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What is cloud computing, you ask? How about what it isn't!

Schepisi Communications - Thursday, June 30, 2016

We’ve written many a blog post answering the question you’re asking Google every day: what is cloud computing?

Through our blog posts, we explain to you what the cloud is and how businesses of all sizes can move a portion or the majority of their data to a cloud-based solution.

But what about what it isn’t?

Cloud computing can be just as foggy as its namesake – a cloud – so this week we want to take a look at what the cloud isn’t. Maybe you will learn something! Enjoy.

What is cloud computing?

The cloud is NOT a place

Think of it more as an interconnected technological network. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but it seems to get the message across. Data is stored and accessed through a secure internet connection, so there’s no one specific ‘place’ that you access data from.

Of course, physical cloud servers need to be located some place in the world, but it’s not as clear as saying this server holds your Facebook info while that one holds your Gmail emails.

In fact, it might even help clarify if you think about the cloud as the capability to access files from any device, and from any location, rather than an actual place where all your files go.


The cloud is NOT the same as virtualisation

Virtualisation is the process of creating a virtual version of something. For the purpose of this blog post, that something could be an operating system or storage device.

But wait a minute! That sounds awfully similar to the cloud?

They share a similar concept so it’s not difficult to see where the lines can be blurred. But they’re not quite the same…

Virtualisation is software that manipulates physical infrastructure into virtual. Cloud computing, then, is the resulting service of this action. Think it this way: virtualisation is the process, and cloud computing is the outcome.


The cloud is NOT necessarily for all business data

It’s one thing to consider how a partial move to the cloud might change and improve the way you do business, but it is quite another to pack up and move all your business data to the cloud. Some functions of a business operate better on-site while others might lower costs and maintenance when they are securely stored in the cloud.

It all comes down to each specific business. That’s why we constantly highlight the importance of a tailored and thorough cloud computing strategy; without one, a move to the cloud can become clumsy and haphazard.


The cloud is NOT just for big businesses

Just as we touched on above, the cloud isn’t necessarily the right fit for all businesses (or all data within that business).

But that doesn’t mean small and medium-sized businesses should instantly shut down the notion of the cloud.

While it is true that big businesses and enterprises can reap huge benefits from moving to a cloud-based structure, smaller businesses can, too. It all depends on your needs, budget, and structure; not so much your business size.


The cloud is NOT a fad or trend

Nice try, sceptics, but the cloud isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Here are some stats to blow your socks off:

  • Cloud spend is going up, up, up for two-thirds of enterprises

  • Software revenue is prediction to reach $106 billion this year (that’s a 21% increase on 2015)

  • The percent of IT spending is set to increase from 2% of an enterprise’s total budget in 2013 to up to 10% in 2018

  • By 2020, cloud computing cloud cut energy usage by 38% (that’s HUGE!)

Even though it’s now been around for several years, it’s clear that the modern cloud is far from over. It will continue to develop and mature, acting as an enabler for the new, technologically advanced way to ‘do’ business (some of which mightn’t have even been invented yet!)


Cloud computing explained: book a consultation

Do you want to know how your business could integrate cloud computing? Do you need cloud computing explained in terms of YOUR business and budget?

There’s no better time to take the next step in cloud computing. Book a consultation now to find out how the cloud could help your business.

You might also like to read these related blog posts:

  • Cloud computing security: what you need to know 

  • The growth of cloud computing 

  • A cloud on the horizon: 5 things to look for in a cloud host 


  • Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne



    How does expense management control an expanding business?

    Schepisi Communications - Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    The bad news?

    As a business grows (especially a business that’s growing faster than you might’ve anticipated), spend can quickly spiral out of control. Without the proper management, your business will struggle to monitor, assess, and accurately distribute spend.

    The good news?

    There is a solution available to businesses of all sizes – and as such, businesses experiencing rapid growth. That solution is called Tangoe. Read on to learn how an expense management system can help control a growing business.

    expense management
    How many devices do you use for work?

    A single solution

    As businesses expand, management struggles to control expenses. That's where Tangoe comes in. Tangoe is your complete communications management solution that measures, assesses, and records spend at each stage of your communications lifecycle.

    Perhaps you start off as a single-location business but grow to offer offices around the country or globe. You need a robust telcom expense management system supports a growing business through each stage of the communications lifecycle.


    Actionable data and analytics

    With Tangoe, you and your business’s spend becomes visible and actionable: see who spends what and where and why they spend it, and create actionable strategies to gain control over your business’s spend.

    Promote crystal-clear visibility from the get-go and develop techniques that can be used now and as you grow in the future.

     

    Mobile device management

    We couldn’t mention telecommunication expense management without talking about mobiles, could we? Of course not!

    What was originally perceived as a bit of a risky move, BYOD has exploded amongst businesses of all sizes and all around the world. We’re not confined to a desk so why not use a device we already have to increase productivity and turn work into an “anywhere-anytime” model?

    As mobile usage grows in businesses of all sizes (74% of organisations are already or planning to allow employees to bring – and use – their own devices at work), the black and white metaphor becomes more like a dozen shades of grey.

    If a business is going to open its doors to BYOD, it needs a solution looking out for them, by identifying these three main pain points:

    • Overages
    • Data spend
    • Errors

    Global support

    If you manage or are part of an expanding business that is going global, you might be learning just how difficult it is to accurately manage spending, budgeting, and invoicing.

    With a Tangoe expense management system, you can manage spend in all your global locations and offices. It’s that straightforward.


    A paperless process

    Think tax time and maybe even five years ago you were thinking of shoe boxes filled to the brim with receipts from each and every business transaction. Say goodbye to paper receipts with a fully paperless process.

    Everything is stored in a cloud-based solution and accessible whenever you need it. (We’ve got the power of the cloud to thank for that.)

    Tangoe cloud-based software

    Simplified reporting

    Surely you know by now how draining the process of reporting can be. Not anymore, though!

    You can say goodbye to spreadsheets and hello to fully automated lifecycle expenses across every aspect of business spend.

    Global telecom expenses may include:

    • Personal assets and devices
    • Phone bills
    • Device repair or replacement
    • Billing errors
    • Data usage

    Analytics

    With near-instant analytics, you can, at a glance, detect your business’s current spending situation. Identify the pain points by comparing month-to-month spend, categorised by device, user, or department.


    What do people want from their expense manager?

    Aberdeen Group conducted a survey and found the top-value features of an expense manager included:

    • Visibility and control
    • Inventory tracking
    • Efficient invoice processing
    • The ability to reduce costs

    These four features actually form a kind of pathway, where the next is dependent on the previous. Tangoe offers visibility in order for managers or financial officers to identify cost-saving opportunities.

    Its aim is to make disputing invoices, allocating costs, and paying bills simple. By accurately and efficiently detecting errors or overspend, you can create actionable plans to help save your business telco spend in the future.


    Interested in a Tangoe expense management solution for your business?

    Here’s what you can do:

    1. Read our blog post, 10 quick tips about our expense management system

    2. Read more about Tangoe expense management from Schepisi

    3. Contact Schepisi now to learn more about Tangoe or to organise a meeting

    Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne




    Choose a Mitel business phone system to solve these communication blunders

    Schepisi Communications - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    Communication is one of those elements of human nature that always seems to challenge us.

    Whether it’s misreading a text message, playing phone tag by constantly missing calls, or wasting time trying to conduct a meeting, clear communication is a crucial part of any business. 

    The following communication blunders can be absolved with a robust business phone system than can handle even the most demanding telco needs. Today, we’re focusing on the Mitel phone system.

    Mitel business phone system blog post

    Blunder #1: you miss too many messages

    No matter what we do, there will always be a time where we step out of the office or miss a phone call when we are in a meeting – and that’s OK.

    What’s crucial, though, is that messages do not get lost in a sea of other tasks; rather they’re accessed and actioned in a timely manner.

    If messages are slipping through the cracks you need a unified communications solution.

    A Mitel business solution can iron out the bumps when it comes to accessing and addressing missed messages through tactics like mobile forwarding or voicemail to email capabilities.


    Blunder #2: your business doesn’t communiacate properly

    Forget about your leads and prospects for a moment, and think instead about your own team:

    • How many departments are there?

    • Do walls, suburbs, or oceans separate you?

    • How often are you communicating with different teams?

    • How often should you be communicating with these people?

    Communication problems can often not be solved externally until you address internal issues first.


    Blunder #3: remote workers feel disconnected

    Today’s technological capabilities allow workers more freedom when it comes to the way they work. One of our favourite phrases captures this sentiment perfectly:


    Work is a thing you do, not a place you go.


    Flexibility in the workplace can help create a more diverse, wide spanning, and happy group of employees.

    But, when poor telecommunications are put in place, remote workers can begin to feel isolated from their counterparts in the office.

    Communication between colleagues lessens; the dynamic element of constant, quality communication seems to have diminished. This results in lower productivity throughout your whole team, but most noticeably, through your remote or home workers.


    Blunder #4: an older system lacks functionality

    When you lack functionality, you’re missing out on ways to maximise business communication.

    Companies putting up with outdated phone systems mightn’t realise how their business might transform with an updated and modernised phone system.

    And it can be hard to shift a stalwart opinion.

    But an outdated phone system:

    • Can pose a security threat

    • Make a company look ‘out-of-touch’

    • Is expensive to maintain

    • Offers limited functionality

    (This blog post has more details on how an outdated business phone system is failing your business)

    Combine the hindrances above and you can’t be too surprised to learn that business communication is suffering.

     

    Blunder #5: meetings become more and more unproductive

    Ask any employee their top five pet peeves at work and no doubt the majority will name wasteful meetings in there.

    While you feel a meeting is important to conduct on a periodic basis, you’re starting to feel that they are taking up too much time and not achieving as much as you’d like.

    A streamlined communications network provides a myriad of ways in which teams, employees, and managers can get in touch. Unified communications combines the best communications methods into one system, so your employees can choose to conduct a meeting in their preferred manner.

    A business phone system can replace an in-person meeting

    Quick weekly catch up to discuss current projects?

    A Mitel business phone system can control a conference call between the marketing team.


    Want to meet with a potential lead, but they’re overseas or interstate?

    Of course business travel is not always avoidable, but a more cost-efficient (and time-saving) solution in addition to conference calls includes video conferencing.


    How do Mitel phones and Schepisi service stand out?

    Beyond creating and deploying a seamless business telecommunications system, Schepisi clients are rewarded with the bonus of what we call an extra layer of service – we know you’re busy, which is why we provide exceptional service whenever you need it.

    That means your business can enjoy hassle-free communications from a Mitel phone system combined with steadfast support from Schepisi.


    Improve communication with a Mitel business phone system, managed by Schepisi

    A well-engineered business phone system will transform an office that suffers from poor communication into an interconnected business that joins workers, leads, clients, partners, and more.

    If you’re tired of poor telecommunications holding your business back, let’s discuss a Mitel business phone system. Click here to get in touch with a Schepisi expert today.

    Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne




    Avoid these 5 VoIP mistakes when searching for a VoIP provider

    Schepisi Communications - Wednesday, June 08, 2016

    VoIP helps small and large businesses alike by reducing the cost of maintaining on-premise hardware as well as line rental.

    By moving voice communication away from the traditional mode and towards a more modernised structure, VoIP can save a business money while still offering it high-quality voice communication.

    There are, however, some common VoIP mistakes we see popping up again and again when proper research is skipped and education takes a backseat. Below, we’ve outlined some VoIP mistakes you might be making as you consider making the switch to VoIP. Is your VoIP provider offering you complete transparency and realistic solutions?

    Read on and avoid these blunders!

    VoIP providers Melbourne, Australia

    1. Failing to understand VoIP technology

    While VoIP delivers a similar outcome as a landline telephone system, its technology is comparable. Failing to understand the new technology your business might soon be implementing sets you back immediately. Confusing jargon from your VoIP provider doesn’t make the process any easier.

    Insufficient technology can reverse the effects of VoIP, where traffic becomes congested, and calls are improperly managed.

    The bottom line is, you’re not benefitting from VoIP’s full potential when you don’t fully understand VoIP technology.


    2. Not asking for help from the experts

    Seeking help when you need it is the best way to avoid common VoIP pitfalls such as security flaws or deployment issues.

    Schepisi is a VoIP provider that acts as your extra layer of service, working at all times to ensure your VoIP system is at its optimum. VoIP is not a one-size-fits-all system, so it’s imperative that you seek the right advice and the right VoIP solution for your business’s communication system.

    Understanding and choosing appropriate add-ons

    This is the part where you start to customise your VoIP program by picking all the additional features you’ll need to create a flawless communications network. VoIP add-ons include:

    • Teleconferencing

    • Voicemail

    • Call waiting

    • Call forwarding

    • SMS

    • Call screening

    • Do-not disturb

    … and so much more!


    3. Not doing your research

    Also known as ‘picking the first product you find’, poorly researched communications tools is a recipe for disaster. There’s no doubt there are so many options available, but that’s not the point.

    The point is choosing the tool that works best for your business, your employees, your structure, and your budget.

    Using a low-bandwidth internet connection

    VoIP relies on the internet to transfer data packages from handsets – so you will struggle to rely on a low-grade internet connection for both business internet usage and VoIP usage. A less-than-reputable salesperson will tell you anything to clinch the deal, but understand that with an extra service using up your internet, you’ll come to rely on larger bandwidth.


    4. Failing to prioritise security

    Security is time and time again noted as a top priority of IT professionals, so why should a VoIP system be any different?

    No matter the technology, a business (and in particular a business’s IT team) needs to understand the risk and vulnerabilities. Rather than be afraid and turn a blind eye, we must vigilantly promote ongoing safety, security, and privacy, while reducing system vulnerability.

    Through a VoIP system, heightened security is achieved by:

    • Strong authentication

    • Server firewalls

    • Antimalware

    • Keeping your system updated

    • Strong passwords to access voicemail


    5. Foregoing a disaster recovery plan

    Just as we emphasise a disaster recovery plan for cloud computing, the same principle is necessary throughout other tech facets of business.

    VoIP is a part of your communications network, so it needs to be a part of your disaster recovery plan and preparation. Otherwise, you’ll only snap into action once data has been breached or lost; the phrase “too little, too late” comes to mind now.

    In case of a disaster, how will your IT team work to get communication up and running again? Adequate preparation before a disaster takes place allows your business to get back on its feet quicker.


    Make the switch to VoIP with a qualified VoIP provider

    If you’ve been considering the switch to VoIP for your business but aren’t quite sure where to begin, start here.

    Get in touch with a VoIP provider like Schepisi and let’s find out more about your current business situation.

    Click here to fill in our contact form, or call us today on 1300 66 44 22. With offices in most Australian capital cities, we’re here to help your business make the switch to VoIP, no matter your location!

    Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne




    The growth of cloud computing

    Schepisi Communications - Thursday, June 02, 2016

    This week, we take a look back at the growth of cloud computing. We reflect briefly on its origins – as far back in the ‘60s – but take a closer look at some impressive statistics from 2000 onwards.

    We’re also sharing some statistics and facts about cloud computing in Australia, Europe, and the United States. Prepare to be impressed by the girth of the cloud!

    Growth of cloud computing

    1950s and ’60s: the origin of the concept of the cloud

    The earliest record we have of the concept of cloud computing dates all the way back to the 50s and 60s – can you believe that?

    At the time it wasn’t referred to as the cloud (this came over 30 years later), but in the 1950s we spoke about ‘time-sharing’ – believed to be the “underlying concept of cloud computing” while in 1969 JCR Licklider spoke about an “extended computer network”.

    In these days, though, these words were more concepts – we did not have technology that provided adequate bandwidth or capacity to support a cloud computing network. That wouldn’t come until the late ‘90s.


    1997: cloud computing gets its name

    It’s widely believed that the term cloud computing was first used in a scholarly setting in a lecture presented by Ramnath Chellappa in Dallas in 1997.


    1999-early 2000s: the cloud is in its infancy

    • Salesforce.com is created in a small apartment in San Francisco

    • The dot-com bubble lasted from 1997 to 2000, peaking on the 10th March 2000 before the bubble burst and stocks plummeted

    • Amazon weathered the storm and created its web-based retail services in 2002

    Cloud computing is now segmented into three general categories:

    • Software as a Service (SaaS)

    • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

    • Infrastructure as a Service (Saas)


    Cloud computing statistics: 2015 onwards

    Now, some more recent cloud computing stats that will knock your socks off!


    Australia

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its first survey of cloud computing in Australia last year. Some key takeaways included:

    • Almost one in five businesses were using paid cloud services

    • More than 40% of businesses in information and technology industries used cloud computing services to streamline business

    • It is a shame to read that the most common reason for cloud resistance was “insufficient knowledge” of cloud services.

    • Respondents noted reduction in IT costs, flexibility, and increased productivity as three key benefits, and the most popular benefit was “simplicity of deployment of cloud-based solutions”.

    Australia is one of the leading adopters of cloud computing – in fact, it’s predicted our cloud spend will reach $800 million by 2019.


    Europe

    You might be surprised to learn that Finland is the leading country for cloud computing in Europe.

    According to data cited in this article, one in every two enterprises uses some form of cloud computing.

    That means, therefore, that 50% of enterprise businesses in Finland use the cloud. This is more than three times Europe’s average of 19%.

    The main uses of cloud computing in Europe, according to the same data, include:

    • Information and communication

    • Professional and technical activities

    • Administrative and support services

    • Real estate

    • Electricity, gas, and water supply

    Security concerns are the main factor when it comes to cloud resistance.

    Finland is the leading cloud computing country in Europe
    Finland is the leading European country for cloud computing.


    United States

    • By 2013, cloud had become mainstream. More than half of US businesses were now using some form of cloud computing for IT.

    • The percentage of small businesses engaging cloud computing services is set to more than double by 2020, from 37% to almost 80%.

    • In a survey published in February this year, 90% of respondents said their enterprise companies plan to increase or maintain their cloud computing budgets.


    Now what?

    It’s astonishing to learn how old the concept of cloud computing really is. Fast-forward to this millennium, and the rapid expansion of the cloud tells us that it’s not going anywhere. Is your business ready to get its head in the clouds? 

    Click the button below to book a cloud computing consultation with the Telstra cloud experts at Schepisi.


    Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne