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tower computer artThe legacy computer system at your small- to mid-sized business is old. The cloud and web-based computing are new. Will the two make nice together?  For many small businesses considering a move to cloud computing, the question is a paradox that has stymied the transition.
It's also a myth begging debunking. As contradictory as it may seem, older computers are ready-made for Twenty-first Century computing solutions.

Cloud-based computing has taken its place through the hosted delivery model for many key business applications, from accounting and payroll software via such solutions as Sage MAS 90 and SAP Business One as well as via the web-native SaaS solutions.

The Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) model was created to deliver applications regardless of the processing speed or location of the computer. For a business owner, the cloud requires no new investments in the latest desktop systems or laptops. Moreover, solutions can be customized to meet any client's specific needs, as well as the capabilities or perceived limitations of their computing systems.

All the business needs is a broadband Internet connection. Desktop computers become "dumb" terminals, like hardware deployed in many businesses. All software is served up on an as-needed basis via the Internet and Web browser. Businesses have been known to dust off even older computers to act as email servers; most Web-based mail consumes so little processing power and memory that even pre-XP OS installations generally can handle it with relative ease.

Some business applications often perform better and more reliably when delivered as a web-based solution, as opposed to the software being installed on a local computer. No hard drive space is required, and far less RAM and processing power is needed to run an application accessed as needed over the Internet.

Given that older systems might be more susceptible to component or software failure, hosted applications also ensure data is backed up, protected and secure.

Gary Feldman

A pioneer in the ASP market, Gary Feldman formed I-Business Network in 1999 as an outsourced application hosting service focusing on mid-market ERP systems. He achieved the first ASP agreement with Sage Software (State of the Art), Advanced Software Development Company and SAP Americas (for SAP Business One). Feldman also helped I-BN to innovate ERP deployment through the use of pre-configured databases with rapid deployment and subscription/fixed fee pricing.

I-BN was one of the first ASPs in this space to provide virtualized services and cloud computing to the mid-marketl. It is currently developing tools and techniques for automation of both technical and ERP provisioning for SAP Business One and Sage MAS EES to reduce total cost of ownership through application hosting.

Feldman was formerly an executive with Accenture and was a CIO for a mid-market company. He began his career as a CPA specializing in audit and accounting information systems with BDO Seidman and founded a consulting practice with a regional CPA firm.

Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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