The cloud is everywhere now. Not clouds in the sky, but “cloud” as in “cloud computing.” As the internet came into being, the cloud was the go-to description for that wild area outside an organization’s firewall. It allows programs to be accessed over the internet instead of through an on-site network of hardware, applications, and storage.
For me, the smartphone is the best example of the power of the cloud. My first phone had limited storage, and, if I wanted to preserve my data, it had to be backed up to an application on my computer. Then cloud storage was introduced. I changed the setting so it automatically backed up to the cloud, saving my data and my time since I no longer had to remember to do it. I could maximize storage by storing older files in the cloud instead of on my phone.
The most important aspect of the cloud hit home when I upgraded to a newer model. As soon as I logged in, the applications and contacts installed on my previous phone started downloading. The email application connected to my account; all of my contacts and their information were immediately available. The cloud saved time and energy since I didn’t have to manually transfer data from the old phone to the new one.
Cloud computing offers significant benefits in terms of flexibility, increased storage, and reduced costs. The cloud offers functionality when and where the organization needs it, with the ability to add features as the company grows. Instead of buying software licenses and hardware to run it on, companies pay a monthly fee that covers the use of the application from a secure online environment with technical support, software upgrades, and data storage. Maintenance, upgrades, and business continuity are performed automatically by the vendor, rather than by an on-site IT department.
Enterprise applications such as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) also are taking advantage of the power of the cloud, but it’s important that the solution you choose is the right fit for your organization. Here are a few key factors to consider when exploring a cloud solution for your EAM.
Be prepared to widen your search for vendors. Cloud versions of existing on-premises EAM solutions from large, established vendors are still in the early stages of development; others have yet to offer a cloud solution. Some vendors offer limited functionality in their cloud offering. The vendor should also have a partnership with a strong Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure Cloud, to ensure the stability of the cloud platform.
Carefully examine the functional requirements and degree of customization available. Some vendors limit functionality and the number of allowable users to make the cost of a cloud offering seem lower. Many existing EAM deployments have a considerable amount of customization that may be limited in a cloud offering, although a certain degree of configuration is possible.
Research integration requirements. Typically, EAM solutions integrate with ERP, MES, HR and procurement applications. These needs tend to necessitate a single-tenant SaaS approach. A company would need to make sure the vendor can accommodate this type of cloud deployment.
According to industry research, 50% of all EAM deployments will be in the cloud by 2020. Most of these implementations will be midsize companies in manufacturing and facilities management. A cloud solution allows many small and midsize organizations to reap the benefits of an EAM without the upfront investments in hardware and the need for extensive IT resource involvement.
Aptean TabWare EAM has an established cloud solution with over 10 years of providing advanced capabilities, and continues to evolve with innovative technologies to meet the specific needs of targeted industries. Our solution undergoes a rigorous SSAE 18 Type II audit annually, and is hosted in a secure and highly available data center. For more information, contact us at 1.855.411.2793 or email [email protected].