Let’s talk about Cloud 2.0 the next generation of cloud computing. If, like me, you remember the days of Betamax – then you’ll also remember when that technology was replaced by VHS video tapes. We all thought that was the future. Then DVDs arrived. And then, of course, TV on-demand. I daresay that will be transformed into something new soon too.

My point is, we are in the digital age and the pace of change is enormous. Enterprises need to be fast, flexible and nimble to thrive. When I talk to clients, they tell me how rewarding they’ve found the move into the cloud. How they’ve been able to streamline services, and enjoy rapid access to information anytime, anywhere.

And then I ask them if they’re aware of Cloud 2.0? Cloud 2.0, they say? Because while we’re all focused on running our businesses, the technology pioneers at companies like Google and Microsoft are busy developing the next generation of cloud computing. It’s already gearing up for the market, and with the range of benefits on offer, I believe we will all be adopting it soon.

Is Cloud 2.0 for you?
The next phase of the Cloud is still in development. No one is quite sure exactly what it will look like when it’s finished.  But here are a few insights we do have into the Cloud 2.0 and what it offers to the B2B community:

Advanced data analysis
Many of the leading minds in cloud computing argue that Cloud 2.0 is all about data. That includes Diane Greene, senior vice president for Google’s cloud business.

‘It’s just a given now that you have a more cost-effective and reliable way of computing,’ Greene told the magazine ComputerWorld earlier this year.

‘The 2.0 of the cloud is the data and understanding the data,’ Greene said.

‘Now that you’re in the cloud, how do you take advantage of it so your business can operate at a whole new level?’

‘The revolution of the cloud is about the economics of scale. It’s really about data. All of a sudden everybody can share the data… We’ve turned a corner in how we think. Machine learning generates incredible value to a company. It’s the ability to get insights you weren’t getting before. The cloud is enabling people to create a lot more value.’

Better performance
As the cloud gets ever more intelligent, it will transform performance on platforms such as Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Backend-as-a-Service.

We can expect to see advances in networking, security and storage, and ever improving graphical tools for you – the customer. You will have more powerful platforms at your disposal and they will be more rewarding for your teams to use.

Plus, the cloud will deploy ‘machine learning’ to help you extract as much value as possible from the information you hold. This means algorithms that search for patterns in your data, helping you find insights and get answers to enterprise-crucial questions. And the more data there is, the better the answers get.

Where are our hidden markets? How can we sell more medical supplies? Are our contracts litigation-proof? Cloud 2.0 and machine learning has the capability to tell you all of this, without you needing any extra infrastructure on your premises, and at an affordable cost.

Enhanced networking
We all know that the cloud has already made it easy for authorised people to get access to company information any time, and on any device. Cloud 2.0 will take this further. Collaboration and sharing of information will get faster and more effective in real time, and be endlessly scalable.

 Intelligent transformation
While we’re waiting for the amazing power of Cloud 2.0 to be unleashed, you probably already know that Cloud 1.0-based services such as SaaS are integral to 21st century procurement, contract management and ERP.

Leading market analysts at Gartner and IDC point to the multi-dimensional benefits, including values such as agility, scalability, cost savings, innovation and business expansion.

Our Four Business Solutions consultants have years of experience of helping clients decide if a SaaS solution, deployed via the Cloud, is right for them. If you have questions or would like a free trial, please do give us a call, on 0800 6250 025 or email us at Four Business Solutions.

And when a local solution is the right decision, we can help. For example, our Contract Insight Contract Management software can be set up as a “Deployed (perpetual) Licence” which provides the application to be installed on your organisation’s servers, rather than in the Cloud. It means the entire application is in your environment and under your control. And we provide full installation and configuration support.

Contracts in the cloud
Contract Management is one business process that can enormously improved by using cloud-based software. Here at Four Business, we are specialists. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Manage the entire contract life-cycle, from new request to data capture, analysis and renewal.
  • Robust, scalable and easy to deploy.
  • No overheads from servers, maintenance, security and data recovery.
  • Flexible computing which responds quickly in a dynamic environment.
  • Secure data and processes isolated by a firewall, available only to selected employees.
  • No service provider required to maintain the site, reducing costs and security anxieties.
  • Rapid rollout, with minimal management levels required from IT staff.
  • A convenient, fast way to get contracts signed and managed.
  • Integral billing tools make tracking usage easy.
  • Effective accounting, invoicing, sales tracking, planning, performance monitoring and communications (including webmail and messaging).
  • Typically offers a rapid ROI.

Keeps mobile workforces connected and within easy reach of essential documents and data.
Read more about the benefits of contract management software at Four Business Solutions Contract Management

The product
We recommend Cobbelstone’s Contract Insight software solution, deployed either on a four.co.uk/saas platform or on your premises.

We always offer a pilot environment for clients before they commit. Once the decision is made, a typical deployment for an SME business is 10-15 days, including training and migration.

Contract Insight has a concurrent licensing structure for the software, which is the most economical and efficient way to invest. This is a licence based on the number of users accessing the program at the same time. It allows firms to purchase the software at a lower cost, based on the maximum number of concurrent users. This is instead of a per licence system, which asks a company to pay for a licence for every single, individual user.

In summary, we prove that our solutions work before a client invests, and then offer an efficient licensing model so they get the most from their investment. Finally, the solution is delivered quickly and efficiently, to keep total costs very low.

It’s a deployment model that we’ve found has produced outstanding results and contented clients, time and time again.

John O’Brien is the CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrator providing business processes improvements in Finance, Supply Chain & Operations, across a broad range of industries.