This is a love letter to the Cloud. That’s right, you read that correctly. I love the Cloud and I’m not afraid to say it…

A little sappy, I know, but you get where I’m going with this; the Cloud is enabling SaaS providers like me everywhere to push software to become the best it can be, so we can meet the challenges that businesses face in 2017.

When I compare it to the position where we were with software products before the Cloud was brought into the mix, we’re now in a completely different world.

Without Cloud

The software landscape pre-Cloud didn’t seem terrible at the time, but looking back, you now realise how slow, clunky and frustrating the experience was. Let’s take product information management (PIM) systems, which I’m most familiar with. PIM is something that retailers and distributors know about all too well; having the software allows you to manage every one of your products across your organisation’s platforms and ensure that the product information is consistent across the board – including on your ecommerce websites, in print and on social media.

The old school PIM systems that aren’t cloud-based seemed fine in the past, but on reflection they often featured a ‘bodge job’ mentality – with the wrong methods having to be used to get around the difficulties of managing a variety of different data types.

The most commonly seen ‘bodge jobs’ have included: ‘Single-Table Inheritance’, ‘Separate Attribute Tables’, ‘Multi-Columned Tables’ and ‘XML in Single Column’. The problem essentially, is that by using any of these methods, you end up with a system where the database is not working as hard as it should, leading to a bottleneck effect and limited web serving capacity as a result.

Enter Cloud

The key benefits we always circle back to with cloud-based SaaS products are, of course, speed and scalability. When it comes to PIM products specifically, those hosted in the Cloud are able to store large volumes of data using a cluster of specialist databases – instead of making do with an old clunky server stuck at the back of your office.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Improved efficiencies and abilities to update itself are a selling point for the Cloud” hashtags=”Cloud, Storage”]

Another huge advantage of Cloud is the ability to maintain availability during any sort of power outage or planned period of maintenance, for instance. But moving systems over to the Cloud is about far more than improving internal processes and speed; it is a crucial step in helping businesses to remain competitive.

Improved efficiencies and abilities to update and heal itself have proved to be a huge selling point for the Cloud, as we set people up with their new PIM service. Since they don’t need to worry about creating another dead-end legacy system situation for them to ‘bodge’ in another few years’ time, there are far fewer barriers in the way of jumping on-board.

The Cloud also aligns itself perfectly to the types of companies who are using PIM. Anyone dealing with the fast-fashion market, for instance, has speed at the top of their priority list. Getting products to market and online quickly is a differentiator in a market not just fast by name, but also by nature. Offering PIM through the Cloud helps us to provide a quick and reliable piece of software that doesn’t hold up retailers or their suppliers.

Ultimately, you’re also more likely to invest in the latest software if it’s easier and cheaper to do so.  We no longer have to rely on companies being of such a size that they can afford a dedicated space for servers in their office – or the dedicated man power to manage it! This has opened up new markets to SaaS providers. By catching growing businesses at the beginning of their journey, SaaS providers can help them to scale as they grow, rather than waiting for them to secure investment for their serious, long-term data infrastructure.

So in conclusion Cloud, I love you for helping us to step it up a gear, for helping to us to reach more customers and improving our software for everyone.

 

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Martin is the CEO at Pimberly, an innovative SaaS-based Product Information Management (PIM) platform headquartered in Manchester. Martin also has extensive experience heading up and growing various technology companies such as Jigsaw24, Xpert Group, Redstone plc and BT Engage. Pimberly has been developed by Matrix Software, which has been designing and supplying PIM, Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Catalogue Management Systems for more than 20 years. Matrix is part of the Jigsaw24 Group, the UK’s leading B2B solutions provider for creative IT and the number one reseller for Apple and Adobe.