The Irish technology companies that have built entire business models on the cloud computing opportunity and how economies of scale mean they can go further in reaching the global audience than previous generations of software businesses.
Microsoft Windows Azure allows local software firms to go global from day one. Four Irish companies have applied the Microsoft platform in enabling their companies to create successful global companies.
Irish-based Tradefacilitate, which trades globally on cloud computing, is a web-based solution for international paper-free trade documentation. CEO Conor O’Riordan describes his success as a “perfect storm cloud” enabling cloud to empower Tradefacilitate.
New legislation put in place on 1 January 2011 means that quality trade data has to be provided in advance to EU customs in order to ensure that approval to load is secured in advance of any goods being loaded and sent either to or from the EU in cross border trade.
O’Riordan believes that Ireland is in a very unique position, as it is the only English-speaking country with the euro, and as it also has huge American investments. O’Riordan says he built Tradefacilitate under the belief he could deliver a “whole policy based around digital trade facilitation and we can actually facilitate the world”.
HR and the cloud
Technology entrepreneur John Dennehy, who established companies like Zartis and Upstart Games, built a HR app for businesses based on the Windows Azure platform. Assemblypoint.com is an online HR tool for SMEs worldwide that replaces the whole paper process. Its key product, HR Locker, enables companies to manage timesheets, annual leave and absence information online. The core aim of the product is to reduce the cost of HR administration for companies, says Dennehy. It costs about €10 per user per year, and it saves companies at least €40 per user per year, says the firm.
HRlocker.com enables SMEs in Ireland to create a legally compliant staff handbook in five minutes for €200. With HRlocker.com, employees can also log onto the site and electronically sign the handbook, with lots of reporting tools built into the application. HRlocker. com has clients in Europe, North America and Asia.
DynamicRouteMaps.com is a software service application for airlines throughout the world. The dynamic Route Map allows airlines to display their entire route network and hubs, while airports can display all destinations served by direct and connecting flights. Via the Windows Azure-based delivery tool that runs on Silverlight, users can book through the application, which transports the user into the airline’s website, bringing in a new form of revenue for airlines.
Managing director Chad Gilmer says the application is a tool that has great potential for multiple devices, such as smartphones. The application enables zooming and panning of the map, fast loading of all airline data, and bookable destinations. When travellers zoom into a particular destination city, the Dynamic Route Map can switch to Virtual Earth Aerial Satellite or Road View.
The Dynamic Route Map can also show partner car hire or hotel locations, and provide dynamic directions using the Virtual Earth API, he says. Aer Lingus currently uses the application.
NewCode.com, which was set up in 2007, develops tools for architected software migration that is delivered through the web. CEO Peter Owens says New Code delivers legacy transformation solutions and migration tools for VB6, RPG and Oracle Forms migration to .NET, Java EE and SoA. He says the firm provides rapid modernisation and code generation of applications to next-generation software standards, enabling enterprises to transform and modernise their software rather than rewriting it from scratch.
Older software applications consume up to 50pc of IT budgets in maintenance and support and further expense. NewCode not only reduces the cost of redevelopment but also cuts the expense of maintenance for older applications, says Owens. It also provides the capability to generate both the customised framework and the related business logic so clients can quickly build and deliver applications to new standards such as Web 2.0.
He says NewCode also ensures no loss of functionality or of business value in the migration process as it enables clients to identify the legacy platforms currently in use and to migrate these applications into the application generator.
NewCode has built an active developer community in excess of 5,000 developers. NewCode’s customer base includes tier-1 system integrators, Fortune 500 companies, independent software vendors and SMEs.