“The cloud” refers to a computer server or a group of servers which sits offsite and is accessed remotely to perform tasks. The word “cloud” is a metaphor, describing a distributed group of servers which work together in the same way that droplets of water make up a real cloud. Cloud programmes are usually browser-based – Scott says internet banking is a now-familiar example of cloud technology.
Popular cloud point-of-sale system Vend is The Cloud Lounge’s anchor partner. The company also has strong links with e-commerce provider Shopify, accounting software company Xero, and a number of hand-picked cloud-based apps such as Wellington-based online ordering programme Mobi2Go, which provide additional functionality to the core programs.
“I realised very early on in the programme that the cloud is very opaque,” says Scott. “People like to deal with people.”
“Our function is helping people navigate this environment, bringing the cloud down to earth.”
The Cloud Lounge offers a showroom where clients can see Vend and other programmes working on different devices, allowing them to experience cloud software for themselves. Scott says this helps demystify cloud technology for his clients, who are often more focused on running their businesses than mastering emerging technology.
“To be honest, it’s still very early days for this stuff and the biggest challenge is to educate the market,” he says. “People don’t know what they don’t know.”
Premise-based systems still dominate larger retailers as the cloud programmes available are still insufficient to handle the complexity introduced by multiple locations and long supply chains, says Scott, but a purpose-built, customised premise-based programme will not be worthwhile for most SMEs. He says that the more customised a programme is, the more difficult it is to provide support.
Cloud programmes offer a high level of specialisation, he says, and are easy to support as they are internet-based. This also means clients can access their systems from anywhere in the world.
He says The Cloud Lounge’s client base is starting to change as cloud technology enters the mainstream.
“We’ve seen the early adopters… but it’s beginning to shift now, we’re beginning to deal with conservative, older people, experienced people.”
The Cloud Lounge is currently helping Ponsonby rotisserie chicken outlet Bird on a Wire open a new store in Takapuna. It has also worked with United Sweets, and Junk & Disorderly in Northcote.