Sage Software

Sage Estimating Application Hosting By AEC Cloud

With cloud-hosted servers becoming more sensible for businesses, AEC Cloud provides Sage application hosting including Sage Estimating, Sage 100 and other construction software hosting for its customers on the Microsoft Azure stack.

AEC Cloud is one of the early adopters to work with Sage suite of applications in server-based environments. Sage Timberline Office (now Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate) was the first Sage product we started hosting for our client Dyna Service of Oklahoma, LLC . Our customers and partners began asking us to host sage applications to improve collaboration and offload local workstation and server management issues.

AEC Cloud Hosting Model

Focused on the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry, AEC Cloud hosts a wide range of business applications based on the NIST Cloud definition. This framework includes the Software, Platform, Infrastructure, and Resources (SPIR) required to manage cloud services.

The infrastructure (IaaS) including servers and networking is the fundamental bottom layer required to stand up any solution. With the help of our expertise, architecture, engineering & construction companies can work with us to build and manage a hybrid, private or public cloud environment.

The Resource (RaaS), is the human resource to manage the top three layers, software, platform, and infrastructure. These resources are focused on user support, systems maintenance, upgrades, and account management.

Microsoft Azure Technology

Azure is a game changer in the IaaS space. With high compute virtual machines, backup and disaster recovery options, we can deploy sage estimating and other applications in lesser time and configure.

Cloud Hosting Provider

AEC Cloud, a Microsoft partner, is a preferred cloud hosting provider for the AEC industry managing and hosting a range of construction software including sage estimating, sage accounting, primavera p6, on screen takeoff, viewpoint, prolog, and other designed based applications on Azure for its clients.

If you are considering to move your application management to a cloud hosted solution, we can guide you. Contact now!

AECCloud Slump Test | Broad Access & Marketing Websites

Before I start to benchmark specific applications against the full NIST Cloud Definition, let me give a feel for how this will work using the Essential Characteristic of Broad Access and the marketing websites of a range of vendors.  I picked marketing websites because they are anonymously accessible and there are no complicated debates over offline access or other intensive use cases. Visit any of the following sites (including our own) on a PC, Mac, Surface Tablet, iPad, Android or iPhone and you will see it determines the device you are on and appropriately displays the information in a digestible format.  You do not need an App, you can use any of the major operating systems or OS based browsers, and it just works.   No distracting downloads or need to think of what device you are using, you simply get work done.  That's Broad Access.

Visit these sites and you will get an array of results depending on your device.  You may have to download an app, get a plugin that may or may not work on your device, or be required to zoom and pinch around, all of which is inefficient to use and/or for them to build.

This should clearly illustrate what Broad Access means.  From here you can start to think about what the pros/cons might be if this was your daily operational software.  In the future I will use a broader spectrum of the NIST Cloud definition and also roll out a basic ranking indicator.  Stay tuned.

AEC Industry Cloud Transition Cost Management: Part 2/7, Definitions

If you missed part 1, I provided an intro and outline about this series on managing the Cost of Cloud Transition for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry.  As a reminder, whether you plan to stay with your current IT solution, go 100% cloud, or somewhere in between, this series will provide you with a modular approach that will be of value either way. To do this, Finance, Operations, and IT professionals may need to learn a bit about each others worlds.   The most common problems I see in  evaluating costs are caused by this lack of cross functional understanding and communication.  With a little time spent exploring each others perspectives; cost, quality and requirements considerations can be more clearly baselined and carried forward into an evaluation.  This series is focused on costs, so to get all stakeholders headed down the same road, here's a few definitions you will need for reference:

On the IT side, the only one you need for this is the NIST Cloud Definition [Link].  This contains a number of definitions in itself, which we will primarily use for categorization vs. talking pros and cons of Cloud.  I use it throughout this site and for daily business.  So far it has passed all the tests in helping communicate cloud transition concepts between IT and non IT professionals.

On the Accounting side, it's a good idea to have a basic understanding and if possible some practical exposure to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) [Link] and key financial statements such as Income Statement/Profit & Loss (P&L) [Link], Balance Sheet [Link], Cash Flow Statement [Link].  I am also throwing in Chart of Accounts [Link] because if nothing else, this will be helpful to make the tie between Operations and Finance disciplines.  Beyond typical accounting, a few acronyms you may here thrown around like magic are Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) [Link] and Operating Expense (OPEX) [Link].

Traditional do it your self advocates will usually lean toward CAPEX.  Proponents of hiring vendors or Cloud providers will usually lean toward OPEX.  From a cost perspective, neither opinion is a magic bullet.  You have to find the bottom line cost to the company to make a good decision.   If your interested in a thorough run down of the CAPEX/OPEX debate related to cloud computing, here's a great article from CIO Magazine [Link] back in 2009.  Don't let the date fool you, not much has changed.

On the Cost Modeling side, Amortization [Link] is a key concept.  Most people know this term from taking out a loan to buy a house or car.  It's important to understand this concept as it applies to business and converting CAPEX to OPEX or Lump Sum to Periodic Payments on an annual, monthly or smaller incremental period.  I like to refer to these as Annualized, Monthilized, etc...  ultimately you will end up with a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) or Cost of Solution [Link] over a period of time.  The difference between the options will be your Return on Investment (ROI) [Link].

On the Evaluation side, once we have worked out our cost model we can create any number of units for comparison and parity check across the options.  Some of my favorites that focus on the Software Application Layer are Average Cost Per User (ACPU), Average Cost Per License (ACPL), Average Cost Per Application (ACPA), Average Cost Per Application - Desktop (ACPA-D), Average Cost Per Application - Web (ACPA-W).  These averages that tend to be useful in comparison to multi-application solutions like an existing server farm.

I also like using Cost Per Application (CPA), Cost Per Application User (CPAU), Cost Per Application License (CPAL), Cost Per Project (CPP), Cost Per Project Application (CPPA), Cost Per Project User (CPPU), Cost Per Project License (CPPL).  These tend to be more useful in comparison to single application solutions like a SaaS offering.  Feel free to make up your own, as these are not listed in any wikipedia article but you will need some basis for comparison.

While the above points may seem void of AEC Industry specifics, once we get into the other parts of the series I will start to fill in the examples using Construction specific Software Applications from Autodesk, eBuilder, Oracle Primavera, ProCore, Sage, Trimble Buildings, Viewpoint and more.  I will also use some of the more general Software, Platform, and Infrastructure layer products from Citrix, EMC, Microsoft, nVidia, Okta, RSSBus, Salesforce, The Cram Group (My Company), VMWare and more.

That's it for definitions, stay tuned for AEC Industry Cloud Transition Cost Management: Part 3/7, Baselining Traditional IT Costs.


Wesley Smith CEO