Cloud Computing may sound something related to Computation or some fast calculation or may sound funny as Computation on Clouds/ for clouds etc. However, this is the time when we should come down from that Cloud to this CLOUD.. It will sound surprising that this concept is actually a business model adopted by companies which is now gaining attention. In simple words it is the strategy / Business Model wherein you just pay for what you use.
Cloud is a metaphor which is used for internet, so Cloud Computing is Internet Based Service (Cloud) with use of Computer (Computing). This concept is actually a strategy wherein a third party service is used to perform required computing tasks. Here virtualized resources are provided over internet as a service & the end users just pay for it on monthly basis. This eliminates the propaganda of actually buying the complete product with bringing in the ease of using the product as a Service & paying monthly.
This concept is not new to us as we have been implementing this for years now, quoting a similar & very simple example of Living in a Home. I am treating a house as a product which solves our purpose of living. Now here generally speaking we have 2 options, first we can buy a readymade product (Home) or we can can buy land (platform) & construct (Customize) as per our requirements. Say a Readymade house in the market has got three floors wherein my requirement is just of a single floor with three rooms. Now, if I purchase above mentioned readymade product I would end up paying for that requirement as well which I actually don’t need & would need lot of investment. Now as per this concept wherein rather than going for above two options we opt to take a floor with three rooms & paying a monthly minimum rent would eliminate involvement of huge investments & also just paying for the requirement we have.
In a similar way this concept is implemented in IT industry which inculcates the idea of rather than buying complete IT product, we use that as a service with the required features & paying for it monthly. This is treated as a revolution in IT industry as it has got huge benefit to both user as well as the software provider.
This service is broadly divided into 3 different Categories IaaS (Infrastructure - as – a - Service) PaaS (Platform - as - a -service) & SaaS (Software -as -a - Service). The best part of this concept is that it is actually sold on Demand & a User can have as little or as more of a service. This is fully managed / maintained by Service provider which eliminates the inputs towards cost of maintenance, up gradation & failures. Unlike Client Server model wherein servers, package installations, supported files installation, here a User actually needs just a Computer & Internet connection.
Looking back & even, now Software applications are sold as a product which requires lot of efforts from both parties (Buyer & Seller) and from a Buyer’s perspective a readymade product will lead to the cost of even features which are not required by the user. This will also involve the investment of time & huge cost starting from finding vendors till the deployement of project.
Now, considering the Vendor’s (Service provider) perspective it involves one time product development with just involvement of up gradation efforts & support efforts. Also, rather than maintaining different application & investing greater time & distributed manpower they focus on single product. In this way they bring this solution / application / software to clients ranging from 4 - 4000 Users, this actually increase the client base & revenue in exponential manner. However, this concept also involves a new input as compared to other business models like Client - Server & that is of Client Retention. As expanding business at some stage involves efforts on Client retention as adding new clients with simultaneous loss of clients would drag the Service provider to a stagnant stage.
In scenarios where IT departments spend a significant portion of their time on frustrating implementation, maintenance, and project upgradation which could not add significant value to the company’s bottom line. Increasingly, these IT teams are turning to these kinds of services which minimize the time spent on such activities and allow IT teams to focus on other strategic activities with larger impact on the business.
However, many popular CRM Solutions (hosted on the Internet) based on SaaS model render limited / lesser flexibility to users and considering the fact that these solutions cannot cater to the need of every business model or cannot be highly customized to meet required objectives, the importance & existence of Customized Applications still prevail.