At the risk of really dating myself, every time I hear something about Cloud Computing I feel it demands an Emily Litella-ish like query along the lines of, “What’s all this fuss I keep hearing about clown computing? I mean if clowns were really meant to compute, they’d come with a standard interface like a mouse or pen or….oh, cloud computing….never mind.”
If I lost you, click through on the wiki-link above or spend a few minutes on NBC (after you endure a brief commercial interruption) to brush up on comedy past.
So, what is all this fuss about cloud computing, really? Quite a bit, it turns out.
Cloud Computing: Let’s start at the very beginning
I won’t dive into an in-depth explanation here on cloud computing, but let’s at least cover the basics. By now, most of us are at least aware of apps or programs that we run on our devices be that a laptop, iOS, Android or the latest BlackBerry device.
Typically to run an application or program you would purchase software from a developer and install it on your device. You then own a specific copy of that version of the program.
Nice. You are the master of your domain! You are in control. You install the app and go along your merry way using it at will and presumably adding value somehow to the global economy. Shortly after you see another shiny object and decide that one good app deserves another. You install again. Soon, your domain consists of twenty or thirty little apps and then the unexpected happens…Developer A, has updated features in one of the apps you installed eons ago presenting a dilemma - hold where you are or update?
Updating and upsetting the bliss of status quo seems straightforward. You proceed along the upgrade path. Suddenly things go awry. One of your apps launches, seems to hesitate and then closes. This cycle repeats every time you try to launch that app.
You get where this is going, right?
Cloud Computing: So, no app for me?
Kind of. If you think about the previous example and instead multiply it several times over an entire enterprise, you begin to understand the challenges a company may face with every new version of software and every additional app added to the landscape of their end-user computer base.
So what is a company to do? Where are companies turning to keep users happy, mitigate the risk and ensure their competitive advantages don’t stall? They keep their feet on the ground and keep reaching for the uh…clouds, to appropriate (editorial license to modify it slightly) another pop icon’s sign-off.
Organizations can secure an app in the cloud, or that is, an app that is scalable based on the size of their user base size and users can access it via a browser or a dedicated app. The software is mostly not resident on the user’s machine. It’s hosted at the developer’s site accessible to their customers. If you’ve used Google™ apps you have an idea of a cloud based app. The advantages may be apparent but let me state what we have observed:
- You don’t have to maintain or update the app. That is all managed by the developer. As the developer matures their product or adds features and functionality, they can manage the release schedule in a controlled fashion. You get the latest and greatest features without having to go through the hassle of upgrading.
- When you access the app in the cloud, you may be notified of the new features or in some instances, the app may just become more stable or faster than an earlier version.
- The out-of-pocket investment required for a cloud based app is generally less than the upfront and ongoing upgrade expense related to an app you purchase for your device. This all depends on the depth, complexity and specialization of the app. Your mileage may vary.
- Lastly, the time that it takes to implement an app across the enterprise as opposed to a cloud-based deployment can be significantly less. Sometimes it’s a matter of creating a secure instance of the app in the cloud for the users to access, migrating data and you’re up and running.
So how do I relate this to insurance, because, after all, Outline Systems develops for Insurance companies, right? Simple, we’ve spent years working with P&C, Specialty and Life insurers and have sold our product to many carriers. Over the last twelve months we’ve begun to see a shift in users interested in the cloud based deployment of our product.
Knowing that time doesn’t stand still and that we continually develop, evolve, tweak and, on occasion stub our toe. Users see the value in investing in a perpetually up-to-date deployment. They know we have a robust, stable version of the software that can give them and their organization all of the benefits of that experience but more quickly, simply, efficiently and quite affordably.
So, what say, you ready to take a test drive today? Give us a go.
It only takes a brief conversation over the phone and we can set you up with a username and password so that you can kick around in your own sandbox – rather than just take my word for it. Call us to arrange for a free demo account today. You won’t look back.
For those of you not ready to leap… one last Litella, “What is all this fuss I hear about the Supreme Court decision on a "deaf" penalty? It's terrible! Deaf people have enough problems as it is!” Classic!