Most businesses are very familiar with the high cost of getting and providing data through a Web Server. You pay dues to your developers, every time.
"Web services? Well shure!" Only, you're paying developers to create, then update, that Web Service. The reason for this is that the Web Service is a piece of code. It's coded. So it requires a software developer provide support. For the life of the code.
Now, yes, you can get some low level of support from a cloud service. That works. You're paying a subscription, and you give up certain rights to your data. Yep, this is all very familiar to someone who's been automating commercial operations for decades.
As a small company, you can certainly buy offtheshelf application services, soup-to-nuts, comprehensive (or so they say) services for what every business is doing. You need financial compliance, legal compliance, and so on. The sum of all this software reads like a laundry list of government laws ... because that's what it is.
As your company grows, though ... what does your business need? How is your business special? How does it handle your product or services specially, to make you competitive? If your business has a real need to be especially good at handling your product, or customer data, or service, then your business could stand automation.
I've done quite a few of these things. I've done automated loan payment monitoring systems, where you need to know when loan repayments fall out of certain guidelines critical to your business. I've done automated scheduling systems, where you're scheduling time with lots of specialties in one bloc, so your customer gets once convenient appointment and everyone's there at appropriate time slots within. These are the kinds of things no standard software will attempt -- because they're not easy, and not generic enough for everyone to use.
But once you need to do this kind of stuff -- your data may well be trapped in someone else's cloud service.
It's why you need application services at the Web level, sure. But you really need application services that actually provide services everyone realizes, ultimately, that they need.
Access control. Data services. Integration services. And of course, sophisticated, mid-level building blocks of applications. Anyone can tell you they have these capabilities. But then, you're trusting someone who won't be there. Or trusting a brand name. Neither is reality.
With about an hour's preparation t's actually possible to get a small handle on what you need under the hood, to see if a product fills the need.
And I should be able to get to that with my next post.