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How do we measure the cloud's benefits?

Date: 12-04-2012
Author: Bit Software

Do you use webmail? Or Gmail / Yahoo! Mail / Hotmail, etc? Do you communicate by messenger, whether it’s GTalk, Live Messenger, Yahoo, Skype or others? Then it means that you are in „cloud”. Messenger is the simplest example of cloud: an application that uses an instant communication service hosted on a server about which you know nothing.

This is the main cloud's philosophy: services pending on servers in different datacenters, which can be used with or without charge. To access and use a cloud computing based service you don't have to install anything and don't need extra storage space. All you need is just a web browser and an Internet connection.

Briefly, this means cloud computing. And, according to several studies conducted by IT services or IT research & consulting leading companies (Google, Deloitte, Gartner, Forrester Research, etc), more and more companies started to search for cloud solutions, trying to extra streamline operational processes and reduce costs.

It is true: cloud computing get rid of hardware investment, licenses payments and significantly increase your uptime. But every time, the managers ask the same question: „How do we measure the cloud's benefits?”.

The first quantifiable benefit is related to savings on infrastructure and operational costs. When you purchase a cloud service based on monthly or annual fee, you actually don't buy the software, you rent it. Speaking in economic terms, you will move costs from CAPEX to OPEX. You no longer have costs and depreciation assessments on those services, because you lease the service. You use and pay such as water, gas, electricity, heat.

The second benefit is that you pay strictly as you use. For example, you own a company working on projects. Sometimes you are simultaneously involved in 3-4 projects, other times just in one. Therefore, If you want the service on 25 computers, then on 50 and sometimes on 10, you can do it by paying strictly what you use. In this way optimizing costs and aligning them to the company`s activity.

In the third place, you have a much higher uptime than you could provide yourself. For example, Google has an uptime of 99.99% to those who have an active SLA.

The fourth benefit is an increased mobility. In Cloud, data is accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device connected to the Internet. This means that users can access data from office, home or travel, on laptop, PC tablet or smartphone, by using a web browser.

Last but not least, several studies demonstrated that by giving up to your company server-room, you will achieve a substantial shrinkage to electricity bills. Utilities (like cooling or power) are better used in cloud, making your company more profitable and "environmentally friendly".

Source: Forbes, Small Business Blog, Go Cloud, Agora, PC World

 

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GDrive – Google Cloud Storage Service, soon to be released

Date: 06-04-2012
Author: Bit Software

Two of the most prestigious research and consulting companies in business software (Gartner and Forrester Research) predicted an increased activity in the cloud computing area for 2012-2013. Increasing sales, diversifying offers, the appearance of new „clouds” (public or private), are just few of the aspects on which Gartner & Forrester experts bets.

Therefore, the biggest player in cloud-computing area (Google) could not sit passively in the face of such opportunities. And is preparing to launch GDrive, desktop and Google cloud synchronization solution. What GDrive is, which are its competitors, and if there is a similar solution on the market are just some of the questions asked by Internet users.

GDrive is not a surprise product. People talk about it for almost five years. Lately, however, rumors said that GDrive release is a matter of days, maximum weeks. And even Google`s CEO, Larry Page, manages the project.

The „GDrive” name comes from Google Drive and is a cloud-storage service that would rival one of Silicon Valley's hottest start-ups, cloud-storage provider Dropbox Inc. In other words, GDrive is Google's „DropBox”. With the advantage of being fully integrated with the famous Google Applications (Gmail, Gtalk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Groups, Google Sites). Like Dropbox, Google's storage service is a response to the growth of Internet-connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and the rise of cloud computing. And things will work like this: you create a folder on your HDD, whose files will be uploaded & synchronized in real time with the cloud. GDrive will allow you to store photos, documents and videos on Google's servers, so that they could be accessible from any Web-connected device. And will also allow you to easily share them.

A leaked screenshot of the service has indicated that when Google will reveal the final version of its Drive service, users will automatically be furnished with 5GB of free storage, rivalling offerings by Box.net and SugarSync, and eclipsing the default 2GB storage limit of Dropbox’s increasingly popular service (the company allows you to add more space via social sharing initiatives etc).

The initiative is a first step made ​​towards further centralization of Google Group services under the GDrive name. Which could become a dangerous competitor for the current leader, Dropbox, but mainly for his old rival: Apple Technology and its iCloud.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, GigaOm.com, www.top10cloudstorage.com, talkandroid.com

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Data mining and predictive analysis with MicroStrategy - Business Intelligence Solution

Date: 29-03-2012
Author: Bit Software

Business Intelligence Solution

 

Organizations gain a competitive advantage when they can increase the sophistication of their BI applications. One way to achieve this is to move beyond basic historical reporting and evolve to strategic, predictive analytics and alerts that help anticipate the likelihood of a future event, such as customer churn. Your business are as full of information like the DNA, and precious as gold. All you have to do is learning how to discover them. And use them. And with MicroStrategy Data mining and predictive analysis you can extract everything that is valuable from your data.

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Improve sales, perform market basket analysis and cross-sell opportunities by using SocrateBI

Date: 23-03-2012
Author: Bit Software

If your company activates in retail, distribution, services, telecom, or in any other consumer-oriented business environment, you know that understanding customer motivation to do or not do a certain acquisition is essential for your business survival and development. You need to quickly identify changes in consumer tastes and preferences and act immediately to improve their experiences.

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Insight into the various factors that drive controlling profitability with SocrateBI’s Project Controlling Analysis Module

Date: 15-03-2012
Author: Bit Software

Why didn`t we finish the project on time? Which are the reasons why we exceeded the budget? Do we have enough available employees to start a new project? In financial terms, is it profitable to begin this project?

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Cloud solutions hold the potential to dramatically change the businesses that adopt them

Date: 28-02-2012
Author: Bit Software

As I said in an earlier post about ERP Prediction for 2012, this year cloud-based ERP will continue to gain ground at the expense of traditional ERP. Why? Because enterprises will continue to adopt SaaS-based applications to replace legacy, high-maintenance and often marginally effective systems in use today.

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SocrateBI "Inventory SocrateB and Stock Analysis Module" allows companies to improve sales and eliminate out of stocks

Date: 16-02-2012
Author: Bit Software

One of the most critical and time-consuming aspects of retail and distribution is managing the stock. You want to sell the products in stock, but you also need to ensure that you have sufficient stock to meet variable demand. You must have real-time control and visibility of your stock in order to respond to market requirements and remain competitive.

Therefore, controlling stock levels and cost of stock purchases is essential to keep your business moving forward. Inventory is like cash! Having a tight grip on your stock levels helps you improve the efficiency of your logistics and reduce operational costs. For many businesses, inventory is a significant part of their working capital. So optimized stock levels have a huge impact on their financing costs.

SocrateBI`s new module - „Inventory and Stock Analysis Module” (ISAM) - enables retailers and distributors to analyze in minutes volumes of transactional data and gain vital intelligence on essential areas such as sales trends, stocks and inventory management, in order to help your business grow. With ISAM, you will be able to gain a better insight into inventory levels, stocks and sales performance, providing the best selection of products and services that customers like and want. This insight is giving decision makers a better understanding of sales trends, in order to improve product sales and profitability.

ISAM`s excellent reporting and analytical features allow you to analyze lots of data, in an easy and intuitive way, and to make critical inquiries at different levels, supporting your decisions with efficacy. The module includes a series of important reports, such as: Average quantity sold for days with stock, Date of Last Sale for Products with Stock = 0 in the last 30 days, Item Sales vs. Stock, Products with Stock without Sales, etc. And, there is a report template included, allowing the user to select his own attributes, metrics and filters that will appear in the final report.

Below are the most significant benefits of using SocrateBI ISAM module:

  • allows you to focus quickly on those areas that result in profit by giving you the ability to monitor stock products without sales, in order to avoid financial blockages due to purchasing of products difficult to sell.
  • allows you to more effectively monitor and manage inventory levels, so that you will be able to identify revenue enhancement and cost reduction opportunities.
  • improved sales and gross margins, by having each store or warehouse stocked with the right combination of products, at the right time.
  • improved merchandising decisions, that help you more proactively serve your customers.

The ISAM module was added to the already existing SocrateBI`s modules launched in November 2011: FRAM (Financial Reporting Analysis Module), PCAM (Project Controlling Analysis Module) and SCAM (Sales and Customer Analysis Module).

BITSoftware`s Business Intelligence solution – SocrateBI -, is developed having as a base the MicroStrategy platform, MicroStrategy being the largest independent provider of Business Intelligence solutions in the world. SocrateBI allows organizations to run packaged analytics directly from Socrate ERP, or, due to its open interfaces and connectors, analysis can be done also using the information available in other ERP systems.

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Google Apps, the key to a successful communication

Date: 09-02-2012
Author: Bit Software

Operating costs as low as possible, increased productivity, innovation. These are some of the major objectives of managers today. Therefore, more and more of them started to look toward online communication and collaboration applications. And more than 4 million companies and 40 million users now handle their e-mail, documents, and other office tasks using Google's online professional office suite, Google Apps. And for good reason. Because Google Applications offer a stunning range of cloud-based productivity options to even the smallest firms. Everything you do at work is now available anywhere, anytime, from any online connection. And it's all for just $50 per year per user for the Business version, which includes additional storage and high-quality, unlimited support.

The total ROI of deploying Google Apps is more than 300%

Google Apps offers simple, powerful communication and collaboration tools for businesses that increase productivity while reducing your costs – all hosted by Google on secure and reliable cloud infrastructure. According to a Forrester report („Should Your Email Live In The Cloud? A Comparative Cost Analysis”) the total ROI of deploying Google Apps is more than 300%. And when Forrester`s experts looked at the financial benefits of switching away from traditional email and collaboration tools to Google Apps, they found that organisations were able to cut ongoing costs by „an impressive 38 to 56 percent”.

According to a recent Gartner report, Gmail „should now be considered a mainstream cloud email supplier capable of competing head-to-head with Microsoft Exchange Online”. Also according to Gartner, cloud email is expected to grow significantly and reach 20 percent by the end of 2016.

Google`s online office tools makes your employees more innovative and productive

Google Apps allows your employees to effectively work together in real-time on shared documents and sites. By working together, your employees can be more productive and innovative. And according to a report by The Future Foundation, there is „an 81 percent correlation between innovation and collaboration. Employees who are given the opportunity to collaborate at work are more than twice as likely to have contributed new ideas to their company”.

There is no doubt that cloud services are changing the way organisations view their corporate messaging and collaboration platforms. But why is Google Apps for Business proving such a force in the enterprise space? With Google Apps, your employees can:

- access their content anywhere, anytime - laptop, desktop, home, work, mobile, online, offline etc;

- work together on Google Docs in real-time without the hassle of multiple versions or attachments;

- easily create team or project Sites without the need for IT support, improving information sharing within your business;

- have complete control - each piece of content can be as private or public as necessary.

Google Apps, the key to a successful communication

Organization is key to a successful business, and exactly this Google Apps suite does: connecting all your users together. It only requires one login for each user, and it offers simplicity to your employees.

Also, Google is in the works of allowing your Google Apps login to be able to be used in conjunction with their other applications like Picasa, Google Maps, Google Alerts, Google Trends, and Google Analytics.

So, if you want to make the switch but you aren’t good at technology, call us. As GoogleApps Authorized Reseller, BITSoftware offers different services in order to help companies successfully use Google Apps: installation services, migration services, users' training services and integration with other applications.

Surses: Gartner, Forrester Research Agency, The Future Foundation, Google, The Money Crashers, PC World

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MicroStrategy Social Intelligence lets your company more effectively engage and monetize your Facebook fans

Date: 03-02-2012
Author: Bit Software

Not long ago, enterprise social media used to be quite simple. Some blogs, used sporadically by a few employees to explain to what use or how to use a certain product/service of the company. Or a bit of social media for marketing purposes.

Now, social media is a growing component of enterprise communication and collaboration. Increasingly, the world is using social networks and other social media-based services to stay in touch, communicate, and collaborate.

In a recent survey realized by Frost&Sullivan PR Agency on 200 C-level executives in North America, sixty-nine percent were closely tracking „social media, placing it ahead of telepresence, VoIP, shared team spaces, soft phones, and even unified communications and unified messaging”. Almost half of the respondents say social media is used within the organization, and 41 percent use the technology personally. Among executives who report social software in use within their company, 67 percent say it is used extensively at all levels of the organization, and another 26 percent say it is used mainly by senior management. The message is that companies are going to use social media as a primary channel in the very near future, if they aren’t already. It’s time to get strategic.

Therefore, both Gartner and Forrester Research said that in 2012 just integrating BI with Excel isn’t good enough any longer and users will demand BI tools that are integrated with email and collaboration platforms. As I said in an earlier post, Gartner predicts that by 2013, 15% of BI deployments will combine BI, collaboration and social software into decision-making environments.

MicroStrategy, the largest independent BI provider, which is present in Romania through its partnership with BITSoftware, has taken already ahead of „predictions” and provides a platform for analysis and synchronization of data business and Facebook! „MicroStrategy Social Intelligence”, which contains three modules (Wisdom, Alert & Gateway), lets your company more effectively engage and monetize your Facebook fans.

MicroStrategy Wisdom allows you to get to know your Facebook fans as well as their friends do. You can segment your users based on their interests and motivations (they are, where they come from, and what they like, what activities they enjoy, places they like to go, etc), so that you can target each segment with more relevant and valuable offers and increase engagement with individualized content and recommendations.

With MicroStrategy Alert, you can add marketing and commerce features to your brand's Facebook page to personalize the consumer experience, increase fan engagement and monetize your fan base. Also, you can turn Facebook fans into friends by delivering highly relevant offers, content and promotions to them, encouraging frequent page visits and drawing their attention away from competitor's pages.

With MicroStrategy Gateway, you can gain a 360-degree view of your Facebook app users, combine your corporate view with their social view to see the complete customer and use it to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your customers.

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The trend of the future: ERP goes mobile!

Date: 30-01-2012
Author: Bit Software

I said, in an earlier post, that people at Gartner claimed that the ERP solutions will become mobile. At the base of this statement lies the fact that despite the global economic downturn, it is still something that organisations are willing to invest in: mobility.

With mobile devices becoming omnipresent, the companies can benefit from improved quality of service, greater productivity or deeper business relationships. Now, it is more important how a producer chooses to sell than what they sell. For the sales teams, to have immediate and real-time data on what’s going on with orders, customers and suppliers is critical. So, ERP mobility will be a dominant force from the shop floor to each sales call where quotes, orders and contracts deliver real-time order and pricing updates.

Therefore, beyond mobile devices already integrated with ERP solutions (handheld, pocket PC, etc.), the managers and executives are already pushing for service delivery on mobile devices like iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android etc. Why? Because the expectations are very high for having real-time updates on a series of benchmarks that the management team uses to manage their many businesses on mobile platforms. Plus, according also to Gartner, by 2015 the tablet market will be 479 million units and the PC market will be only just ahead at 535 million units. In other words, in three years the tablets alone are going to have effective parity with PCs. And, in most of the companies, the mobile devices will replace the traditional laptops, much heavier and more voluminous. Which will push ERP manufacturers to deliver those services including on iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, etc.

And, being able to mobilise ERP applications, the companies will achieve an important competitive advantage.

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