Modern businesses are faced with quite the conundrum. On one hand, they have safe, established IT systems they are familiar with, are well within their control and can be manipulated as desired. Such systems, however, are too rigid for the modern dynamic market, which is always looking to blindside a company refusing adaptation.
Cloud based SaaS systems, on the other hand, provide end users with enterprise level tools which are endlessly configurable and distributed on a pay-as-you-go model, making them very cost-effective. Such systems are ideal for testing new ideas quickly and enhancing productivity.
But, even as the cloud has made serious inroads into the modern IT landscape, managers still find its “remote” nature unsettling. Uploading highly sensitive data to someone else’s computer is undoubtedly a troubling thought, regardless of whatever agreements may have been signed.
Even so, to give cloud based applications the cold shoulder can mean forfeiting productivity gains and increasing operational costs and time to market. But what if there was a better way to get the best of both worlds?
Postmodern solutions can help you both create a secure environment and experiment with newer, faster ways of working. Here’s how.
On-Premise or Cloud? You Be the Judge
By far the biggest detractor to opting for newer ERP technologies is the perceived security risk that comes with them. Most ERP consumers believe keeping mission critical data in-house allows them to institute security protocols better suited to their particular way of working.
Data management is largely dictated by an organization’s risk tolerance levels. Depending on a company’s policy, they may prefer to keep some forms of data on-premise. That being said, SaaS has come a long way from its heyday. Some might say consumers’ perception of on-site security being superior to the cloud stems from a deeper fear of loss of control. Much like how people fear flying or distrust drivers since they are not the ones in the cockpit or behind the wheel, the belief that on-site security is better than cloud market leaders like AWS and Google Cloud can be a skewed perception.
A service provider whose entire existence depends on their service running properly will take far more steps to ensure proper security than a company that is in a different industry and has invested bare minimum in its IT infrastructure. In fact, even the public sector, long known for their paranoia regarding security have begun to move to the cloud. The Pentagon itself is engaged in discussions on migrating the Department of Defense (DoD) to the cloud under the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) Cloud contract.
SaaS – Cloudy With a Chance for Cost Savings
But all that security is pointless if the company cannot deliver high quality output to the market, something the cloud specializes in facilitating. For instance, human resources, customer relationship management, sales and marketing can all be safely moved to a public or private cloud. In doing so, companies can trim their expenses, perfect new methods of working and reduce functioning costs significantly.
It is also worth mentioning the cloud is becoming increasingly more secure with every passing year, which is reflected in increasing consumer confidence. Companies are beginning to host sensitive information in the public cloud. Lumitron Technologies, for instance, implemented a cloud ERP solution hosting sensitive proprietary information apart from regular business functions.
As we covered in our article how postmodern architecture is bringing ERPs into the 21st century, SaaS apps are regularly updated, can integrate with other applications and offer robust security making them ideal for non-critical deployments.
Postmodern ERP and Bimodal IT – A Perfect Fit
Companies will be familiar with the best-of-breed approach where each IT function has a dedicated application working in isolation. Postmodern ERP takes it further by installing a core ERP system either in the cloud or on-premise and then adds applications to the environment as the need emerges. The overall emphasis is to ensure all the disparate applications integrate and share data as required while keeping confidential information secure.
The postmodern approach is well within the definition of bimodal IT which focuses on integrating two very different working styles. Mode 1 uses safe, predictable, well understood legacy systems and best practices while mode 2 focuses on exploring newer, riskier technologies and working styles.
Bimodal IT makes good business sense. Firstly, critical business data like customer and payment information can be confined to highly secure environments with tight access rights.
Next, federated cloud applications can power innovation and/or non-core functions. As cloud apps provide a low cost alternative to expensive on-premise solutions, companies can play with and perfect new ideas without incurring significant overhead.
The hallmark of postmodern IT is its emphasis on integration. As the new approach requires all the different applications to talk to one another seamlessly, middleware becomes all the more important. The better the integration is, the more secure your IT environment becomes. In our next article, we will discuss several strategies that can be used to take your organization from legacy to the postmodern era.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to leave a comment below or let’s have a call to discuss how we can help you deliver better output while enhancing organization-wide security.