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cloud_in_the_sunlightWith regard to this issue’s topic, “Clouds and External Applications”, we can speak to some personal experiences and offer some food for thought. As far as our own experience, we offer both in house and cloud based software solutions. We see trade offs to each.

Our full enterprise software runs on client machines connected to a SQL Server. The big wins here are security, speed, features and interface. Because the software resides inside your firewall, security should be as good as it gets.  “Should be” as your company would need to offer good security procedures and the right combination of software and hardware to insure solid protection of your data. Because all the data is running locally, speed should also be as good as it gets, assuming your company is free of network issues. Finally, full-blown applications can include interfaces and features that may be difficult to achieve in a web browser.

Our cloud-based software offers pervasive access from the road, home and remote offices. Until of course you lose access to the Internet. Or until the provider loses access or their site goes down. Even the industry leaders have fallen, albeit briefly: Think Google and Amazon. Cloud-based software also offers flexibility and affordability. We have clients whose selling seasons are 6 or 9 months  - They are able to pay only for the months they need the software. Since the software is accessed from a remote server via a browser there is no software to install, upgrade or maintain any software locally. We do all that on our servers. Our clients only need to log in and take advantage of the new features.  And rather than pay for software license(s) up front, they can pay a smaller monthly fee as they use the software.

Regarding features and interface: The gap is closing. Once application-only options such as drag and drop and click and drag were unthinkable in a browser. Now Google and others offer them routinely: Think Yahoo Mail and Google maps.

So which approach is best for you? A discussion with your company’s management and IT team will reveal corporate preferences. Or budgets may dictate that answer. No matter what, we recommend you try both solutions on a limited basis to see which solution best satisfies your needs.

What do you think? What have you heard? Please let us know.


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