Store Lifecycle Management (SLM) and IWMS expert and Lucernex President, Joe Valeri (see Joe’s management summary here), discusses the benefits of Cloud Computing to IWMS users.
In prior Blogs I discussed the differences between the different types of Web-based software delivery; namely ASP (application service provider), SaaS (software as a service) and cloud computing and I discussed the pros and cons of each. In this blog I will focus specifically on the primary benefits of cloud computing for Store Lifecycle Management – SLM (Retail IWMS) users, performance, ease of implementation, price and payment flexibility.
Performance is the easy one so I will cover it first. Without getting too deep into my inner Geek, simply put a properly designed Cloud environment will be faster and stay faster. It is faster since the hardware used is optimized for performance by a Cloud Computing Center that has been designed for speed and scalability. A good cloud computing based SLM will run in a massive, pre-established, ultra-modern hardware environment that has no single points of failure (meaning it has redundancies on everything), is load balanced to ensure use is optimally managed across all servers and is infinitely and quickly scalable. Scalability is what makes a cloud SLM STAY fast. Tolerances are established (usually CPU and RAM utilization and database space use) and if any tolerances is surpassed, the architecture is quickly expanded to meet the new use level. If properly designed this scalability is, within all reason, infinite.
Implementation of an SLM cloud based solution will be faster and cheaper. From the moment a contract is completed, setup can be days away. There is no new equipment to provision, no new load testing to do, no long lead times for hardware and software licenses. Setup is really just a matter of entering data into the existing environment, client desired configuration and training.
SLM / IWMS Pricing
Price and value actually stem from the design of the environment. A software vendor pays some monthly fee to use part of a cloud computing center, then they pay additional fees based on client use. This fee, in some cloud centers, may be based on bandwidth used or in most cloud centers is a simple cost per minute of use. The vendor pays for what their clients use making it easy for an SLM vendor to price the application much lower than even a SaaS vendor. A SaaS vendor either builds out their own, expensive, data center and then pays several Network engineers to maintain it or they outsource to a hosting facility, where they typically have to still buy their own equipment and do most of the maintenance (meaning IT staff). When they want to scale they have to buy more hardware install it and maintain that. Worse, if hardware makes a technological leap a SaaS SLM / IWMS vendor has to hold off for at least 3 to 5 years, until the equipment is depreciated, before they can upgrade. Cloud vendors get their equipment upgraded when the cloud center upgrades which is a constant occurrence.
In addition to a lower price for an SLM cloud solution, vendors can also offer payment flexibility. Since the vendor pays based on use, which is spread over the year, the vendor can charge clients based on use over the year.
Enterprise SLM for any size company
Another benefit of the cloud model is the ability to provide even the smallest retailer with the most or all of the functionality a large retailer might get. Cloud SLM vendors, since their cost is based on usage, can charge a firm with a real estate portfolio of 5 or 10 locations a small flat fee per location or lease, making it extremely affordable for them, yet the vendor still can make a profit since the size of the portfolio is generally a direct relationship to use.
Cloud computing is just being integrated into real estate software vendors way of doing business. Those vendors who still require their system to be installed behind a client firewall will not be able to compete on price with a well-designed cloud solution. Using a cloud computing based SLM / Retail IWMS will provide a real estate portfolio owner with the fastest possible performance, near infinite scalability and the lowest possible pricing.
Lx Retail is the first SLM or IWMS solution delivered in the Cloud. We redesigned our entire IT architecture to optimize use of the cloud model and can now offer per location and per contract pricing allowing even the smallest tenants to use an Enterprise SLM at a price they can easily afford.
Previous SLM / IWMS related Blogs
What is IWMS anyway?
IWMS? It’s Location! Location! Location!
The Power of Location Management
IWMS – Why so expensive?
IWMS in the “Cloud”
How Capital Project Management fits in an IWMS
What makes one IWMS easier to implement than another?