The IT Renaissance-Embracing SAAS and Cloud Products

Vikram Ahuja, CTO, Vlink Inc
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Vikram Ahuja, CTO, Vlink Inc

For the last 50 years, we have been in the age  of IT. It all started with IBM, which invented  the first processor and mother board. IBM then  helped create software like C and UNIX. Most  of the tasks, which were manual and calculation  intensive, were moved to machines. Many manual jobs were  abolished because of the software programs, which were  cost effective and provided a business edge to enterprises.

It has completed a full circle. With recent rumors that  IBM is laying off 110,000 software engineers and staff,  the game has reached its next level. Let us go back and  see what went wrong or in other words, what changed. In  1998, when Java came into mainstream, the programming  community grew at an astronomical rate. Business had  enough resources that could automate their workflows  and integrate them to other businesses and markets. We  saw the same set of software, developed by Big 5 System  integrators like Deloitte, IBM, and TCS, implemented into  IT departments of various companies over and over again.  The same set of software and functionality was repeatedly  developed because this was the revenue model for service  based companies. It was not an IP but number of consultants  deployed to finish the Job.

The cloud and SAAS based companies have now changed  the rules of this game. If we glance over the crowded  CRM space, (which used to be custom implementation or  configuration of systems from SAP, Oracle or Microsoft)  it is currently dominated by SAAS players including  Saleforce.com and MS Dynamics. This has now enabled  organizations move away from traditional IT infrastructure  and IT development and focus their talent and efforts on  solving business problems (which they are good at), rather  than IT problems.

  MS Dynamics is a great CRM tool for small to medium size companies who want to start small and use the power of cloud to manage their customer data 

MS Dynamics is a great CRM  tool for small to medium size  companies who want to start small  and use the power of cloud to manage  their customer data, goals and leads  without investing heavily into their  IT infrastructure and resources. The  feature which made me a fan of MS  Dynamics is its familiar Microsoft  office user experience. Since we have  been raised on MS office, MS Dynamics  (being true MS office applications)  provides most of us a natural comfort  in using it. One feature that I like is  its in-line analytics, which most other  CRM systems don’t currently offer.

MS Dynamics, similar to other  SAAS and cloud services, also has  a vibrant App(lication) Store with  thousands of Apps already live and  many other offerings ranging from  Geospatial to Apps tailored to specific  needs of the public sector ranging  from free to few dollars per month  subscription. This collaborative  approach of providing a platform  for small innovative companies,  unleashing the creativity and  solutions, has taken away much of the  burden from CXOs and CIOs looking  for CRM implementation. They can  now pick and choose functionality  in an agile manner without having to  invest into Custom CRM functionality  and configurations -which the Big 5  consulting has juiced over the years.  This approach from Microsoft and  Salesforce has created a level playing  field for smaller companies like  VLink, which can provide more costeffective  and agile delivery with fewer  resources than the Big Consulting  companies because they don’t have the  overhead.

Microsoft partners, like VLink,  can help their clients and provide a  turn-key solution with pre-configured  MS Dynamics. The client saves time  and IT dollars by starting to use  the CRM system within its Sales  and marketing organization within  days of engagements, which enables  the CIOs to spend their IT dollars  solving Business problems rather than  Technology problems.

In the end, Cloud and SAAS based  CRM systems like MS Dynamics,  provide more flexibility for the IT  organizations of small to medium  sized business and public sector  domains where regulations can create  multiple complexities/challenges for  custom development. Moving towards  a product based and SAAS based  approach will help the organizations  become leaner and more agile towards  future changes and also take advantage  of the innovation happening outside  their IT organization within the  Application Exchanges and Stores. IT  dollars will be saved by not reinventing  the wheel again and again.  

 

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