The Top 4 Advantages of Developing Software in the Cloud

Cloud-based development gives you greater agility, improved security, visibility for better oversight, and lower costs.

Building cloud-based solutions offers many advantages, not only for developers but also for ISVs and end-users. It gives software providers the flexibility to deliver a variety of front-end solutions for clients. If an ISV is delivering a fully native Windows solution with an on-site server, it’s very challenging to reverse course should merchants suddenly start asking for iOS and Android apps.

It is much easier for cloud-based ISVs to be multi-platform and respond to client demands as the market ebbs and flows. Lighter, thin-client type applications may be easily adapted for different devices and form factors, and the ISV can react quickly to new technology trends, so they’re never behind the curve.

Developing software in the cloud is affordable, flexible, and has several advantages over more traditional options. Here are four reasons ISVs should consider the cloud for their software development needs:

1Lower Cost

Cloud-based solutions are easier to bring to market. They’re more affordable than locally hosted solutions that require the purchase of licenses, tech support, and specialized hardware and enclosures. Cloud solutions store data on a remote server off-site, and the merchant can use the hardware of their choosing, which is typically less expensive to purchase and maintain. End-users can make cloud-based solutions even more affordable by using hardware they already own, consumer PCs, or tablets.

With cloud-based software, it’s also more affordable to be multi-platform or change platforms.  Most of the intelligence and database management can be built once it’s in the cloud. After all the pieces are uploaded, it’s simply a matter of developing thin-client applications for the store on the desired platforms.  This is even easier for ISVs with the wider acceptance of web-based solutions, as well as the broad availability of cross-platform development tools like React Native, Cordova, Xamarin, and others.

2Improved Security and Backup

Cloud solutions transfer the responsibility of security and backup from the merchant and reseller to the ISV. The merchant’s database is moved from local hosting to an off-site server, so if there’s a natural disaster, fire, or power outage, it’s easier to get the system up and running again. Sensitive data isn’t stored on the server, as most card payments are encrypted from end to end. ISVs that assume the responsibility to protect and backup data are backed by the enormous and widely-accessible server security and backup industries.

3Agility and Scalability Advantages

Accessing a database in the cloud means ISVs have the flexibility to develop across various platforms on the front end as needed. It’s also easier to scale as the ISV grows or begins to service larger merchants. All the major cloud service providers, like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, provide tools to simply expand the service when necessary.

Cloud ISVs are far more responsive to their clients’ needs, which gives them an edge in the market. Cloud development means easier integration with third-party solutions via cloud APIs, which allow ISVs to add or change features quickly and scale faster. These ISVs can react to new requests quickly and add third-party solutions such as loyalty, analytics, and kitchen management more affordably than non-cloud providers, so they can serve their clients more effectively in a shorter amount of time.

4Operations and Code Quality Oversight

The nature of cloud solutions gives the ISV access to monitor operations and provide services for all their clients.  For example, a cloud-based ISV can immediately notify a store location manager or IT department if a location is having a problem with their service or hardware.  It is also easier for an ISV to roll out fixes and updates to their client base, especially in the case of web-based solutions.

Over the course of the last ten years, there’s been a lot of excitement about the development of mobile and tablet technology, but the real revolution has been the rise of cloud-based solutions. While the first successful tablet packages may have been fully native in-store technology, they became more functional and widely implemented after the market embraced the cloud. The POS industry can turn on a dime, and cloud-based development is the key to responding quickly to end-user demands for new features, device integrations, and affordable solutions.

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Jon Levin
Jon Levin is the Product Integration Manager for Star Micronics and is passionate about the future of the retail and dining experiences. He thrives in putting software solutions together with hardware to enable that future. At Star Micronics, Jon supports all of the software partners that are driving the future of point of sale.