The Straits Times, Digital Life - Enterprise Guide: Taking Flight With Mindset Changes
  Singapore, 18 May 2011

When budget airlines came to Asia in the early 2000s, they revolutionised air travel. It used to be that travel for leisure was restricted to people with higher income. Now, travel is possible for almost everyone.

Enterprise software technology has recently undergone a similar revolution with cloud computing, which has many benefits.

Due to the flexibility it offers via the pay-per-use model and the elasticity to scale on-demand, cloud solutions are especially useful for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

With the solution ready on the cloud - that is, the Web - the long and complex process of software development and implementation is minimised. However, SMEs have no direct control of the cloud system.

Control is managed through a service level contract which sets out how much computing is needed at what price and the delivery of required services at the right level.

With cloud computing, one can incrementally activate more resources as the computing load increases, including catering for sudden surges during peaks. For example, a small company that sells clothes need not worry about IT hardware and software, because it can outsource everything to a cloud vendor.

This efficiency in resource utilisation readily yields significant savings while the flexibility enables enterprises the ability to move quickly in response to changing market demands.

A mobile workforce will also benefit because they will be able to access cloud solutions over the Web from anywhere and at any time.

However, not all Web applications are readily Web service-enabled. Many are still based on proprietary, low level, programming oriented interfaces.

Here are five points to make cloud applications more interoperable with other corporate systems:

  1. Develop applications with Web services as the standard interface, so that all functions are accessible over a network or the Internet.
  2. Embrace Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) which is a set of design principles that can be used within multiple systems. Each feature based on SOA is a self-running function which can be linked together, making for a more flexible computing system.
  3. Design applications to support features that are common in database applications.
  4. Support Web application standards like Ajax and the upcoming HTML5, avoiding proprietary plug-ins. This means it can be used across all types and brands of computers.
  5. Adopt open standards in all design aspects so as to minimise dependence on proprietary operating systems and databases. This will let organisations support cloud deployments from multiple providers.
  6. Lau Shih Hor is chief executive officer of Elixir Technology, a local developer of cloud solutions
  About The Straits Times

The Straits Times is one of the region's oldest English-language daily newspapers. It is the flagship publication of the publicly-listed Singapore Press Holdings group. First published on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times is the most widely read newspaper in Singapore. The Sunday Times, which is produced by the same team of journalists, has a circulation of nearly 400,000 and a readership of 1.23 million. The Straits Times strives to be an authoritative provider of news and views, with special focus on Singapore and the Asian region. It has nine bureaus in Asia and a worldwide network of other contributors.


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