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Cloud services offers flexibility and security to AEC businesses

Synergy Cloud Services have been available and in action, including our cloud app, for around 12 months. Synergy Cloud Services users have been speeding up their businesses, improving accuracy and becoming more flexible with on-the-go access to contacts, projects, timesheets, support services and their Synergy account details via the internet and any web browsing device.

Not only that, they have improved data security and reduced infrastructure and IT costs in one very simple step.

So what is Synergy Cloud Services and how do clients benefit from using it?

Benefits of Synergy Cloud Services

Synergy cloud appThe biggest benefits of using Synergy Cloud Services are the flexibility of multi-screen access and mobility.

Despite the cliché, Total Synergy marketing manager Katie Yates said it’s virtually anywhere, anytime access.

“Work is no longer confined to your office, so you need business tools that move with you… whether you’re at home, with a client or waiting for a train,” she said.

“I love that I can now do my timesheets or look up projects and contacts using my smartphone or my home pc.

“All aspects of life should be this easy!”

Total Synergy CEO Scott Osborne said agnostic device mobility was a big attraction in a BYOD (bring your own device) business environment.

“Employees are more often than not using their own phones and tablets for work… and sometimes their own laptops,” Scott said.

“Being able to access timesheets, in particular, is a big draw-card for the app… it doesn't matter which device a team member uses, they just need a browser connected to the internet.”

Total Synergy’s eLearning specialist Melanie Bunting said clients were enjoying having access to training videos and training content in the support section of Synergy Cloud Services.

“We’re embedding videos within the support section using simple players like Vimeo,” she said.

“We’re also working with social tools such as SlideShare to share and embed presentations which simplifies the consumption of content on multiple devices.”

Synergy Cloud Services also allows clients to have access to their Synergy account details. Recent options added to Synergy Cloud Services are payment by credit card and periodic payment scheduling. Spreading costs over a year has been popular with cloud service subscribers.

Flexibility was highlighted as a key benefit by Neil Stebbing of N.G. Stebbing and Associates in a previous article — the ability to open new offices or temporary project offices wherever there was a need, and be up and running within minutes, meant his business could confidently respond and pitch for jobs in locations that weren't necessarily on the doorstep.

Of course the other key benefit of cloud services is knowing data is backed-up and secure. Badly managed data back-ups have caught many businesses out when hardware has failed or disaster has struck. There’s no better peace of mind than knowing data is backed in several locations around the world automatically.

Synergy’s physical cloud environment

As a Microsoft Gold Developer Partner we work with the latest Microsoft technologies, part of which is the Azure cloud - Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Our central cloud instance is based in Microsoft’s Singapore datacentre. The data stored there is also backed-up to other Azure cloud servers including Hong Kong, Europe and USA – we don’t actually know which ones, it’s just part of the bullet-proof back-up process applied by Microsoft.

Microsoft doesn't currently maintain an Azure datacentre in Australia. Up until now it has only based them in regional areas with populations greater than a certain number (higher than the Australian population). This is changing and there are plans, we’re told, to create a datacentre in Australia in the future.

Microsoft Windows Azure datacentreIn our Azure cloud space we maintain discreet SQL databases for each client, spread across multiple databases. These are monitored daily for capacity to ensure we’re never at risk of overload. This is also where the cloud software is hosted and run from.

In researching this article, the remarkable thing discovered is the size of most client databases - on average around 600MB. With just over 25 per cent of clients now using cloud services, the data transferred to Azure to date amounts to around 11GB. This is less than most smartphones offer at their basic levels and way less than you would find in a modern laptop. Yet when considering the scale of datacentres - massive rooms of server racks and a cacophony of fans and cooling systems - it sums up the belt and braces security for your data.

Overall, a datacentre is very much like having a room full of servers in an office - just without the hardware cost, IT management hassle, daily back-up routine and risk of local disaster...

When it's put like that, it seems like an obvious choice. Doesn't it?

Contact us to find out more about Synergy Cloud Services.