A cloud application (or cloud app) is an application program that functions in the cloud, with some characteristics of a pure desktop app and some characteristics of a pure Web app. A desktop app resides entirely on a single device at the user's location (it doesn't necessarily have to be a desktop computer). A Web app is stored entirely on a remote server and is delivered over the Internet through a browser interface.
Like desktop apps, cloud apps can provide fast responsiveness and can work offline. Like web apps, cloud apps need not permanently reside on the local device, but they can be easily updated online. Cloud apps are therefore under the user's constant control, yet they need not always consume storage space on the user's computer or communications device.
If you have a cloud app, it can be used by anyone with a Web browser and a communications device that can connect to the Internet. While tools exist and can be modified in the cloud, the actual user interface exists on the local device. The user can cache data locally, enabling full offline mode when desired. A cloud app, unlike a Web app, can be used on board an aircraft or in any other sensitive situation where wireless devices are not allowed, because the app will function even when the Internet connection is disabled. In addition, cloud apps can provide some functionality even when no Internet connection is available for extended periods (while camping in a remote wilderness, for
. The Cloud Can Make You More Efficient
Also known as web-based application development or Software as a Service (SaaS), the cloud can help your team work together and serve your customers more efficiently in a number of ways. Here are just a few uses for custom based software package that takes advantage of cloud computing.
. Cloud computing makes your most important software accessible from any computer or mobile device.
Without disks to pass around, or desktops and hard drives to install to, cloud computing makes it possible to use your company's software packages from almost any web-ready device, whether it's a desktop unit, a laptop, or even a smart phone. This can help you lower equipment costs, and increase productivity virtually overnight, and all through the accessibility that comes with developing a custom cloud-based software system.
. Custom cloud web development makes instant software updates possible.
Keeping critical systems and applications up to date can be an enormous challenge, and one that can overwhelm your IT department, especially when you have dozens or hundreds of computer workstations involved. With SaaS, however, there's no need to install updated files on each unit – just make one change to the application in the cloud, and everyone will automatically have access to the newest version. Not only does this advantage of cloud computing make updates faster and less expensive, but it also reduces the amount of downtime your business experiences from out-of-service hardware.
. It gives you the ability to track projects in real time.
It's not uncommon, when several employees are working on the same project, to see hundreds (or more) of e-mails being traded back-and-forth, largely owing to the fact that no one knows exactly where the project stands, and delegation and collaboration are difficult. With cloud-based applications, however, changes to common documents are instantaneous, and progress towards goals and milestones can be tracked and measured immediately.
. Cloud computing brings different geographic locations together.
All of these problems, and especially the ones that have to do with sharing information on common projects, are magnified when you have more than one office, plant, or production facility. Through SaaS implementation, you can effectively put an end to miscommunication and the lag time that comes with lengthy e-mails being traded back-and-forth. In other words, cloud computing is a great way to put all of your teams and locations on same page.
. With cloud computing better accounting, customer service, and sales information are close at hand.
Cloud computing is most valuable to the parts of your company that rely on current and up-to-date information the most – particularly sales, customer service, and accounting.