Two weeks ago, in Part I of this post, we covered some Cloud Computing 101 and started to discuss how switching to the cloud increases business agility and cost efficiency, thus creating positive ROI. We also busted some popular myths about data security and availability in the Cloud. Now, let's dive a bit deeper into the benefits, specifically for corporate IP/Legal departments.
Benefits of the Cloud
Generally, the only logical reason to move forward with one technology over another is because the pros outweigh the cons, and you’re realistically confident the implementation will generate a positive ROI. Plenty of cloud deployments have delivered just this in recent years as the switch to SaaS has created overall process efficiencies by enabling businesses to embrace a “better, faster and cheaper” reality.
You don’t have to search far to find a calculator or methodology to model the numbers generated by this reality. Whether you need a simple or complex model to convince the decision makers, the benefits of the cloud have been increasingly apparent in years. Here are some of the benefits that should convince even the most sceptical CFO, CIO or CEO:
Total Cost of Ownership
Even using a back-of-the-envelope method, the Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) calculation will fall in the cloud’s favor vs. on-premise. Avoiding hardware and software license costs and overhead related to internal IT administration alone will usually aggregate into clear TOC benefits over traditional software implementations, even before you start quantifying the efficiencies that will lead to doing more with less internally as well as reduce your bills with outside counsel.
Anytime, anywhere access to real-time information is one of the productivity boosts that the cloud delivers. As long as you can connect to the Internet, you should be able to realize important productivity savings. You can be anywhere, the information can be anywhere, and those with whom you need to share the information can be anywhere. You don’t need to worry about network access or VPN configuration. Log on, log in and start working.
This is especially valuable as the world’s workforce becomes more mobile and less centralized. Tens of millions telecommute whole or in part every week. Millions of organizations use contractors. Telecommuting and external contracting are two areas that are much more viable and effective due to cloud options.
Process improvement can be a huge benefit, one large enough to alone justify the selection and implementation of a cloud-based system. With an increasingly globalized workforce, facilitating effective communication and collaboration across a large organization with multiple sites around the globe is much easier than in the pre-cloud world.
Companies migrating to the cloud typically experience a much shorter time-to-value. This means that they begin to see and quantify material returns and benefits very quickly once they go live.
What Happens to an IP Organization that Leverages the Cloud?
While the Cloud isn’t the cure-all for everything ailing a company, it certainly delivers myriad benefits as outlined above. There is a growing body of evidence, a.k.a. real-world examples, of how legal departments in large and small organizations are doing more with less after opting for the Cloud and selecting a SaaS offering to manage their IP-related information and activities.
Here are a few examples of what companies using IPfolio have been able to do:
1. Improving Strategic Visibility
At a high level, the Cloud has enabled companies to connect IP assets (such as patents, brands, trademarks, and copyrights) to products, geographies, markets, and revenue streams. Having visibility into the entire IP portfolio enables strategic decision-making to keep the IP portfolio aligned with the development of your company's products and markets.
2. Data that You Can Trust, at Your Fingertips
Say adieu to spreadsheets with dozens of tabs and worksheets. Start enjoying data integrity that will allow you to efficiently produce reports for management, administer your inventor awards program, and keep track of prosecution milestones and costs, as well as all related documents.
This is particularly important in fast-moving industries, where employees involved in the decision about filing a patent are not unlikely to move on to their next gig before the patent even issues. When deciding about a renewal, many years after the patent was filed, it can be invaluable to have proper documentation at hand about all the factors involved in earlier decisions.
3. Managing Access for External Parties
A SaaS tool like IPfolio makes collaboration with external patent attorneys and fellow employees in distant locales as simple as providing and managing access to the information they need. Everyone gets the right level of access to online IP records, which are immediately updated with changes viewable by everyone. You can instantly enable or disable permissions for specific groups of users. You have control. They have access.
4. Tracking Ideas From Invention to Outcome
With a cloud-based Inventor Portal and Review Board, it is easy to track and monitor the evolution of an IP asset from the invention stage through to the issued patent, as well as the commercial product(s) the patent protects, and keep the inventors engaged all along the process.
Are You Ready for Your Test Drive?
The Cloud has arrived. Legal departments shouldn’t let their finance, sales, marketing, HR and operations peers reap all the benefits. The same data access, accountability, pain point relief, and efficiency gains that make it so much easier to focus on what matters most are well within reach of the legal org chart.
We have to ask, of course. If you’d like to see what the Cloud and IPfolio could do for your IP portfolio, why not take it for a spin.
Your test drive keys await. Contact us to pick them up.