Cloud computing can be formally defined as "a model of computer use in which services stored on the internet are provided to users on a temporary basis." As a confused CFO, CEO, or CIO – someone that’s out there that’s actually researching cloud computing and how it can benefit them - does that really help me out? I’m going to guess probably not.
So... what is cloud computing?
I think the best way that I've had cloud computing described to me is to think of consuming IT as a utility.
If businesses today consumed electricity the same way they consumed business software - like enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management - then every company, and every individual location, would have its own power plant. The power plant would require heavy up-front expenses so you can purchase generators and everything else you need for the power plant. And this is just so you can turn your business on every day. Then, at the end of their useful life, you would replace the whole thing again and start over with new generators and equipment - another heavy investment! Along the way, the power plant would need to be staffed by a team to maintain the generators and keep everything running.
So we know this isn’t how we all consume electricity. Instead, somewhere out there is a large power plant that is producing enough energy to power millions of homes and businesses - not just ours. We don’t have to worry about staffing the facility, maintaining generators, or performing equipment upgrades. The only thing we really need to be concerned with is paying the monthly bill on time. Otherwise, whenever we're at home or at work, we expect the power to be ready and working when needed. If it’s not, and we have a problem, then we call the power company and file a service request and hope the issue is fixed quickly.
And how does this relate to cloud computing?
Cloud computing is fundamentally about consuming IT as a utility. In our example, the power plant is your data center, and instead of giving you power, it provides access to your business systems and data. Just like our power plant concept, companies can preserve capital, free up resources, and achieve a quicker time to value by moving their business systems to the cloud.
You still receive your “power”, or access to your business software and data, but you’re not actually generating it and managing it yourself. You don’t need to staff a team to run your data center or upgrade your equipment. Instead, you work with a trusted Cloud Partner like Merit Solutions to host, maintain, support, and upgrade your systems. Just like your energy company, you receive a bill each month charging you for the amount of energy you used - which, in this case, is the number of users you have each month. In return, you are given immediate access to your business systems whenever and wherever needed. And, if you have a problem with the system, you contact your vendor, file a service request, and hope the issue is resolved quickly.
In this model, all organizations have access to the enterprise applications and systems that were previously only available to the largest companies.
About MAXCloud Cloud ERP powered by Microsoft Dynamics AX
Merit Solutions' Cloud ERP offering, MAXCloud, enables customers to take advantage of the industry-leading ERP capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX at a decreased cost - without the up-front investments in hardware and infrastructure. Unlike other Partners, Merit Solutions is not just a consulting firm, but is also an engineering and software application development firm that understands infrastructure and how to build IP. This provides clients with a high reliability factor from an infrastructure standpoint, and enables them to have a quicker, lower cost deployment without sacrificing quality.
And while there are Partners who are experimenting with Microsoft Dynamics AX in the Cloud and attempting to offer it in a traditional consulting model that takes 9-12 months to deploy, we have built software configuration tools and packaged services that not only increase the reliability of our cloud offering, but introduces a completely different model for how companies deploy and implement business software. As an example, we just helped an organization rapidly deploy MAXCloud in less than 60 days – with strong financial controls, systems, and processes in place to meet government regulations.
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