Have you heard any of these cited as advantages for using software in the cloud?
- Reduced on-site IT costs
- Lower startup costs
- Faster implementation times
- No requirement to update multiple servers and workstations
- State of the art security for your data
While the mileage will vary according to your specific circumstances, any of these could be a benefit of working from the cloud. The single greatest advantage, however, has yet to be realized — instant integration. Imagine the benefit of being able to instantly integrate your CRM with your MIS, your MIS with your prepress workflow or favorite accounting package, your eCommerce solution with your MIS, and so on. Today these integrations are painful and take weeks, if not months, to complete usually through a back-and-forth of specialists from multiple vendors working together.
Enterprise software suites, such as Salesforce, are already in the cloud and offer the ability to add other best-in-class software components easily through its AppExchange. Rajiv Kapoor over at the Marketo blog states that even independent software vendors in the enterprise space are working more closely together to offer seamless integration. The advantage for the enterprise customer, just as it is with the print service provider, is the ability to pick the best software solution for their needs in a mix-and-match method.
Can or will software vendors in the print community offer such turnkey integration after moving to the cloud or will the same integration challenges exist? One can only hope that what is happening with enterprise software provides a navigable template for our industry.