“In the Cloud” is a big topic of conversation and a very popular search engine query too. What is it all about? Simply stated, it is a SERVICE as opposed to a PRODUCT. Could be a CRM system, an ERP system, or an EDI system (or almost anything you use). Everything goes back and forth over the Internet.
Concentrating on EDI, it could be:
- SaaS (software as a service);
- A Hosted EDI Solution (licensed version of the software resides on a secure dedicated server in the cloud. Your provider manages every aspect of your EDI process, from developing the mapping according to your trading partner’s specifications to coordinating communications with trading partner.);
- Web-based EDI (designed for smaller companies, no software to install, user friendly interface).
Let's take a look at the advantages of a Cloud EDI solution. Start with technical staff. Yes, they are located at the Cloud hosting site. But you only pay for services they provide for YOU. Next, Cloud EDI SaaS is available in different levels of service. You can start small and easily upgrade as you ramp up more trading partners and/or more transactions. This is great for a start-up business. Otherwise, you are buying software and you pay again when you upgrade. Then software always seem to need upgrades applied. Well, now that staff in the Cloud hosting site can take care of that for you. Is there a downside? Only if you don't put the Cloud hosts you are looking at under the microscope and you get a bummer for a provider.
Forbes Magazine has put together a lot of information on the growth of Cloud computing, including EDI:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud-based business application services will grow from $13.4 billion in 2011 to $32.2 billion in 2016, a five-year CAGR (Calculated Annual Growth Rate) of 19.1%.
- Public and private cloud computing will be strong catalysts of server growth through 2015.
- Market intelligence provider IDC reports that enterprise cloud application revenues reached $22.9B in 2011 and is projected reach $67.3B by 2016, attaining a CAGR of 24%.
- According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, global cloud traffic will account for nearly two-thirds of total data center traffic by 2106.