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The Open-Source Cloud Computing Paradigm for Small and Medium- sized Enterprise A demonstration of the OpenCart e-commerce solution Dr Ali Robertson

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Presentation on theme: "The Open-Source Cloud Computing Paradigm for Small and Medium- sized Enterprise A demonstration of the OpenCart e-commerce solution Dr Ali Robertson"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Open-Source Cloud Computing Paradigm for Small and Medium- sized Enterprise A demonstration of the OpenCart e-commerce solution Dr Ali Robertson 1

2 The world is flat… 2

3 And it just become flatter… Smaller organisations typically struggle to engage with IT effectively. Many reasons, as will be discussed. Just because you are a good entrepreneur, doesn’t mean you can embrace high-end computing – right? This presentation introduces the idea that technologies that have become the mainstay of larger corporations are now available to smaller enterprises. And they are free, well, almost… 3

4 Why is our understanding of the small business technology market important? DTI (2005): Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) account for 60% of GDP and 58% of employment. 4.3 million businesses the UK exist, large and small. 99% of these are SMEs! Implies that if SMEs apply ICT more effectively, it would have a significant and positive impact on the economy. 4

5 The make-up of a typical SME entrepreneur Busy Multi-tasker Experienced in their role Good business acumen Typical age – 40 to 50 Outcome of a UK NW region survey (2006/7): See https://alirobertson.net/research-fora/https://alirobertson.net/research-fora/ Director/owners of enterprise have a LOW psychological propensity to adopt technologies generally Approximately 50% self-categorize as: Not enjoying using technology Not finding technology easy to use YET Many of the low propensity IT adopters look at technology as useful! 5

6 Comparing people who run businesses large and small… Group question: What is the difference between a large business entrepreneur and a small business entrepreneur if they BOTH dislike technology? 6 Larger businesses have financial resources smaller organisations do not have. The large business entrepreneur can afford experienced IT staff who can make electronic ‘stuff’ happen as needed. And this is why smaller enterprises tend to significantly lag larger enterprises in terms of innovation adoption. IT consultants are very expensive, often unable to work out requirements/needs of businesses successfully.

7 Open-source software paradigm Open-source (OS) software promotes the creation of software tools that are free to download and use. Community driven development. No ownership of code that creates the software. Moodle is an example of OS technology. About 85% of HEIs in UK use Moodle in some form. Alirobertson.net is built using the WordPress OS framework. OS has now moved into the business domain in many forms. E-commerce, CRM, Project Management etc. Very recently (within 3 years), OS community has driven the creation of e-commerce ‘models’ which enable fast creation of complex e-commerce sites. Relatively Simple to use. Cheap to run. Automates many of the business processes that were once paper driven. e.g. payment systems, customer intelligence systems, order/stock management, customer interaction (e.g. reviews, automated systems). 7

8 Let’s look at what this world looks like ‘live’ For this demonstration I will use a website hosting company called GoDaddy. Provides various website creation/hosting services for about £200 per year. Includes a multitude of free-to-use and install OS packages. I will now show you that it takes about 15 minutes to choose, install and test a new e-commerce website. Assumes that the business already has a web presence. Relatively easy to do? Shows that the past complexity of developing an e-commerce solution has disappeared, well almost! 8

9 So, what could possibly go wrong? On the face it, the process to set up a site has been greatly simplified. Some issues entrepreneurs must address: Version upgrades must be handled with caution. Recent move from OpenCart 1.5 to 2.0 highlights the problem The entrepreneur must learn to take care of the newly found data. Regular ‘safe’ backups – not a pen drive! Customer data must be protected. Open-source communities move and change. Need some assurance that the e-commerce site can ‘move’ into another e-commerce framework. 9


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