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Moving to the Cloud: Lock-In

 

Green_GaugeThis post is the fifth in a series addressing concerns organizations may have that prevent them from moving the cloud-based solutions.

When looking at cloud solutions, most organizations spend a great deal of time, appropriately so, investigating how they will move data and processes into the cloud.  At the same time, organizations should understand how they will get data out of the cloud should they decide to switch solutions in the future.

While this seems like a new issue or concern, the reality remains that organizations switch systems and data migration and integration issues exist — cloud or not.  The same analysis and decision making process that organizations follow for in-house systems should be followed for cloud solutions.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions provide environments that, in general, enable data and application movement.  Moving to a Windows Server image in the cloud is not much different from moving to an in-house Windows server.  Key considerations focus on the amount of data and the time/efficiency of moving the data on or off the cloud server.

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions can prove more challenging.  Migrating to or from a cloud-based application provides the same challenges as migrating data to a new in-house application.  Record matching, data scrubbing, and data translation are all issues to be considered.  In addition to the strength of the import utilities, understand the strength and cost of the export utilities.  Some SaaS applications only provide comprehensive export capabilities at their most expensive licensing options.

Fear of “Lock-In” should not prevent organizations from moving into cloud solutions.  Rather, a small amount of due diligence will ensure that the “how” and “how much” of a future migration is understood.

Next Post in the Series:  Integration with Legacy Systems

Previous Post in the Series:  Privacy

Horizon Info Services Named Exclusive North American Distributor for OffiSync

WESTBOROUGH, MA – November 12, 2009 – Building on its growth as a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, Horizon Info Services (www.horizoninfoservices.com) announced its selection as the exclusive North American distributor for OffiSync (www.OffiSync.com).  OffiSync is an add-on for Microsoft Office lets users save, share, and collaborate using Google Apps from menus and toolbars within Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  OffiSync also includes content and image search features.

“The launch of OffiSync is another turning point in the evolution of Google Apps as a business computing platform,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Horizon.  “OffiSync lets businesses and individuals continue to use their current desktop productivity tools and Google’s innovative cloud-based applications — either as a migration path or as part of a long-term strategy.”

Users are more comfortable changing email software since many already use more than one email program – at work and personally.  Many users are not as comfortable changing word processing and spreadsheet applications.  OffiSync solves this problem.

In a recent interview with eWeek, Matt Glotzbach, Google Enterprise Product Management Director noted that “…it’s a great set of functionality and helps a business or enterprise bridge that experience gap between users that want to work in native Office apps and those users who want to work in the cloud.”

Horizon is actively signing up resellers throughout North America.  In addition to the community of Google Apps Authorized Resellers, Horizon sees strong interest from consulting companies and IT firms that help companies deploy and use Google Apps.  It is a win-win solution.  Customers benefit from easier migrations and better integration; resellers gain from accelerated sales and an incremental recurring revenue stream.

OffiSync is designed to work seamlessly with all versions of Google Apps used by companies, educational institutions, non-profits, and individuals.  Oudi Antebi, Founder and CEO of OffiSync adds that “We created a solution that works with all current versions of Microsoft Office and every version of Google Apps – Premium, Standard, and Education, as well as individual Google Doc and Google Site accounts.”

OffiSync is available as an annual subscription starting at $12 per year per user or under a traditional perpetual license starting at $30 per user.  Both licenses include support; the subscription includes enhancements, upgrades, and future releases.

About Horizon Info Services

Horizon Info Services is offers industry-leading technology services to small businesses at affordable prices, specializing in solutions for businesses and non-profits with 1 to 500 employees.  Based outside of Boston Massachusetts, Horizon is an Authorized Reseller of Google Apps and Google Postini Services and offers a range of online backup solutions.

About OffiSync Corp

OffiSync enhances the way information workers use productivity applications by bringing together their familiar desktop environment with innovative cloud computing services.  OffiSync extends the way users use desktop software and allows them to store their files on Google Apps for better collaboration and accessibility, as well as integrates with web and image search that make it easy to bring content from the web right into document and presentations.  OffiSync is an independent, privately held company headquartered in Seattle, Washington.