Deploying Cloud Productivity Apps in Enterprises
The cloud is not just for sharing and syncing, it is also filled with services and apps that can do a world of good for an organization’s productivity. Whether it's a full-blown productivity suite of tools, or a single-function app to make the tedious life easier, the cloud is there as the savior. One can say that the cloud productivity apps deliver optimal levels of enterprise cloud adoption, since the software provided in their solutions can be easily accessed using any web browser. These easy-to-use cloud productivity apps also give organizations the flexibility needed for team collaboration and furnish associates with the necessary tools to conduct business from anywhere on the globe.
Cloud-based Apps as Productivity Suites
These are apps that require no installation and are generally device-agnostic. Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 are two of the most popular cloud based productivity applications in use today. As they are usually available on a SaaS model, cloud apps eliminate the need for companies to invest excessively on data centers, software licensing or installation; the labor costs associated with configuration and maintenance of software applications are also reduced. Enterprises could deploy their staff in other areas, thereby enhancing productivity. A high degree of scalability offered by cloud apps, makes them more desirable. As the onus of software updates lies solely with the SaaS provider, the burden on in-house IT staff is largely reduced. Also as SaaS services are delivered through internet, cloud apps are accessible to users from any internet-enabled device.
Productivity suites when viewed in the context of cloud-based applications come with all the aforesaid benefits. Cloud storage has particularly simplified the process of sharing data for teams involved in projects. By bringing email and file sharing together, Google automatically prompts the uploading of files larger than a particular value, into the cloud and provides a URL pointer to it to be shared via email. Folder-based services like Dropbox, have gone a step ahead in simplifying the file sharing process; without compromising on security of corporate data, Dropbox has even eliminated the problems associated with data retrieval from rigid server-based environments.
Disadvantage of Cloud-based Apps
In spite of all the advantages offered by cloud-based apps, there are certain drawbacks. The biggest and most striking one often cited is the inability to customize cloud apps to suit the needs of customers. Companies are required to rely on external vendors or cloud service providers to keep the software functional and safeguard enterprise data. Enterprises seeking services are required to ensure that the billing process is in accordance with the service provided to them. Security breaches at the vendor’s site where the cloud data is stored, could prove costly for companies. Serious issues pertaining to connectivity have been reported by users of cloud based applications in remote areas. This is a matter of concern for the companies as it is bound to affect their productivity.
Mitigating the Challenges posed by Cloud-based Apps
Industry leaders tend to acknowledge that cloud, as a promising technology is here to stay and grow. This essentially implies that the IT industry is working towards mitigating all the challenges inherent in utilizing cloud-based services.
Although the earlier hesitation with regard to moving to the cloud is no longer prevalent in the enterprises, the concerns pertaining to storing corporate data remain. Smaller establishments dealing with public cloud seek to address this issue by adding security features to their data by means of encryption, before storing it in the cloud. Others also embed severe security protocols and obligations as part of their Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the vendor/service provider. Larger corporations however take a different approach, which is by means of setting up a private cloud.
Private Cloud offers all the benefits of a public cloud but not the disadvantages associated in dealing with an external vendor. Product based companies are not only using the private cloud model to deploy productivity apps to their employees but also to serve their customers on a SaaS model. Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Adobe are just a few names that leveraged this model of business.
Native apps are the ones that are built exclusively for the device environment in which they are expected to function. Companies using their resources to develop or deploy apps that suit their environment, is also noticeable today. The most prominent ones are the ones developed by Apple, which also includes productivity suite applications among others. As these apps are built to suit the environment in which they operate, their compatibility, speed and efficiency are assured. As they are downloaded from the store owned by the company, security is never a concern, from the user’s perspective. As IT managements take keen interest in protecting their data environments, the concerns of security are less intense when compared to public cloud.