Business characteristics, computing resources, and Usage
Home Comfort Limited Company is a business entity located in Texas, United States. The company primarily specializes in providing swimming pools services in homes and other residential areas. These services range from supplying and installing customized backyard swimming pools to selling all cleaning pools for swimming pools. The company has a small market space around in Texas, though it plans to expand its services in the future to cover more areas around Texas. Periodically, the company is required to attend to clients who may require services such as swimming pool repair or cleaning. Thus the company has a service team which is responsible for attending to client requests. Moreover, the company has a few salespersons who market the company’s products. In total, both the sales and the service team are made up of ten people. Each member of staff needs to invoice and quote the prices for multiple services when attending to customer requests. The quotes and the invoices are all handwritten in a document book that each member of staff is supplied with. The administration staff, mainly the sales manager, enter all the information from the invoices and the quotes. This is achieved through Stand-alone quick book software which is installed in the managing director’s computer. The software allows the company to keep track of all the transactions done within a given period of time as well as managing sales and expenses incurred in the company. In some cases, the company uses the software to generate customer bills. All the information generated through the software is thus backed up on an external hard drive that is always locked in the office’s safe to limit unauthorized access. However, each member of staff has their own computer which is located at the company’s main office.
Future business computing needs
Based on the current nature of the Home Comfort Limited Company, the company can realize more effective service delivery to its customers in the future by meeting multiple computing needs in the company. These needs range from data security to user-friendly soft wares that all members of the staff can effectively interact with. Currently, the company relies on external hard drives to store its data concerning their transactions, sales, and expenses. Such a method of data tradition has become obsolete in the modern world where technology has taken over all day to day operations. This method is perilous since data can be easily lost or manipulated if it lands on unauthorized hands. The stand-alone software used in the company can only be accessed from the central computer where it is installed. Consequently, a lot of time is wasted during data entry since only one person can enter data at a time. In the future, there is a need for the company to adopt web-based systems where each member of staff can access and use it regardless of their location. Moreover, the company must employ cloud computing services in the future for easy data access and management such as Google Cloud and cloud servers. The company also needs to adapt to client relations management (CRM) systems to ensure that they improve their working relationships with their clients. Such a system will ensure that clients can access or request for any service online without making calls to the central office as it is the case today. By employing track systems for monitoring, all the operations of the service staff will ensure that the company controls all the activities involving their employees.
Investigating the types of services provided by cloud computing and their respective costs
There are multiple types of cloud computing services that the Home Comfort Limited Company can adopt at relatively low costs as discussed below.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – This refers to a pre-installed and configured hardware or software that is provided for through a virtualized interface by a cloud service provider. Typically, the service is provided as an entirely outsourced service. By accessing this type of cloud service, Home Comfort Limited Company will have the freedom to use the service as they wish. For example, the company can use the service for hosting its data and databases. Multiple companies provide this service at different prices. For example, Microsoft Azure which costs $120 per year with multiple free services for up to 12 months such as managed disks. Amazon EC2 offers the same services for as low as $0.1 per GB of space.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) – This type of cloud computing has similar characteristics to IaaS. However, the PaaS is more advanced in functionality with a computing platform and solution stack as a service. Besides infrastructure, the services also provide graphic user-interface and operating systems as an IT service. Home Comfort Limited Company can use this service to develop management systems for its business. Microsoft Azure offers this service for $0.23 per GB of space. Rackspace Cloud Sites also offer this service for $50.00 in 30 days.
Software as a service (Saas)
This refers to full-functioning web-based applications that a business can employ for its customers such as email, Customer relationship system (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Home Comfort Limited Company can use this service to improve its customer relationship as well as its real-time data management. Citrix and Netsuite offer this service for as low as $10 per month.
The process of consulting specialist advisors to determine relevant cloud computing services
Given the nature of the business done by the Home Comfort Limited Company, cloud computing is a crucial requirement. However, settling on the right type of cloud service to use requires is a very involving task that needs thorough consulting from consulting advisers. This can be achieved through the following process.
Description: The primary reason for the Cost-Benefit analysis is to provide an analysis of potential options that the Home Comfort Limited Company can adopt for maximum benefits as well as reducing the costs involved providing services to their clients. The company can either choose to employ a full web-based management system hosted in the cloud such as Jobber and Fieldpulse or employ a company agent to carry out the business management services on their behalf. Through the Cost-Benefit analysis, the company will evaluate the best alternative between using an agent company for managing its services or employing a cloud backed-up software to manage its services.
Based on the needs of the Home Comfort Limited Company, adopting the use of the cloud backed-up software is more economical than using an agent company to manage its operations. The cloud-based software can provide all the needed services for as low as $1200 per year. An agent company may require more than this amount, and the Company will not have the freedom to be directly involved in its operations.
Defensible argument: The cloud-based software such as Jobber can be said to be more perfect than the agent company based on the following reasons:
The company will maintain full control of the business and will be directly involved in controlling the affairs of the business. Similarly, the software provides fully functioning and secure services hence maintaining data confidentiality in the company. Moreover, the system provides a real-time management system that will enable the company monitor all the operations in the business as well as providing a customer interactive platform where customers can directly request for services through the system.
The primary reason for this cost-benefit analysis is to determine if the cloud-based software is the best option for the Home comfort Limited Company at the current time. The company intends to upgrade the current computing systems in their office to web-based cloud backed software that will allow the company to keep and control all the operations of the company through the cloud. The Project is the first priority in the company’s agendas this year. Currently, the ideas have not yet materialized but are expected to be implemented in the future.
The Web-based software which is backed up in the cloud may cost the company the following amounts of money.
|Agent Company||All the operations involving the company will be performed by the agent company.||$1200 per year|
|The Cloud Web-based software||The system will allow the company to take control of all the operations of the company will be able to keep real-time information as well as providing a user-friendly platform for all the employees.||$1000 per year|
Comparative Cost-Benefit Summary
Alternative Cost (Per Year)
|Alternative Comparison||Recommendation||Additional reason for recommendation|
|$1200||The Burden of managing Business operations will be transferred to the company.||The Company will lose control over the operations of the business||Should adopt as the last option||Transferring operational control may negatively affect the business.|
|$1000||Real-time control data and close monitoring of operations||The company will have total control of the business||It is the best option to be adopted||Gaining total control over the business operations can act as a motivating factor for the business|
|Implementation of the recommendation||Not implementing the recommendation|
|Potential risks||Opportunities for implementation||Potential risks||Missed opportunities|
|Adaptation issues||The real-time data management system||Data Loss||Poor data methods of data access and storage.
|Lack of adequate orientation about the system use may result in data loss||Client Relationship systems where
a client can freely request for services online
|Poor Client relations||Creating a new and diverse market for the Company’s products.