We know the drill – you’ve found an App in the cloud that you are convinced will solve your business problems and more. You present it to your IT guys and they’re frowning. “An App? In the cloud? Doesn’t sound very scalable. I doubt it’s enterprise grade.”
Now, there can be many different interpretations of what ‘enterprise grade’ actually means, but the point is business apps in the cloud can be dismissed very quickly due to either poor past experiences or just perception (“Apps are for phones”).
So, how do you get over this conundrum and prove to the ‘doubters’ that your chosen ‘business app’ is up to the grade? Below are 3 ways to help you convince your IT gurus (and also provide you with comfort along the way!):
1. Proven ‘Scalable’ Architecture
They’ve got to be able to demonstrate that their ‘business app’ can deal with a high volume of users – multiple sites/locations even better. Reference points are really important here, e.g. one of our customers has 15,000 users running our app across 5 locations.
Of course, it needs to be relevant to the customer/target (so maybe you only need to demonstrate 1,000 users) but the key here is proof points. In the absence of this / sometimes in addition, they need to show independent ‘stress test’ reports to verify their App can withstand the load – all very important.
One last point on this scalable architecture: there is a consideration for multiple environments and the movement/deployment of configurations between them. These days, in the world of cloud, it’s maybe just a staging site and a live site but the fact that you’ve considered this is important – enterprise organizations expect it.
2. Centralized App Management Features
The danger with these ‘Apps’ is that they can’t be controlled. In an Enterprise corporate environment this can’t be entertained. Too much damage has been done by the End User Computing phenomenon in the 90’s – everyone was building local ‘databases’ with no control and IT had no visibility – millions of dollars of order renewals sitting in a local database than no-one can support (or find!!) 3 years later.
So central control, backup, security and management is really important. IT have too much on their hands to ‘micro-manage’ the apps but they need to be aware of all moving parts. These Apps should have central ‘consoles’ where the apps can be easily understood, secured and monitored.
This one never goes away but in the world of ‘cloud’ and ‘hybrid’ deployments (i.e. sitting both in the cloud and inside your organization), this has become more important as you are potentially exposing your business data to the outside world. So, you are looking for security validation around primarily where the data resides.
Next, you then need to ensure that the application has all the right security elements in place – secure encryption for example (like when you access you bank accounts online). Your IT guys will normally dig deeper on this but having some prep work done on this with your ‘business app’ provider will really help.
All organizations vary in their procurement processes but, from a business perspective, this puts you in a very credible position with the IT Gurus to have that starting conversation. They’ll secretly appreciate the effort!