So, what exactly is this “Cloud” thing?  Many of us have either asked or been asked that question.  Most have heard about the Cloud, but can’t articulate what exactly it is or why they should consider it to be a part of their business operations.  The topic of the Cloud often comes up as you look at advancing technologies to see how they could help improve the way you do business.  As moves are made to evolve and improve operations by adopting new technologies, there’s an ever present element of change.  With change comes questions; with questions comes the need to have answers which provide clarity.

The Cloud has been around longer than you think.  It is present in various aspects of your everyday life including your phone plan, Netflix subscription, iPad backup, and much more.  The cloud is not so much of a new technology as it is an improvement in how to leverage technologies.  So, why not look at it as a key part of how you run your business?

A company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is usually their life blood.  If that system goes down, there can be serious business implications which have a direct impact on the bottom line.  Many companies annually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, just to keep their ERP system operational.  The costs to keep the ERP system up and running include the annual license fees, the maintenance check, infrastructure, and resources to support that infrastructure.  Let’s not forget the required upgrades every few years that force your hand to sink even more money in to your software applications and infrastructure.

Let’s also not forget about customizations or third party business analytics that layer on even more cost and complexity.  The majority of the time every change, enhancement or upgrade comes with a significant price tag that can take years to achieve a return on investment (ROI).  The end result is that many are left wondering how they can stop throwing good money after bad.  In these scenarios ROI has become a dirty word.  By the time you think you are breaking even, you’re then required to upgrade once again and incur more costs.