Could your business save money by moving to the cloud?

financial results

by: Anne Kilgour

There have been a few stories in the news this year about software companies like Microsoft and Adobe moving their software to being a subscription only model. My first thought on reading this was that these companies are trying to tie me in to paying them forever and ultimately costing me a lot more money. But is that really the case?

If you have ever looked into purchasing cloud based software (also known as SaaS – Software as a Service), you might be surprised by the monthly subscription fees. Some quick mental arithmetic will tell you that paying $2,000 per month for all your users adds up to $24,000 annually. If you are comparing this to the cost of buying traditional licences for $50,000, you might think that the subscription model is going to be much more expensive. After all you are going to keep that new system for more than 2 years, right?

It is easy to overlook all the other costs that come with a traditional, on premise, solution. The most obvious one is the hardware – you don’t need to buy or use any servers when you adopt an on-demand solution. The cost of buying servers is of course a part of this – but even if you already have them available, you still have to house them in an appropriate environment, back them up regularly, preferably to another physical location, provide power etc., and have someone monitor, maintain and fix them when necessary. Of course, that all comes at a cost.

Then there is also the software side – that solution that you have bought and implemented doesn’t stand still. Who will investigate and fix any bugs that you uncover? How often will you upgrade to a newer version? Who will install the PC portion of the system for new users? How easy is this to do?

This is of course where the SaaS model earns its bread and butter. All the server management is done for you, in state of the art facilities, with the highest levels of security, back up and redundancy to ensure you have the maximum availability of your system. On the software side, you have access to experts to help you with any bugs or problems at no additional cost. The system is regularly upgraded for you, and there is no PC software to install. In fact this in itself is one of the biggest advantages of the cloud  – you can truly access your system on demand, from any device, anywhere, anytime, so long as you are connected to the internet. On the beach, in the office, on the train home, wherever you have connectivity you can be working on your system.

I recently found a great tool to help you compare the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an on premise system and an on-demand, SaaS system, from the very helpful people at Nucleus Research. Through putting in a few figures for the costs of running your system locally or in the cloud, it will quickly analyse the TCO and present you with a clear comparison of the two options.

Here is an example of the comparison output:

financial results

So, if your senior management are nervous about moving to the cloud, show them the potential savings you could achieve. Then speak to Ouest to find out more about making your business a Best Run Business with SAP Business ByDesign.

Why is cloud the way of the future?

by: Chester Chavez

Have you ever wondered why cloud is the way of the future? Are you familiar with the cloud? I’m not talking of the clouds in the sky itself but more in line with the technological lingo that means data are stored by another provider in a remote location. This gives the company freedom from being tied to conventional in-house system infrastructures and the costs and maintenance that goes with it.  You can access the data from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection be it via desktop computers, laptops or even mobile devices. The advantages you get are greater financial flexibility, quicker reaction time, increased efficiency and immediate access. We have to admit that these are all vital components to run a successful business but let’s take a deeper dive into the last factor.

We are now in a time where technology is at its ascension. Everything we do is somehow connected to technology or the internet. Most headline making inventions or fads are either on the internet or caused by the internet. People now have become more dependent to it. Everywhere you look, you will see people busy reading, typing or playing with their mobile devices.

So why then is having immediate access to your business system important? Having a system that you can access anytime, anywhere does give you immense benefits. Before having real-time access to your data was a big thing but now, it’s a thing of the past. Nowadays, real-time data is not enough and it means nothing if you are not empowered to make decisions and changes based on it. But nothing seems to be bigger than the fact that having immediate access to your ERP system gives you the chance to be above or at least in line with your competitors. Let’s face it, one timing delay may cause a business to lose a considerable amount of money or be left out by the competition. The competitiveness of the business world now is very high that people are looking for ways to one-up the other in any way possible.

With this in mind, SAP utilized their industry leading expertise in creating real-time ERP systems and combined it with the cloud technology. Thus, it gave birth to SAP Business ByDesign. This ERP software is not really new, it has been in the industry since 2007 and have been through a roller-coaster ride. There was even talk about SAP Business ByDesign’s death but of course it was short-lived since ByDesign still exists up to this day. Somehow, the not so good way it started proved to be a blessing in disguise for SAP since they were able to identify the key challenges and is now bouncing back stronger than ever.

SAP Business ByDesign Integrates

SAP wanted to start a cloud solution that would cater to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s). They wanted to help businesses grow by providing their world-class ERP business software at a price better suited to SME’s pairing it with the cloud technology. What clients get is a full suite ERP business solution that is in the cloud. The user interface, navigation and help functions are better and easy to use and understand. The system has its own library that you can use as a reference and it even has a community center where people share their thoughts and questions about ByDesign. If that still won’t solve your problem, you can always log an incident (ticket) to SAP’s 24/7 support hotline.

 The system has most, if not all, of the common functions that SME’s needed and can be configured easily. There are also functionalities – known as apps – that you can buy which are customised for certain business processes that are created and/or developed by accredited SAP Partners only. You can also do changes post implementation and the system will be able to respond quickly without having downtimes. The system currently undergoes quarterly upgrades which update the system functionalities to better cater to the needs and concerns of the majority. These upgrades are based from the on-going collaboration between SAP and its clients through user feedbacks as to what improvements they want SAP to make in ByDesign. This is a good thing since it empowers the users to be proactive and to do their part in improving the system.

SAP Business ByDesign can be summarized in 3 words: Intuitive. Flexible. Accessible. ByDesign has done a lot of developments and growing up since its inception and surely, the best is yet to come. As the saying goes, “Success is not by chance, it’s ByDesign.”