6R Retail

Click-clack you’re taking me back… (cloud pros and cons)

- Posted: July 27th, 2015

Picking up takeaway on the way home, I walk into our local Thai place.  My order isn’t ready yet, the lady who greets me asks how I would like to pay. Card, sure she says and heads off out the back to get the manager. Hmm I am wondering why a card payment would need a different person when it’s got to a point of just waving the card at the terminal.

The answer is apparent when the manager produces what I have always called the ‘click clack machine’ – I have no idea what the damn thing is called but anyone who has worked in service will recognise the object I am talking about. I enquire as to why we are reminiscing with this ancient piece of equipment?

A phone provider was doing some work in the area and someone cut the cable, the restaurant manager explains.

Ouch!

This is not the only experience like this recently, it seems almost common place where I live (lots of building work). The lines get accidentally cut more often than I care for.

The more dependent we become on the ‘always on’ connection the harder it hits us when someone suddenly cuts you off.

No matter what the size of your business a cut to connectivity has a massive impact. If you have a cloud based solution and the internet goes down you pretty much bring the whole business to a standstill; getting a connection to the server is the most important thing.

So it begs the question, why are we all so addicted to the cloud?

According to some we are actually right in the middle of the year of the cloud, where these technologies are about to become much more mainstream for many businesses.

In a recent review of system options for a client I compared the ‘downloadable’ and Saas option as well as the standard old school ERP options (keep what you have or look for something better).  It was an interesting exercise… the Sass option is appealing but don’t feel like you have to rush right in.

Cash flow

The Saas model is a clear winner for initial cash flow, smaller initial outlay, and set up charges are spread over a period of time BUT over three years it’s a different story. At the three year mark the traditional ‘own it’ option was actually cheaper and the approx. 18% annual maintenance charge was significantly less than the ongoing monthly charge of the Saas model.  Cloud options are engineered to lock the customer in long term and over this longer period to generate more revenue for the provider.

Hardware

Is it just the delight of not having to talk about hardware? You know, the people who speak sands (or is that SAN), switches and routers. It’s pretty easy to get lost in these conversations and wonder what on earth you’re tipping money into the hardware bucket for; they seem to be constantly requiring more of the budget just to keep the lights on. The whole idea of outsourcing it and not having these conversations is a relief to many business owners. It puts the responsibility of keeping the wheels turning with someone who is expert at doing just that.

Disaster recovery is built right in to the model

A business colleague told me about her server melting down (yes, that’s the technical term) and that she was fortunate to have saved a heap of files to dropbox just prior to the server meltdown. Instead of hours of hysterics trying to replicate data, she had minimal loss and just kept going. This at a very basic level, is what spreading the risk of backups and disaster recovery is all about.

When your business operates on cloud it’s already got a back up plan, and yes, whilst the data centre can go down too, there are options for backing up in multiple locations.

But the down-sides are there too…

Data security is in the hands of someone who doesn’t work for you and there is this constant single point of failure. Connectivity.

“Forget electrical blackouts: With the cloud, we might be setting ourselves up for a whole new world of hurt. As hyper consolidation of cloud providers continues, we could end up putting all our eggs in one basket. That basket might be very well protected, but even the best protected systems can fail over time”

It’s pretty rare but it’s been very present recently which has reminded me that there are some benefits to the old school way of doing things.

Upgrading or moving on because you’ve been sold on the idea of cloud technology is not everything.

The upside to having a solution on site that you’ve paid off.  It’s not costing you every month and when someone cuts a line maybe it’s just the email that goes down…

Assessing new systems? Take a look at this post for some key guidelines. Or drop us a line via email, we’re happy to help!

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