An introduction to Big Data – the basics, the benefits and the security.

‘Big Data’ is a concept so prominent that it has implications for everyone, from your Grandma to your CEO.

With the data centres of today occupying an area of land equal in size to almost 6,000 football fields, the world of technology is thriving. Advancements in cloud technology along with the easy access to the Internet has made the accessing, analyzing and storing of data simpler than catching a bus. So it only makes sense for all of us to have a working understanding of the concept.

A basic definition:

Big data s

‘Big Data’ is everything everyone in the world does that leaves a digital trace (or data trace) that can be used and analysed. Collecting data isn’t a modern advancement, we as humans have been collecting and sorting data as far back as 18,000 BCE. However, since then a few changes to the way collect it have been made. The speed and ease that we now gather the data at makes all the difference in the quantity we collect…and it’s this data that is shaping our world.

With the majority of the world now owning a mobile phone, laptop or tablet, we’re living more in the digital realm every day; from listening to music, taking pictures, talking on the phone and countless other activities. Using these technologies leaves a trail of data which is open to being analysed and accessed at the touch of a button.

One other significant change is the kind of data we analyse. It used to fit neatly into tables and spreadsheets, things like sales figures and wholesale prices. Now data analysts can look at ‘’unstructured’’ data such as photos, tweets, emails and voice recordings. So not only has the speed of accessing data improved the format is now wider as well. This you may find both interesting… and maybe a little scary.

The benefits of ‘Big Data’

The link between ‘Big Data’ and businesses show very real and truly remarkable benefits, helping companies to better understand and target customers. Using data, retailers can predict what products will sell, telecom companies can predict if and when a customer might switch carriers, and car insurance companies understand how well their customers actually drive.

Big data is also optimising business processes. Retailers are able to improve their stock levels based on what’s trending on social media, what people are searching for on the web or even weather forecasts. Supply chains can also be optimized so that delivery drivers use less gas and reach customers faster.

Security

With the benefits this brings it demands high levels of security to protect it. As naturally, with the big benefits it provides, losing this data can result in big losses and it’s our job to protect it.

So what’s the solution? Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) with Veeam Cloud Connect keeps your data protected, recoverable and accessible no matter what. When paired together with virtualDCS, there is no defence so efficient.

 

To speak to someone about protecting your data or for a free Veeam Cloud connect trial, get in touch on 03453 888 327 or fill in the form below.


Are you a SaaS hero? It’s all about the customer service.

With the right team, Software as a Service (SaaS) is a simple and effective distribution model, but you still need excellent customer service to help you stand out from the crowd.

By 2020, Gartner estimates that the cloud computing industry will be worth $390B and SaaS will be leading this growth with an 18% compound annual growth rate. To keep up with competition and trends, hosting has become a necessity, but it’s still increasingly hard to establish a unique selling point for many.

SaaS application hosting

SaaS companies typically concentrate on making their application relevant and ensuring the app has enough features to keep customer’s happy. Although this is part of the solution, many forget that customer service is vital and can make all the difference.

As an example, accountancy software is one specific vertical that’s growing from strength to strength and customer service is especially important in this area. If a customer has a choice between a brilliant system that only offers email support or an equally brilliant system where you can pick up the phone and speak to someone, then they’re going to pick the latter.

The cloud, application and customer service are now all equally important and happy customers lead to recurring revenue.

Simple steps to happy customers

Your website makes a massive impact on a person’s opinion of your business. Having a good navigational structure, no 404s and content that’s easy to understand can make all the difference in avoiding click rage. You should also have an easy to sign up process, with a comprehensive knowledge base full of common FAQs for your software.

Speaking from experience, one of the most frustrating things is when you need to contact someone and they don’t pick up the phone! Speaking directly as a customer, you need to offer a range of contact options, including live chat, email, telephone and social media. The faster you respond to customers, the happier they will be. Customers also want an excellent service, knowing that there’s someone they can get in touch with quickly to manage and resolve their problems, so account managers are usually a good option to implement.

As I mentioned above, in addition to excellent customer service and feature filled application, you need to offer a highly available cloud deployment method. Partnering with a reliable hosting provider can mitigate a lot of the issues of hosting the software internally, while also providing additional benefits to both you and your customers.

Some of which include:

  • Lower cost of entry
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Trading customer CapEx for OpEx
  • Faster implementations
  • No internal setup costs

If you’re interested in changing providers or exploring cloud software hosting in general, we’re more than happy to help. We offer a free 30-day proof of concept for developers that includes free evaluation servers, technical and business advice with pay as you grow hosting.

If you’d like more information or just to speak to a member of the team, feel free to contact us using the form below or call us on 03453 888 327

 

Top challenges for software developers

As a SaaS hero, we’re sure you’ve encountered and defeated your fair share of challenges when it comes to developing and hosting your application online.

Over the last few years online software hosting has grown from strength to strength and is now undoubtedly the fastest growing element under the cloud computing umbrella. This staggering growth is due to both a change in customer demands and the efficiency of new technology.

The benefits

SaaS superheroSome of the more popular benefits from Software as a Service driving the change include; lower cost of entry for both end users and developers, pay as you grow hosting, lower cost of ownership and higher end user adoption rates.

Although SaaS is one of the fastest growing technologies, there are still a few common issues that software developers face when exploring deployment, but in the end, the benefits far outweigh the complications.

I’ve compiled this blog together to hopefully help and prepare you to make your transition to the cloud as smooth as possible.

Choosing the right partner

For the majority of businesses, partnering with a cloud hosting provider is a no brainer in terms of the cost and service benefits received, but with seemingly hundreds of providers shouting ‘pick me’, ‘pick me’, how do you narrow down your search for one that suits you?

Information is power and research is its sidekick, the only true way of knowing if a cloud provider is a natural fit for your business is to investigate them. It sounds simple but it’s actually surprising how many companies simply go for the cheapest provider, but unfortunately the well-known saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is also true with the cloud.

What reputation does the provider have? Have you looked at their terms and conditions? Are they UK based or international? What are their support levels? Are they available 2/4×7? How do they protect your data?

All these questions are just the tip of the iceberg and a reputable provider will be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your business requirements.

Customer expectations

Customers, service providers and employers can often be a victim of crossed wires in regards to expectations. It’s important that all parties know what their role is in the transition and how it will be managed. If your existing customers are migrating over to the cloud, they need to be fully briefed on any changes that will be made and what it means for them in both the short term and the long term. This is something that personally, as a service provider, we help with, but you may have to explore this with other vendors.

Handing over the reigns

So you’re all ready to migrate, everything is planned and scheduled but you have to release control of the hosting to your new provider. Even if you’ve selected the best provider in the world to host your software, there is always going to be a bit of reluctance to the change! Taking a leap of faith will pay off in the end, as SaaS is only anticipated to grow, it would be crazy not to try it and the right vendor will be able to mitigate all of your concerns.

Want to SaaS?

If you’re interested in exploring software as a service with virtualDCS, we’re more than happy to offer you a free proof of concept and for you to try the solution for free, with free business advice and no setup costs.

If you’d like any more information about software as a service or how to migrate your systems to the cloud, feel free to contact the team using the form below or call us on 03453 888 327.

 

Developers who SaaS benefit from continued growth

New research shows that SaaS application use has increased by 33% alone over the last year.

On average every company now uses 16 SaaS applications, according to BetterCloud’s 2017 workplace report. Companies also displayed a long-term commitment to SaaS technology, with nearly 75% of participants estimating that by 2020 that 80% or more of their workplace applications will be SaaS-based.

Why are businesses leaning toward SaaS technology?

saas software as a serviceSoftware as a Service is providing incredible benefits to end users, one major advantage is that customers can lower initial costs and free their capital expenses by paying on a subscription based service. End users also have access to the latest versions of software, can scale services as required and also free up IT department installation time.

Why would I SaaS my software?

For a start, it’s clear to say that SaaS solutions are showing no sign of slowing down and customers are effectively driving the market forward. Currently, the cloud shift rate through to 2020 for SaaS is three times faster than Platform as a Service technology and two times faster than Infrastructure as a Service technology. The overall trend is leading more developers to SaaS their software in an effort to keep up with both consumer demand and the competition.

From a developer view, partnering with a cloud provider to deliver software online offers a number of benefits such as a reduction in sales time, eliminating capital expenditure and lowering the overall total cost of ownership. In addition to this, few organisations can match the infrastructure and security investments that are made by SaaS vendors, so your application and customers are effectively safer.

How can I SaaS my software?

Deploying your software through the cloud has never been easier, especially with virtualDCS. We’ve put together a Software as a Service enablement package that provides a free proof of concept, pay as you grow hosting solutions, business advice and free evaluation servers.

If you’d like more information on how to deploy and sell your software online, contact the team on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

SaaS just makes sense

When technology companies create game-changing software, they’re posed with the question ‘to SaaS, or not to SaaS’?

Software as a Service (SaaS) makes it simpler for developers to sell software, send it to market and make an impression in the industry. Combined with the fact that customers are actively driving forward this method of software delivery for their own benefit, SaaS is a no brainer – it just makes sense!

What are the benefits for developers?

Although there are numerous benefits for software developers, such as increased availability, the protection of intellectual property and reduced sales times. There are, two distinct advantages acting as the main driving force – these are financial efficiency and scalability. We’ve explored these below.

Financial efficiency

SaaS businesses are more financially efficient than traditional software companies and there are a number of reasons for this. One option for developers wanting to SaaS their Software is to create and maintain their own hosting platform, however, with this choice, the developer would have to purchase the hardware outright and then employ a team to manage and maintain it.

SaaSWhen partnering with a hosting provider, SaaS eliminates this requirement as the software developer rents space and facilities from the service provider, paying for them on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Scalability

Another fantastic feature for developers utilising SaaS is the ‘pay as you go’ system. With SaaS, the developer only pays for the resources that customers use. Many providers also offer needs based scaling, so when the demand is high they’ll have more resources available and software will continue to run as efficiently as ever. It’s also the responsibility of the hosting provider to account for future growth, which means the developer doesn’t have to spend money purchasing or maintaining hardware that may not be used.

 Benefits for end users

From a commercial perspective it’s clear why developers are utilising SaaS solutions, but why are end users driving the industry forward? SaaS enables them to access a range of benefits, including:

  • Instant access to new releases and updates
  • Reduced pressure on the IT department
  • Faster implementation times
  • Reduced costs overall
  • Access anywhere solutions

You can also read more about these benefits on our SaaS hosting solutions page.

If you’re considering hosting a SaaS solution and would like to find out more, please contact the virtualDCS team and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements and offer you a free proof of concept.

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