Head in the clouds?

Recently there has been a great deal of attention focused on cloud computing across many industries. The translation industry has many Language Service Providers and Software manufacturers looking at providing different solutions via cloud computing.

Cloud computing can be defined as Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand. I think the key part of the definition is the idea of on-demand sharing of resources via the internet.

We have been firm believers in this technology for almost eight years. Our first foray into cloud computing (though at that time it wasn’t called cloud computing) was by exposing parts of our Quickbooks database to customers and vendors via the web. It was a neat idea that allowed for access to accounting data in real time. Since then we have fully embraced the technology in all aspects of our operations. We use cloud-based applications for our accounting system, employee performance and review system, marketing automation system and certain aspects of our translation management system. All these aspects of our business operate in the cloud.

We are currently working on integrating our Translation Management System and our Accounting System using the Amazon S3 server structure for file storage. The system will allow us to start a project in our accounting system which will hand off the project to our Translation Management System for processing. The TMS will provide the accounting system with the data to create the client estimate. Once the project is completed, all target files are written back to the project record and the client is notified about the project completion and a project report including secure links to all project files is sent to the customer. The system will allow for faster project creation and will also provide a secure and fully automated file archival system. Clients will have on-demand access to their source and target files via their customer portal.

The strength of this system is linking two clouds together.

It will be interesting to see all the new applications that evolve into cloud computing applications over the next few years. The pace for these applications should increase with the rising popularity of devices that rely on parking resources in the clouds. The iPad and other devices that rely on these resources will push the creation of these applications very quickly.