Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Cloud Server Concept Growing
More companies in Silicon Valley are turning toward Cloud for storage of data and communicating. The concept is not new, originally started by Sun Microsystems over 15 years ago, also employed by Oracle and others, basing all data in another site. The term now also includes multiple sites accessed over the internet rather than a dedicated line with better security features, a lot more storage, and any failure of a hard drive means nothing as the data is kept in tandem on several different sites, particularly if global use.
Many local IT personnel are not in favor of this, as they believe it may cost them employment. Actually, the opposite has become the truth as it has become important for smaller companies, especially with sales or dealers.
When most people think about vital restaurant equipment, they picture stoves, ovens, fryers, and pans. But with the Internet Age moving along at hyper speed, the computer server may soon become the most valuable piece of equipment in a restaurant’s inventory.
The development of point-of-sale technology that allows restaurants to capture reams of data on their customers’ spending habits has created storage needs that no amount of pantries or walk-in freezers can address. Many foodservice companies are also looking for easier ways to streamline systems and facilitate corporate communications and data sharing.
In light of this, more restaurant operators are paying close attention to cloud technology.
By now, most computer users have heard about the cloud, and most people who depend on the Internet for work and play have a general, if somewhat mystical, idea of what it is: an ethereal, boundless place where data lives in relative safety.
In fact, the cloud is a service that allows users to store data on remote computer servers and retrieve that data almost as fast as if it resided on their server at home or office. Cloud-based services also allow users to access software without installing it on their computers.
Behind all of the technological jargon surrounding cloud technology is a paradigm shift in how people and businesses use computers.
Newly Weds Foods, a purveyor of basic ingredients like batters and breadings, is one company that is already leveraging the cloud to streamline its operations. Based in Chicago, Newly Weds Foods has more than 2,000 employees around the world and, in the past, has struggled to get its far-flung workforce on the same page. But in early 2012, the company started using IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Businesses. The cloud-based platform facilitates collaboration between Newly Weds Foods employees, allowing them to quickly share information and ideas online and host e-meetings.
“It’s basically our own private Facebook,” says Bob Brindza, a computer analyst at Newly Weds Foods.
Brindza says the platform is a big improvement over the way Newly Weds Foods employees used to share documents.
“Using e-mail was very cumbersome, particularly when we had a threshold of the size of files that we could send,” Brindza says. “There were times when we had to send multiple e-mails overseas to get someone the information they needed.”
The inefficiency of the old procedures was expensive. Using the IBM SmartCloud, Brindza says, Newly Weds Foods has cut travel and meeting costs by 10 percent, even taking into account the monthly cost per user, which is $4 at Newly Weds Foods.
“The really big cost savings is on travel, especially with gas prices going up,” Brindza says.
IBM is not the only company offering this kind of service. Newly Weds Foods was using WebEx’s collaboration solutions before it started using IBM’s SmartCloud. Free service Yammer is another private social network that facilitates coworker collaboration by way of the cloud.
Google+ and Dropbox also offer some of the same cloud-based services as IBM’s tool. Rebecca Buisan, director of the IBM SmartCloud, acknowledges that those free services are indeed competitors to IBM’s service, but says SmartCloud is better for businesses because it offers “enterprise-grade” privacy and protection.
Declining to give an exact figure, Buisan says “thousands” of businesses are already using SmartCloud. She says it’s one of IBM’s top four “plays in strategy” for the years ahead, adding that “2011 to 2015 is all cloud.”
This is the consensus across the tech industry, with the big guns, including Apple, all vying to become king of the cloud.
The cloud’s ability to also store enormous amounts of data should send restaurants scrambling to secure a provider. These services are being introduced at a time when operators are collecting data on customers at an accelerating pace.
“With advances in point-of-sale equipment and the amount of information that’s captured, you have to have a centralized repository … to consolidate, assimilate, and analyze all that information,” says Jason McEachern, vice president of technology at Wingstop.
Based in Richardson, Texas, Wingstop is in the middle of a three-year project to build its own cloud. McEachern says the 600-store chain is not worried about the security of managed cloud-services like IBM’s SmartCloud—“I haven’t seen a lot of breaches,” he says—but it is building its own cloud because of concerns about access to data.
“Software as a service is a great model because you’re locked in,” McEachern says. “Once you stop paying, you don’t have access. So that’s where I get concerned, when people say, ‘Let’s shift everything to the cloud.’
“If you do it internally, you don’t have the ongoing cost and you have a lot more control of your environment,” he says.
Jonathan Marek is senior vice president at Applied Predictive Technologies, which offers software that helps companies more accurately strategize for the future. He says that whether quick serves build their own cloud or subscribe to a third party, harnessing the technology for data collection can help them grow—so long as they don’t stray too far from their roots.
“All this big data, all of these analytics, it still doesn’t tell you how to make something that people really crave,” he says. “You still need the creativity in the kitchen to develop food that people really want to eat.”
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Back Office Companies
(a) Barrett offers proactive lease management/administration of commercial/consumer vehicles and lease/finance portfolios, covering insurance, titles, registrations, sales/property taxes, tickets, collections, repossessions, vehicle transportation and dispositions. Since 1975.
(b) Group 88 is a business partner of McCue Systems Inc, maker of LeasePak. With over 20 years supporting major firms in the leasing industry, Group 88 provides data conversions, system implementations, custom software development and outsourced system support.
(c) JDR Solutions, LLC., based in Indianapolis, Indiana provides back office lease/loan administration services and hosting of related accounting and portfolio management software.
Under a preferred partnership arrangement with International Decision Systems (IDS), JDR Solutions offers its "Managed Service" solutions utilizing the robust capabilities od Infolease and related software applications. JDR will soon offer IDS's next generation software, Profinia, in a hosted environment.
For more information about JDR Solutions, visit www.jdrsol.com or call.
(d) We also offer specialized programs for banks which want to start their own leasing operations and for vendors who want to find financing or act as lessor for their customers. We also act as a broker for end users looking for commercial equipment financing.
(e) ECS Financial Services, Inc. is one of only a few CPA firms in the United States that specializes in providing portfolio management, accounting, tax and management advisory services to the equipment leasing industry. ECS Financial provides lease management services including accounts receivable billing and collections, preparation of monthly lease income and residual schedules, book and tax depreciation tracking, as well as guidance and a variety of useful management reports to assist management in making sound financial decisions. ECS Financial offers accounting and financial statement compilation, review and audit services, as well as multiple state sales tax preparation, federal and state income tax return preparation, and personal property tax preparation and tracking. Our lease management team of accountants and tax specialists are experienced in providing quality professional service in the management of lease portfolios, and their efforts are enhanced by the state of the art, industry-specific software we utilize.
ECS Financial serves clients throughout the United States .
The name has changed, but the quality service remains the same!
(f) PFSC is the largest independent commercial lease and loan-servicing company is the U.S. and is headquartered in Portland , Oregon . PFSC provides primary/master servicing, backup/successor servicing, and consulting for lease and loan portfolios. It currently manages over $14.0 billion in assets. More information can be found at www.pfsc.com.
(g) Advanced Property Tax Compliance provides "best in class" personal property tax compliance services at cost effective fees. Our staff has over 70 years of experience working with leased assets. We do complete compliance process and can tailor our service to each Lessor's unique needs. The billing files we create interface with all lease management and accounting software. We offer our clients full disclosure, more accessibility to information, and greater on-line functionality than any other service firm in the industry. Each client has a secure FTP site where they have access to everything we do for them in the compliance of personal property taxes. Our Web Portal allows our client’s customer service departments to get up-to-the-minute tax data for buyouts, terminations, or tax bill copies and detail tax reports to support collections.
For more information about Advanced Property Tax Compliance, visit www.avptc.com or call:
Gary A. DiLillo
(i) Haws Consulting Group - "We have been in business since 1982 and provide property tax consulting and outsourcing services to a variety of different types of companies. We have a strong leasing background and have provided property tax management services to leasing companies for over 20 years." For more information please see our Brochure andCase Study.
(j) Broker Resource Solutions (BRS) offers document processing support services to the equipment lease broker community. Our clients are able to focus on their core business - selling and building their client list - while we handle all of the tedious details associated with putting together a perfect funding package.
Broker's who work with us have on-demand access to a highly experienced, qualified staff on an "as-needed" basis. Since we are happy to work either on a single transaction or under contract, our clients are freed from the high overhead associated with finding, hiring and training processing employees.
We work on our client’s behalf to coordinate with the lessee, vendor, insurance agent(s), funding source and any other parties necessary in order to develop and submit funding packages that are complete and fund quickly. Our extensive experience on the funding side of the business allows us to identify and resolve potential issues that can delay funding and result in lost deals. We invite you to explore our website at www.brsworks.com and contact us if you have any questions or would like more information on how to get started.
(k) Madison Capital was created in 1997 as a result of the merger of two companies: Harbor Equipment Leasing which began in 1983, and Fox-Valley Vehicle Leasing which began in 1974. Madison Capital has over 60 years of combined experience in commercial vehicle and equipment financing. Madison is a direct funding source for most types of equipment and commercial vehicles. In addition, Madison offers loan portfolio servicing capabilities, concentrating on firms looking to outsource their billing and collection functions. For more information on Madison Capital please visitwww.madisoncapital.com
Madison Capital’s portfolio services include any or all of the following:
We are a lease and loan outsourcing service provider specializing in backup, third party and successor servicing. Our entrepreneurial approach to business has created a culture that puts high value on finding solutions that help our customers achieve greater success. We provide an exceptional operational platform that allows our Partners to outsource their servicing needs without relinquishing control of their customer. An ideal Partner is a business that has identified a need for servicing and wants to reduce costs and operational barriers so they can concentrate on core strengths. Our experience, industry knowledge, capabilities, and “Helping You Get There” approach delivers value to our Partners and their customers.
EquipmentEngine via its Lender Solutions Practice, is a Portfolio Services company founded in early 2010 to simplify the business of managing a nationwide commercial repossession and recovery effort. Since that time, EquipmentEngine has expanded its service offering to include Payment Processing, Billing, Collection, Accounting, Tax, Creditor Offensive Litigation Management, Equipment Appraisals, Inspections, Voluntary and Involuntary Repossession, Storage, and Remarketing.
EquipmentEngine leverages Six Sigma processes, 21st century technology, and over 200 storage facilities across the country to deliver cost effective and consistent equipment management services for our clients. EquipmentEngine is headquartered in Portsmouth, NH.
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