial applicants such as Oklahoma-based Flintco Constructive Solutions.
We exemplified this type of low-hanging fruit in the form of implementing green-minded measures in our February article by pointing out the bevy of benefits relating to online document management and archiving, including our very own Software as a Service product, eTransmittal.
But there is growing consensus to those benefits elsewhere. Not only does ABC list such requisites for their Green Contractor Certificate as establishing “a policy for archiving documents electronically”, but companies like Flintco are heralding the money- and time-saving returns of implementing cloud-based document management.
An article published this month in Construction Executive magazine entitled “Green From the Inside Out” featured details surrounding Flintco’s three-year venture to internalize their sustainability efforts in line with the ABC Green Contractor Certification requisites.
Cited as one of Flintco’s “biggest operational game-changers resulting from certification” was their new policy governing electronic document storage and submittals. According to the article, the company “no longer runs projects with paper-based documentation, instead relying on digital solutions for three-quarters of its work.”
The list of benefits Flintco touts simply from switching to electronic document management represents an astounding return on investment. Among the rewards realized over the certification period: Postage and shipping cost savings in the hundreds of thousands, flexibility to accelerate project schedules, and the re-positioning of personnel away from paper creation and storage and over to more valuable roles such as quality assurance.
While specific case studies like Flintco carry significant weight, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps one of the most important, albeit subtle, take-aways from such a story isn’t just an encouragement to implement electronic document management, but a rally cry to implement it now. With six-figure savings on the horizon in as little as three years, we doubt too many contractors will be waiting much longer.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 16. June 2012 00:54
IT departments might just want to install revolving doors on their conference rooms across the country as the towering tide of technological tools continues to swell. With no shortage of new devices, services and myriad other digital delights on the horizon, it’s hard to be too selective in pinpointing those that would prove most beneficial for your business.
These five top tech tools, representing our own ‘highlight reel’ of sorts, are perhaps the most significant stand-outs in the realm of new business gadgetry:
Popularity and adoption rates for the virtual environment affectionately known as “The Cloud” are steadily growing. Standing out as a pinnacle of utility in the enterprise space, The Cloud represents a cost-savings opportunity while providing tremendous scalability, flexibility and efficiency. Many SaaS (software as a service) products, secure file sharing tools, web applications and other online services are rooted in the Cloud. Accessibility from anywhere and collaborative benefits are also among the perks enjoyed by those migrating to cloud computing.
The advent of the iPad is perhaps the most notable milestone ushering in the Tablet computing era. Since then, many competitors have entered the market and we’re seeing more and more sophisticated versions of iPads and the other dreamy digital devices that still manage to possess that sharpness and ‘wow’ factor that bolstered their impressiveness at first launch. Incredible versatility, coupled with portability and ease of use are the strong-suits of this device.
Where would all our tablets and smartphones be today without App stores? We’re all familiar with the massive and diverse array of applications, ranging from games to photo editing software and millions more. With such a swift and streamlined integration to our favorite touchscreen devices, App shops have also become a buzzing bazaar for business. The enterprise-level tools available on App stores are becoming more and more sophisticated and approachable, not to mention cost-efficient as fierce competition keeps prices consistently low.
While App stores themselves are key components of today’s technology tools (along with the wares being peddled therein), the mobile computing space is a much bigger animal. More so today than ever, businesses are seeking mobile integration for applications, software tools, online services and their own IT architecture. Implementing this type of versatility with assets that were previously just fine in a stationary PC computing environment is quickly becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
The process of collecting and analyzing data has changed little at the base level throughout the history of modern business, but the escalation in our ability to glean actionable info from this type of analysis has increased exponentially in the past few years. While many powerful new analytical tools exist that can peer into the heart of almost any campaign, tracking report or gobs of marketing research, perhaps the most important advent is integration with business platforms. Analytical tools that are specifically tailored to certain enterprise services and applications are now frequently built directly into the software itself. This melding of marketing mechanics creates an entirely new competitive atmosphere that balances every business’ strengths in market visibility…or at least those early adopters of the new technology.