There are an assortments of fancy words to describe the wonders of the cloud. I have never been one to get caught up in jargon, tech speak and fancy marketing terms emanating from the workstations of Microsoft’s marketing department. My favorite term to despise is ‘digital transformation’ which, when used by Microsoft, means ’help us hit our sales numbers by selling Azure consumption’.
Recently I blogged about SmartConnect.com’s imminent release. SmartConnect.com is a mid-market SaaS data integration tool delivered via the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform. This is what is often described as an IPAAS or Integration Platform as a Service. This means that SmartConnect.com is a platform (configurable software), that you can subscribe to (pay us monthly), to build and run all the data integration your company needs, and it all happens on Microsoft’s computers.
OK let me break this down further and explain it without the jargon.
Integration Tool: SmartConnect is piece of software which helps you move data from one system to another system. SmartConnect means that people in a company can do much less typing and all your systems just talk to each other, moving data to where it needs to be.
Mid-Market: At eOne, we provide software to other businesses to use. We do not sell to consumers. We do not generally sell to mechanics, small retail outlets, hair salons and any other small company. By mid-market we are targeting companies that have an accounting department and somewhere between least 4-50 people working in that capacity. We generally sell to companies that likely employ at least a few hundred people.
SaaS: Software as a service is a fun term. SaaS is a different way of selling software and is usually associated with the cloud. What it means is that you do not actually buy any software you just pay for the right to use the software. It is like going to the barber and buying a haircut – you pay for the service provided to you but do not walk away with anything in your hand. With SaaS software you are subscribing to the software you would like to use, and you generally pay monthly until you no longer want to use the software.
Cloud: This just means someone else’s computer. You will use some software that sits on someone else’s computer. Think about Facebook as an example. You log into your account on Facebook – the same software everyone uses but you just see your stuff. You are using the service Facebook provides which is bringing everyone together to see who has the best vacations.
Microsoft Azure: This is Microsoft’s version of the Cloud. You would be using software on Microsoft’s computer. This is really where the cloud gets amazing. Microsoft have put a massive amount of effort into making it easy for companies like eOne to deliver software to you, but by putting it on their computers. It is cool.
What it means is that:
- You are always running on the latest Technology. Latest Hardware. Latest Software. And Latest Patches. This means that you never get stuck running an old version of SmartConnect that you can’t upgrade until you buy a new server, load the latest version of .net and run the SmartConnect upgrade – which makes you nervous. We handle all of that for you.
- It grows with us all. When we need more space or processing power we just ask. It appears. If you need integration in a small island in the Pacific, we tick a box and Microsoft spin up a local instance nearby.
- You are change ready: Technology is always changing, and the cloud will be readier than you can ever be with those old things stacked up in your server room. As API’s change, connectivity methods change, Big Data becomes important to you and machine learning or AI starts impacting your integrations, you are already to take advantage of all of that.
- It is Cheaper: This can be debated over time – but when you factor in all the things you get – it is much cheaper. Now you would never pay for all those things you get if you stayed on premise. All the backups. All the tech support. The top-level expertise. So, it is a bit like a luxury all-inclusive resort. Initial costs look high but when you factor in all the good things you get you would never go back to a Super 8.
- It is faster. Faster to deploy. Faster to run integrations. Microsoft’s computers are bigger and faster than yours.
- Keeps you Cloudy. It makes much more sense to connect two cloud apps together by using a Cloud Integration tool. You can achieve the same integration with an on-premise SmartConnect – but you miss the joy of points 1-5 above.
- Frees up your IT crew. With the infrastructure taken care of your clever tech guys will build more integrations and make your business even more seamless.
- Security for your data. Microsoft employ way more security experts than you can. They are good.
These are just a few of the reasons we are really excited to release SmartConnect.com. It is going to be great for all our customers and in a self-serving way, great for us. It really is Integration made Easy (er).