Until recently, many SMEs, particularly in German-speaking countries, viewed the public cloud as unsuitable for processes involving business-critical data. As these companies tend to be conservative, they have been reluctant to entrust their internal information to external entities.
Contrary to popular belief, then, there are several industries in which the cloud has not yet become the norm.
Many companies operating in these industries are only beginning to introduce public cloud solutions now that the benefits are becoming clear: low initial and fixed costs; pay-per-use models; no need for companies to invest in their own IT resources; automatic updates ensuring that software stays current; fast provision of resources; and an ability to respond to peaks on demand.
Standard processes in the public cloud
When a company opts for the public cloud, there is no need for it to purchase software. Instead, it rents a service, which is managed by the provider, and accesses this service via the internet. This model requires new technological solutions, as data centers cannot simply provide solutions developed for traditional on-premises use and call them “cloud” solutions.
Cloud solutions must be “cloud native.” In other words, applications must have been designed and developed specifically for use in the cloud. Furthermore, the operation and development of these solutions must be approached in innovative ways – with integrated DevOps teams and agile development, for instance.
Most companies are now pursuing hybrid scenarios. The public cloud is perfect for generic, commonplace processes. The reason is that they can be standardized and do not require a high degree of customization. However, larger companies often prefer to keep customized processes such as ERP systems on premises – in other words, to operate them within their own data centers.
Modular solutions are therefore growing in popularity, as they enable companies to supplement their ERP systems with flexible services for specialized subprocesses from the cloud. Furthermore, these solutions can be integrated easily and seamlessly via APIs. This is changing the role of IT divisions, which are focusing more on orchestrating integrated cloud landscapes than on managing IT themselves.
This is where cloud solutions such as those provided by the xSuite Cloud Platform, which automates generic, document-based processes such as document classification, document capture, and archiving, excel.
- Incoming mail. This functions as a virtual mailroom in which documents are classified. All incoming mail is sorted into categories such as Invoices, Job Applications, Complaints, and Purchase Orders, and then automatically forwarded to the appropriate receiving system.
- Document capture. This automatically reads content from documents such as invoices, which may arrive in varying formats and via different channels. The captured data can be validated in the cloud or else forwarded to the local ERP system for validation.
- Archive. A typical use case here is the archiving of SAP documents, which can be performed in the cloud via an ArchiveLink interface. However, the cloud archive can also be used for data and documents of all kinds and from all types of systems. Other advantages of the cloud archive include the fact that it can be accessed from anywhere via a wide range of end devices, and that business processes and document solutions can be added.
Sooner or later, even skeptics will be won over by such cloud solutions, which have a modular structure yet are also integrated, and which can be used in combination or individually.