Leveraging the hosted or cloud-based business applications continues to be one of today's hot topics. Though available in an in-house installable version, these days, a large portion of software vendors are offering hosted or cloud-based versions of their products with attractive cost savings. The demand for such applications has risen dramatically over the last 10 years because of the potential to both save costs while at the same time mitigate risk.
Today organizations are trying to minimize their total cost of acquisition. This starts with acquiring hardware, software and in many cases personnel to not only implement but maintain or grow the application. The total cost of acquisition is a mere subset of the total cost of ownership. Once installed, software/hardware costs continue to add up in the form of support contracts, requisite upgrades or patches that need to be applied. In addition, there are incremental costs for training/growing the existing support personnel. All these costs are an addition to a variety of external consulting partners that might be required to maintain, upgrade or possibly customize the installed platform. When taking into consideration the total hard cost associated with such solutions, the on-premise option could end up being significantly more expensive versus a reasonably priced hosted or cloud option.
Incrementally, there is a hope that the available hosted/cloud options bring a secondary soft benefit in the form of risk mitigation. Most organizations do not intend to be experts in the software platforms they deploy, but end up retaining knowledgeable personnel out of mere necessity. However, having knowledgeable in-house personnel does not negate the need to bring in additional expertise to address potential issues. The option to buy a hosted or cloud-based solution from the maker of the software or one of their partners is seen as a risk-averse strategy or putting mission critical applications in the hands of the very best available pool of resources.
In all cases, attractive pricing options for hosted or cloud-based options come with some noteworthy drawbacks. One of the limitations is in the fact that hosted applications are measurably restrictive when it comes to the flexibility to customize and configure. Other common issues are that cloud based options do not really provide ample flexibility if when it comes to integrating with existing core applications or possibly one-time extracts from the same hosted-platforms.
One key consideration one should make before moving to the cloud is the ability or inability to move content in and out of cloud-based business applications. Some software vendors with cloud offerings provide reasonable APIs allowing for the extraction of content. However, there are also software vendors that either lack the requisite APIs or have hard policies that prevent any seamless method to move off such a platform. One such system deployed in exclusively a hosted-model is Jive. Jive comparatively comes with some options on how to execute one-off or volume migrations. Though these features all come with some measure of limitations, at minimum, it provides a viable path to leverage for such object movement to other platforms.More »