Looking to the Cloud – Going Beyond a Tick-Box Exercise

shutterstock_164639090Cloud computing has transformed the way businesses operate, but choosing the right solution can be tricky. Toby Conibear, European Business Development Director at Bond International Software, explains why it’s important to avoid undertaking a tick-box exercise and instead choose a recruitment solution that is right for the business.

Remember floppy disks? Or perhaps you still have some CD-ROMs’ gathering dust at the back of a cupboard. Long gone are the days when we had to purchase a physical product just to install a programme on our bulky computers. Cloud computing (or Software as a Service (SaaS)), where software is accessed over the Internet, often via a pay-as-you-go or monthly subscription model, has become the norm.Not only has it done away with the need for organisations to buy, install and manage the software, but users can gain access from anywhere, as long as they have an Internet connection.

With the cloud service provider responsible for hosting, maintaining and upgrading the software, the cost for the end-user is kept to a minimum. Make the wrong decision, however, and SaaS can quickly become an expensive mistake. Here are a few points to consider in order to make the best choice for your business.

Multi-tenant vs. single tenant

Under multi-tenant, the software is 100% shared: a single code base and a single database will serve thousands of customers. Of course security is very high so that customers will only be able to see their own data, not anyone else’s. Every organisation will use exactly the same version of the software and there is only one Service Level Agreement (SLA) for every business. Think online banking.

Now compare this with a single-tenant model, in which each organisation has its own implementation, either via SaaS Plus (On Demand Plus) where the system has its own dedicated application server but hosted and managed by the provider; or On Premise where the system is located on the organisation’s own hardware/server, or on a third party hosted server. Organisations usually have the option of customisation, managed upgrades and business specific SLAs.

There is no right or wrong, so your decision will depend upon your business needs, your budget, what industry you operate in, the security needs and in-house IT capabilities.

Financial implications of SaaS

It is essential to understand the cost implications of a mixed On-Premise and SaaS strategy. Smaller or start-up companies often prefer multi-tenant SaaS as costs are controlled and there is no need to invest in IT resources.

For larger organisations, it is a different picture. Often they will move some things into the cloud, but retain others such as Finance or HR ‘on-premise’.  Under a SaaS rental approach, they will typically take just two years to reach the equivalent on-premise investment costs. If the focus is on the long term, then financial benefits are to be had from the reduction in internal IT resource and infrastructure costs.

Service Level Agreements

Under a multi-tenant model, the SLA, which covers the definition of services, performance measurement, problem management, customer duties and more, is predefined and non-negotiable.

With a single-tenant model the provider is often able to offer a tailored SLA. If this still isn’t good enough, then perhaps an on-premise solution is the way forward – but this time without the floppy disk or CD-ROM.

Again, there is no right or wrong way and the decision will fully depend on the organisation’s needsand skills within the IT department. If their skills are limited to creating email accounts and basic desktop troubleshooting, then SaaS will be a better fit. If opting for an On Premise solution, the team must ensure that the server is capable of hosting the database and have the knowledge to backup and maintain the database as well as the server on an ongoing basis.

What has become clear however is that simply looking at and ticking off the software’s functionalities is not enough. If recruitment organisations are to get the most out of their foray into cloud computing, then paying attention to the financial and legal implications is a must.

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