Experts at odds over 'the cloud'
Bay of Plenty Times - 10th May 2013
Kevin Mann believes "the cloud" is the future of computing.
- Andrew Warner
On-site business computing will be all but dead within a couple of years, leaving scores of local IT technicians wondering what to do with themselves.
That's the prediction of Tauranga cloud computing entrepreneur Kevin Mann.
Mr Mann, CEO of cloud software company Silicon Avenue, said businesses in the Bay and around the world were realising the benefits of operating their computing systems from huge centralised datacentres known collectively as "the cloud".
The benefits included Minimal monthly subscriptions rather than large capital outlays, easy access from around the world rather than on-site access only, and reduced dependence on local IT engineers, he said.
"My belief is that within two years from now, on-premise systems will be pretty much dead."
The simple economics of centralisation will force IT companies to incorporate the cloud into their operations in some shape or form, Mr Mann says.
The centralisation of data will mean local technicians would become redundant in their local markets, but if they were good enough they would be able to work for companies around the world from their base in Tauranga.
"We're seeing a change in your networking firms having to shift their business otherwise they'll be out of business, unless they're working in big datacentres, and we're seeing local IT companies having to change what they're doing otherwise they will go out of business."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Making the right connections - by Rod Drury
New Zealand Herald - 26th Feb, 2013
Smaller companies are embracing the versatility of the internet cloud, writes Rod Drury
Xero is well known to be growing rapidly, with more than 135,000 customers in its latest update, but also interesting is the amount of innovation occurring around Xero as a platform. At latest count, more than 150 software companies link over 200 exciting software applications with Xero.
Innovators in the ecosystem
Kevin Mann - Silicon Avenue
"There is a wide variety of cloud-based software available now, and developing a successful product requires that it be better than the others in its particular niche. For software development companies like us at Silicon Avenue, this means concentrating on developing the features that differentiate the product, not developing the infrastructure, or features that are also widely available elsewhere. Our Procision+ and TidyStock products are implemented on Microsoft's Azure public cloud infrastructure platform, and integrate with Xero's accounting platform, as well as other cloud storage and CRM products. We can pour the resources we save with these integrations into developing the parts of our products our customers find new and exciting. Cloud-based software products like ours also rely for their success on reaching a large, global audience. The marketing platform provided by Xero allows our products to be more easily discovered by our potential customers, through add-on listings for the platform - the time and money spent by Xero in increasing market share also increases the exposure for our products. The critical mass of these niche software products has also provided us the opportunity for integrations between the add-ons as well as with the platform, leading to product combinations working together to provide even more powerful feature sets for our customers."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Eyes in the cloud
SunLive - 01st Sep, 2012
Tauranga could soon boast its own small slice of Silicon Valley, with a draft strategy to promote the growth of the ICT sector in the Bay of Plenty due out shortly.
Information Communication Technology is the latest sector to get attention under the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s economic development strategy ‘Bay of Connections’ – following on from traditional areas of strength forestry, energy, logistics and high growth prospect aquaculture.
Details of the strategy to fast-track the ICT sector are being finalised, but council research shows the technology sector could be worth $16 billion to the region over the next 20 years.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Featured BizSpark Startup on Azure - David Murray, COO of Silicon Avenue Limited
BizSpark Online - 3rd May, 2012
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am Chief Operating Officer of Silicon Avenue Limited, an ISV cloud solution provider based in Tauranga, New Zealand.
What is your company's mission?
Give small company owners their weekends back, and enable them to manage productivity & cost efficiently.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
We develop and market a cloud-based project management & workflow solution called Procision+, that has strong integration with the Microsoft stack.
Tell us about your Azure based solution.
We believe that Procision+ is the easiest, smartest way to manage projects and keep track of jobs. We focus on workshop manufacturers and Professional Services firms (like surveyors and engineering consultants). Our customers can create and manage project plans or just sync with Microsoft Project, and allow their team to easily write their time, materials, and expenses against the project or job – anywhere, anytime, including on their mobile devices. They can keep a finger on the pulse or 'health' of their project, with up-to-the-minute progress and performance reports by project, department and more.
How is Azure implemented in your solution?
Our full application site and mobile site are hosted on Azure web roles. We use SQL Azure for our customers' data, and AppFabric for authentication through Authorized Identity Providers. Procision+ reports are generated using SQL Azure Reporting Services.
How did you get excited about Azure?
We needed a PaaS infrastructure when we decided to re-engineer our product for the cloud. We soon realized that Azure would give us the scalability we needed, and integrated very well with our existing development environment of Visual Studio, SQL Server, and .Net 4. This meant that we could get up and running quickly. We liked the approach Microsoft was taking in becoming cloud-centric. The cloud approach is the future. It is the only way to increase application availability and reduce costs.
What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
Scalability we can control, authentication through AppFabric, predictable costs per customer and the incentives of BizSpark and Azure Cloud Essentials programs.
What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?
For a small startup, access to MSDN for the latest tools has allowed us to quickly drive our engineering with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server, and facilitated integration with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics CRM and Office. The Azure services that are provided with MSDN/BizSpark have also been very helpful in development, testing, and internal use of our product.
What has been your biggest "aha" moment since founding your company?
We started with certain ideas about the types of business that could benefit from cloud-based workflow and project management software. But we now understand that almost any project-based company, of any size, can greatly improve their business efficiency by accurately recording the time, materials, and expenses, and having that information available in real time. For example, workers in metalwork shops now use tablets running Procision+ to view their jobs, record their work, and notify the manager (and customer) when the work is complete.
What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
The main thing is, DO IT! On-premise applications could be largely extinct in a few years. About eighteen months ago we thought our customers might be resistant to their data being stored off-premise and off-shore. Now we never get any questions or concerns about this, and most of our enquiries are from SMEs looking to replace their existing expensive and outdated on-premise products with cloud software, or in many cases replace their existing manual systems with a cloud solution. These companies have never considered an on-premise solution due to up-front cost and infrastructure issues. The cloud has quickly moved from a modest gamble to a no-brainer.
What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?
Managing your project data and company processes with Procision+ gives you fantastic business intelligence at a very modest cost. Now small to medium-sized businesses can manage with tools as good as or better than their larger competitors!
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Silicon Avenue sees success in Xero integration
CIO New Zealand - 16th Jan, 2012
Microsoft and Xero partnerships make procision+ a fully cloud-based solution
Tauranga-based Silicon Avenue has launched its online business intelligence software, procision+, after two years of development.
The software is backed by Microsoft, has received funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the company has also entered a partnership with Xero, which enables integration between procision+ and Xero’s online account software.
Silicon Avenue’s customers pay a monthly subscription fee that starts at $10. The software runs on a remote server and the data is stored off-premises, meaning customers do not have to invest on hardware upgrades or add servers when they sign up.
In addition to the connectivity with Xero, which the company sees as a great value add to the product, procision+ also connects to Office 365, making it a fully cloud-based solution.
The software was first launched in late September but continues to attract new clients, including overseas ones. Procision+ already has its first customer interests coming from Australia and Scotland. The Australian potential customer, a three-city Australian company providing services within the financial sector, should be formally announced in the beginning of the year.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Take the fear out of technology, slash paper work, increase productivity and take a look just where you are heading.
New Zealand Engineering News
Kevin Mann is fond of telling potential customers that once Procision+ has “infiltrated” their business, they can have their weekends back...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Tauranga technology firm partners Microsoft
Bay of Plenty Times - 8th Jun 2011
Tauranga-based technology company Silicon Avenue is working 'in the cloud' and looking ahead to international sales for its unique project management software.
During the past two years, the firm - which operates on the top floor of the Nautilus Building at Sulphur Point - has developed an online business intelligence product, called procision+, which enables companies to complete projects on time and without cost over-runs.
Instead of companies replacing their existing software, procision+ adds value.
Silicon Avenue's customers will be able to access the product on the internet and pay a monthly fee for using it, instead of receiving a disc, adding a server, upgrading computer hardware, and training new staff.
The software is run on a remote server and the data is also stored elsewhere - similar to how Google, Facebook, Twitter and others operate. It is known as cloud computing which is reducing IT costs for businesses and revolutionising the computer industry.
The procision+ product is also likely to be available as an application for Android and iPhones.
Next month, Silicon Avenue's procision+ software is being added to the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, which promotes 70 different business products.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Government Backs Silicon Avenue
New Zealand-based software developer Silicon Avenue Technology has received substantial funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (New Zealand) in recognition of its breakthrough Project Management solution, procision+.
The funding is in support of Silicon Avenue’s move to convert procision+ into a cloud-based application, making it more widely available and competitive around the world, says procision+ co-founder Kevin Mann.
“The funding is a significant vote of confidence in procision+. The New Zealand Government recognises the potential for the procision+ technology to boost the science and innovation sector’s contribution to economic growth.”
The Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) is the lead agency driving the science and innovation sector in New Zealand. MSI is also tasked with directing knowledge and technology transfer from the science and innovation sector to businesses and other research users.
Richard Bentley, MSI Acting Deputy Chief Executive Business Innovation and Investment, says MSI has invested more than $160 million in more than 840 businesses in the last financial year.
“Silicon Avenue Technology is an ambitious, export-focused company that recognises the advantages of research and development to gain a competitive edge. MSI is committed to driving innovation in the business sector through its support of companies like this,” Mr Bentley says.
Mr Mann, Chief Executive Officer at Silicon Avenue, and his fellow co-founder David Murray, Chief Operating Officer, have extensive international experience and acknowledged success. Mr Mann has top-level global IT and management experience, including more than 20 years within the finance, banking, and energy sectors in Europe, specializing in business analytics, risk management, and software development.
Dr Murray is a published and patent-holding medical physicist, software developer and technical engineer with a Doctorate Degree in Medical Physics and Computer Science. He has a solid history as a product strategist and architecture specialist in the United States, with extensive experience in successfully building a large engineering organization from scratch in a highly technical and highly regulated business sector.
Silicon Avenue Technologies was established in London in the year 1996.