By Mark Harrap, VP Technology, Bolero International Ltd.
Ask a technology vendor, CIO or analyst to talk about the cloud and you can expect a lengthy dialogue. Yet, at its core, the biggest advantage of the cloud for enterprise clients lies in obtaining on-demand access to high-performance, secure and scalable infrastructure and associated services.
Cut through the hype and the hyperbole and it’s clear that the cloud is neither fluffy nor amorphous: underpinning “the cloud” are enterprise-grade data centres that are either owned by businesses or their technology providers.
Behind the scenes, this requires the same serious maintenance and security provision it always has. However, it’s also transforming the way that enterprises access and use technology, with faster speed of implementation, lower costs due to greater economies of scale and a reduced need to focus on back-end technology such as storage and server farms, freeing up time to delivery business functionality and therefore value.
Some of the biggest concerns about cloud (SaaS) software relate to security and data sovereignty – i.e. where is my data and how can I make sure it stays where I want it to be?
For legal or regulatory purposes, it may be that the data needs to stay within the US or EU borders, for example. To stand up to scrutiny, technology providers therefore need to offer cast-iron guarantees, which in many cases have afforded more modest businesses the same high-level security provision as very large enterprises with very large IT budgets.
From a global trading perspective, cloud technologies are helping enterprises and their trading counterparties do business faster and more effectively than ever before, moving the conversation from ‘should we do cloud’ to ‘where and how should we use cloud technologies?’
Indeed, the fact that it integrates easily with existing systems and accepts documents in multiple formats has led to Bolero’s SaaS-based ePresentation solution increasingly being used to process high-value trade transactions on a regular basis right across the globe, with over $7 billion processed electronically over the platform in the last 12 months alone.
Likewise, when entering new markets, enterprises need to be flexible and agile enough to deliver a high level of local performance and therefore need to get up and running with their technology fast.
Whereas in the past, a move into Asia, for example, might have been delayed by the need for substantial technology investment and a lengthy implementation period, using the cloud, businesses operating internationally can now move with far greater agility and provision a system in a matter of days or weeks, rather than months.