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On-premise or the cloud?

The cloud has been identified as one of the big 5 forces which will impact business IT over the next decade . From its early beginnings at the turn of the century, cloud computing has decisively proven its advantages over on-premise software, and become the dominant approach for delivering software.

Why choose the cloud over on-premise software?


There is near unanimous agreement based on 10 years of experience deploying cloud solutions, and numerous that the cloud delivers tangible and immediate benefits to businesses. The choice between cloud and on premise software has often been compared to the choice between consuming electricity from a public grid vs. having your own power plant. Specific advantages of cloud computing include:

Adoption
Formerly, cloud solutions made their way into organizations through end users who bypassed the IT department and chose their own cloud solutions because of vastly superior usability. However, today 85% of organizations have a formal cloud strategy, up from 67% in 2012 . CIOs listed cloud computing as one of their top priorities in 2013 .
Formal Cloud Strategy

Cost
The costs of on-premise software are capital intensive considering the costs of hardware, staffing, implementation and maintenance. Under the cloud model, the cloud vendor manages all aspects of application infrastructure and management, while businesses users only pay for actual use.

2012 2013

67%

85%
Server Software

The cloud was again identified as one of the top priorities of CIOs in 2013

Cloud Software

Total Cost of Ownership

Over a 5-7 year time horizon, SaaS often turns out to be cheaper by 25-50% than on premise software.

Aligned to business
On-premise software heavily depends on the IT department at every step of the software cycle right through implementation, management and customization. This leads to the IT department becoming a walled-off clique, with decisions driven by internal dynamics rather than being subordinate to business objectives. With cloud software, the IT department assumes a strategic role of choosing solutions that assist with business goals, while content owners and end users manage and customize their own applications on a day to day basis.

Speed
A typical on-premise software implementation takes months including planning, implementation and customization. Cloud software is developed per the plug and play philosophy. Typical HyperOffice implementation cycles can be counted in days. Businesses begin to realize the business benefits of the software solution much faster, which means the ROI is significantly better.

Continuous Innovation and Upgrades


Upgrades are continuous in cloud software. Users have ongoing access to new functionality in tune with the changing business and technological landscape, rather than waiting for the typical 2-3 year upgrade cycle of on premise software.

Security
Cloud vendors have developed specific competencies in terms of application infrastructure and management and data security. Businesses with a different area of operation have neither the competency, nor the finances to ensure the same degree of security.

Cloud computing will be more secure


Neil MacDonald

Since SaaS vendors have access to application usage data, they can study user behavior to innovate and upgrade their product. Since SaaS solutions are not a one-time sell, but an ongoing relationship, they tie users and vendors in a community of interest, where everyone benefits from developing the solution the vendors in terms of continued patronage from the users, and the users in terms of technology.

Anywhere anytime access


User Friendly
Cloud computing and Web 2.0 have been two concurrent movements in the software industry. Cloud applications borrow heavily from the excellence of the consumer world and bring the same pleasing user experience and interfaces to the business world. This means end users get their job done more easily and businesses finally combat the problem of low software adoption.

Since the means of delivering cloud software is over the public Internet, users may access their software tools no matter where they are, rather than being restricted by corporate firewalls and networks. Since mobility is one of the drivers of cloud computing, most solutions are compatible with mobile devices. For example HyperOffice is compatible with all major tablets and mobile devices including iPhone, iPad Android and Windows Mobile.
The result is productivity on-the-go.