Tag: Cloud computing

Moving Your Enterprise to the Cloud. What’s the Best Approach for Your Business?

Posted by on July 20, 2017

cloud questions

According to TechTarget’s IT Priorities 2017 survey, cloud remains a key priority for tech leaders this year.

The benefits of cloud computing today are too compelling to overlook. Increased collaboration, cost efficiency, flexibility, scalability, heightened security, and decreased capital expense, are just a few reasons why migrating to the cloud has become more of a necessity than a consideration. It used to be that companies were hesitant to move data to the cloud because of concerns about security. Today, they are more likely to move it to be more secure. Cloud security is a major priority for cloud providers, and now a convincing argument for moving to the cloud.

The question for those organizations considering migration becomes which type of cloud is the best match for your technology, business objectives, and environment?

Reports from a recent study by McAfee, show that 93% of businesses use some type of cloud service. To determine which is the ideal approach for your business, it’s best to understand the options.

Public Cloud

There are many benefits to using infrastructure and services that are publicly available. Use of the public cloud can be optimal for small to mid-size businesses as it is relatively simple to deploy. Resources can also be offered on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, making it very scalable. Because the infrastructure is shared among different users and businesses and there are very few upfront costs, organizations can significantly reduce their IT budget. Due to the broad network of servers, the public cloud also delivers significant reliability.

Top concerns of use with the public cloud are performance and security. Though most IT professionals believe that the cloud is safer than traditional IT systems, there remains some hesitancy with the public cloud. There are fewer geographical regulations on public cloud servers, meaning your server could be in a different country and under different restrictions. Additionally, surges in internet use can impact data transmissions. For this reason, some experts recommend private cloud use if performance is absolutely critical.

Private Cloud

A private cloud delivers all the advantages of the public cloud, but is dedicated to a specific organization. Because of the proprietary infrastructure, private clouds are easily customized.

Private clouds can deliver an increased level of security for businesses that are highly regulated or require complete control over applications and data. Depending on a company’s existing technology, infrastructure, and budget, the private cloud can either be implemented in-house or it can be outsourced. Though the cost to transition to a private cloud is higher than the public cloud option, in the long term there are still significant cost savings over purchasing dedicated servers or hosting your own servers.

Some of the key downsides to the use of a private cloud are the costs involved (as compared to public cloud) and due to heightened security, it can be more difficult for employees to gain access to information remotely.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud deployment has become attractive to many businesses due to the complexity of their existing architecture. This approach is a blend of private and public cloud use and can be an excellent choice for larger businesses that are required to keep critical data behind their firewall, but also want to leverage the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud for applications that may be less sensitive.

In reference to upcoming initiatives, 55% of the 2017 IT priorities study respondents stated hybrid cloud deployment when asked which deployment model they would use.

Many IT experts argue that advances in private cloud technology haven’t been able to keep up with public cloud platforms, and if private cloud innovation isn’t evolving at the same rate, it may not make sense for businesses to take the private cloud approach exclusively.

For example, the world’s largest public cloud provider is Amazon Web Services (AWS), and based on reports from Synergy Research Group, AWS is “vastly overpowering its competition. AWS has launched more than 1,000 new features in the last nine years and dropped prices more than 50 times since it launched. Many experts agree that it’s difficult for private cloud technology to keep up with growth like this and it doesn’t make sense for businesses to miss out on this level of advancement.

For most organizations, the benefits of cloud computing are no longer in question and the move is inevitable. Migrating your business to the cloud should be approached in a practical way that allows you to take advantage of the full array of benefits while minimizing disruption to your operations. A trusted Managed Services Provider (MSP) in the cloud space can be a tremendous advantage to ensuring a successful migration. Cloud MSPs also have the deep expertise necessary for the ongoing management and optimization of your cloud environment, allowing your team to focus on core business objectives.

5 Reasons Why Your CMS Should Move to the Cloud

Posted by on November 23, 2015

The Modern CMS and Crafter

Your website isn’t just brochure-ware or a place where people go for product updates, but instead it’s the lifeblood of your company and acts as an important sales tool for that first initial interaction with your users. It’s also an engagement tool, with the ability to segment and build personas, to deliver personalized experiences that’ll keep your users engaged. From an integration standpoint, a web CMS isn’t just a standalone effort, but needs to integrate with various other tools such as CRM, marketing automation, and analytics.

Crafter Cloud is a full featured, enterprise SaaS-based content management system with user-friendly authoring tools, easy integration, high-performance content delivery, ability for personalization and targeting, using a suite of industry-leading development tools to enable delivery of omni-channel experiences. Crafter was designed with flexibility and scale and can be integrated with a variety of digital efforts.

Why the Cloud? 5 Reasons to Move Your CMS to Crafter Cloud

From our experience implementing CMS solutions, we’ve across 5 consistent themes for why customers choose Crafter Cloud when deciding to move their CMS to the cloud.

  1. Custom development experience in the cloud – One of the biggest benefits from both an IT and marketing perspective is the availability of a custom development experience, which provides the front-end team a personalized development environment with the ability to use any front end framework of their choice. This leads to shorter release cycles, which benefits business teams and keeps them excited about the CMS as new features and functionality requests are met in a timely manner.
  2. Full Featured CMS – As a full-featured CMS, Crafter Cloud has the design, integration and security features of an enterprise CMS that’s traditionally deployed on-premise with your own resources. The cloud CMS is a great option for customers with a lot of security and integration requirements to deploy the system without a lot of IT overhead. In addition, one of the challenges businesses face during a rebranding effort or site redesign is the ability of the CMS to respond appropriately. Not only are there desktop views, we now need to accommodate multiple screens and mobile devices, and each experience needs to be unique. Design responsiveness and the ability to create custom design and not be limited by the CMS and its features is imperative.
  3. Augment IT – Deploying your CMS in the cloud allows you to augment your IT and accelerate time-to-market. This means freeing up time and resources and limiting your IT overhead so they can focus on new features and the overall user experience.
  4. Cost – Deploying your CMS in the cloud is also cost effective, with savings from resources, time and energy it would take to build and deploy the solution. Crafter Cloud employs a flexible pricing model that allows you to scale and buy as you grow, limiting any over buy.
  5. Running your business at the speed of the market – Often times your public facing website becomes an afterthought if the CMS can’t keep up (e.g. the need for IT resources to make updates, design updates limited by features, marketing needs more data / analytics, etc.). Teams often end up walking away from relying on the CMS and addressing these tasks independently. Crafter keeps in pace with not just consumers but also the technology side of the house by allowing development teams to work with tools they’re familiar with.

Design & Deployment Considerations

When it comes to Web Experience Management (WEM), it can be broken into 5 categories, each with its own subcategories to dissect and think about your business and users (IT, marketing, sales, customers, partners, etc.).

  1. Ease of use – Is it user friendly?
  2. Multi-channel – What are your multi-channel requirements? It’s no longer enough to say it needs to work on a mobile device. Mobile is a whole different experience to think through, and you need to make sure your CMS can be responsive and flexible in that sense. For example, a mobile experience for retail is very different from a services company.
  3. Personalization – Your site needs to be personalized to build engagement. A repeat consumer / site visitor doesn’t want to feel like they’re reintroducing themselves each time they visit your site, which can be very frustrating. You need a CMS that enables you to build the journey with the customer and not force a reintroduction at each touch point.
  4. Engagement – A CMS becomes a viable piece of your business when it can spark engagement, which comes in many forms. Engagement isn’t only about results in product buying, but also in comments, reviews, and feedback loops.
  5. Integration – Can it easily integrate with other third party systems – CRM, Marketing Automation, Analytics, etc.?

Who Are My Users and What Do They Need?

Users are typically divided between internal an external users. Internal users include Marketing, IT, and Sales, and all of these user categories have their own different expectations and opinions on how the site should be designed.

While IT wants security, Marketing prefers flexibility, ease of use and the ability to design and add new features, and Sales wants a site that’s captivating to bring them leads. It’s important to go through the process of defining and prioritizing expectations.

As you narrow down the list, you need to determine if the CMS is able to respond to these expectations, as keeping the internal team happy is the first step to launching a successful CMS. When it comes to features, determine what the current CMS supports, features you wish you had but previously had limitations, whether it’s lack of IT resources for customization or lack of familiarity with the CMS’s integration points. You need an extendable platform that can successfully address these feature requests.

In addition, your CMS manages a variety of content, from blog posts to news articles, to products and press. Your CMS needs to be flexible from a content editing standpoint, where non-technical business users have the ability to edit, preview and publish without any additional IT support. Depending on the organization, IT may or may not be involved in the CMS, so it needs to be self-sufficient, with Marketing owning the solution.

Your external users include customers, partners, and other stakeholders, and you need to start thinking about perception and how users view your brand during their site visit.

To manage user expectation, you need consistency across each digital touch point. The experience from desktop to mobile to kiosk should be consistent so that users don’t need to learn a new UI at each touch point. In addition, if you publish a lot of content, users are going to have certain expectations around the frequency of your updates, and the context in which they’re consuming the content from. All of these points warrant discussions when it comes to your CMS process – it needs to be flexible enough to address most of these challenges.

Customer Win Patterns & Success Stories

Customers select their CMS based on a few consistent win patterns – full-featured with the ability to respond, ability to integrate, provides developers with development tools, limited IT overhead so IT resources can be reallocated to other strategic initiatives, fast time-to-market, and ability to consolidate various sites into one platform.

Our customers are leveraging Crafter Cloud to address a variety of business needs, including:

  • Rebranding a 30 Year Old Company – This health & fitness customer had many inconsistent brands, designs and technologies across their sites that needed to be consolidated into one platform. With a strict timeline and lack of IT resources, they started by deploying their core public facing website onto Crafter Cloud, with other web properties to follow, all accomplished within a two month timeframe.
  • Creating an identity in Ad Tech – This advertising technology company went through a rebranding to create a new identity. Design was extremely important and they needed a CMS to support pixel perfect design. With Crafter Cloud, their solution was up and running in under 1.5 months.
  • Enhancing a Global Platform – This customer already had an existing technology platform in place with high user adoption. They wanted to enhance their site with social capability without disruption. Crafter Cloud provided the necessary social features that were implemented with limited platform disruption.

These are just three examples that all come back to the consistent theme of full featured CMS in the cloud, low IT overhead, cost effectiveness, and speed of market.

Creating a Memorable Web Experience

The larger goal is to have your web presence create a memorable experience so that it reinforces your brand. Best practices to accomplish this include the three C’s:

  1. Consistent – Both internally (equipping marketing with necessary tools in one area to create these experiences and providing IT with the right development tools) and externally (across multiple devices)
  2. Contextual – Providing the right content in the right context
  3. Conversational – The ability to create conversations and enable engagement, and ultimately build a community around your web experience

To learn more about Crafter Cloud, visit crafter cloud.io.

Alfresco in the Cloud

Posted by on January 11, 2010

Alfresco has been working on various ways to bring its enterprise content management platform into the cloud. It started with its Cloud Content Application Developer Program back in September of last year, which “provides an open source Amazon EC2-ready stack and developer kit for customers and partners to develop, deploy and monetize cloud service architecture (CSA) content applications on the EC2 platform”.

More recently, Alfresco teamed with Right Scale to offer a solution that speeds deployment time and automates scaling of Alfresco in the cloud.

As cloud computing continues to buzz in the industry and as more and more enterprises are venturing into the cloud environment, it’s no surprise that Alfresco is expanding its capabilities into that arena.

To test out Alfresco in the cloud for yourself, click here for an Alfresco Cloud trial with a full implementation of Alfresco Share running on the Amazon Cloud.