3 posts categorized "Cloud Computing"

09/07/2011

4 Questions to Ask the Cloud Computing Vendor of your Project Management Software

IStock_000007651615_web In my last post, I discussed 4 downsides to cloud computing.  In this post, I want to give you four questions to ask the cloud computing vendor that is hosting your project management software.  These are questions that you should have the answer to so that you are not surprised down the road.

1.  What happens when we ramp up our use of the system?

George commented on the last post about another downside of cloud computing, which is limits the vendor may place on transactions in the system.  Find out what happens if you double your use of the system, add users, greatly increase the number of documents you are storing, or otherwise increase your use of the system.  Is there a storage limit for your documents?  Are there thresholds in place that you may hit?  Are there costs involved?  It would be best to get this in writing from your vendor.

2.  How can I get my data?

What happens if you need to change vendors, you need your data to push it into another system, or you simply want some insurance in case something happens to your vendor?  Can you get your data?  In what format can you get your data?  Will they send you a backup file?  Do you have to do some sort of download?  What formats will these be in?  How will you use these formats?  Are there extra costs involved?  Be prepared and find out the answers up front.

3.  How do upgrades work?  Do we have control over when an upgrade occurs?

You probably will not have a lot of control over when an upgrade to your system occurs (unless you are a large customer).  That does not mean that you should not understand how the process works.  Ask the question.  How often do they upgrade?  How much notice will you get?  Do you have any control?  Can you have access to a sandbox prior to the upgrade?

4.  How do we change our subscription?

It is hard to predict the future.  You may grow and need to add additional users.  You may find additional uses for the system and want to bring on another department.  You may find that you no longer need the system as much as you thought and need to reduce the number of users.  Find out what the process is for making these changes, and if there are any hidden costs involved.

What other questions do you think should be asked of your cloud computing vendor?

 





09/02/2011

4 Downsides to Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is hot.  I cannot seem to look at any sort of technical website or magazine without hearing about it.  There are a lot of very good benefits to cloud computing for project management and project management software.  In fact, I am a big fan.  However, let's not forget about the flip side.  No solution is 100% perfect.  There is always an upside and a downside to everything.  I thought it prudent for us to consider the downside of cloud computing.  Here are four of them.

1.  You'll Love a Good Internet Connection.

This should be obvious, but has to be mentioned.  Cloud computing means that you only have access to your system(s) if you have a good connection to the Internet.  Is that a big deal?  In many cases no.  Good bandwidth is everywhere these days - in the office, at home, in the coffee shop.  But this is not the same as using a Word on your laptop.  If you are on an airplane without fast wifi, you go to a cabin in the mountains, or take a trip to another country, you could be out of luck.  If your power goes out, you're out of luck.  Personally, if I go to a cabin in the mountains and cannot work, that's a good thing.  But I digress...

2.  You Lose Control.

We can spin this any number of ways, but you cannot go to cloud computing without losing some measure of control.  You no longer decide when to upgrade your system.  You no longer have access to backups of your system.  Even if a vendor provides you with access, what are you really going to do with that backup file?  You also give up a lot of responsibility for security to the vendor.  You trust them to keep your information secure.  You may not even know exactly where your data is physically stored (although a good vendor will tell you).

3.  The Hodgepodge Effect.

I just made up that term.  It is easy to sign up for a cloud service for this, or a cloud service for that.  You can easily wind up with all kinds of cloud-based applications that your organization is using with no coherent strategy to use the systems together in a strategic fashion.  There is a certain innovative attractiveness to groups finding the solutions to get things done.  But it is also important to strategically use technology to accomplish organizational objectives.

4.  You Marry Your Vendor.

Your vendor becomes a partner.  You rely on them.  Once you have your data and processes in place and have used your system for a while, you are reliant on them to perform.  You rely on them to enable you to get at the data you need.  After all, you can't just have someone run a quick query to pull data from the database anymore.

What happens when the vendor updates the product?  Is it a good update?  You probably will not have the option of simply not installing the update.  Is training provided?  Do you have to pay for it?

There are many things for which you will be reliant on your vendor, more so than with an installed system.

 

As I said, there are many benefits to cloud computing, but let's not forget about the downsides or pretend they don't exist.  What downsides have you seen?

 





03/31/2011

Project Management and Cloud Computing

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This must be the week to share with you insight from other's blog posts because I have another one for you.  Cloud computing is another one of those "hot terms."  It simply refers to delivering hosted services over the Internet.  From a project management software tools perspective, cloud computing has certainly caught on as a way to scale project management software tools within an organization easily.  But how do project management and cloud computing really interact?  What are the benefits of cloud computing for project management?

Enter a blog post that I read on allPM.com by AndrĂ©s Cuevas Ortega.  Andres talks about this very subject, including the benefits of cloud computing from project management perspective.  From my perspective, cloud computing is simply another tool that can work well when integrated with proper project management discipline, as Andres also states.

Read the blog post here.  I believe we will all learn something.

 






 

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