Cloud computing 'lifts small firms' firepower'

Last updated 05:00 26/06/2012

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Centimetre by centimetre, the playing field on which big business competes with small businesses is being bulldozed flat by the steady advance of cloud computing, according to Wellington "Cyber Gold" award winner GreenButton.

The company has ironed out another kink by providing computer processing power on tap to financial services firms that want to use risk-management software sold by United States firm Numerix, which has 400 clients in 25 countries.

The partnership between the companies will see GreenButton's "green button" built into Numerix's applications. The button is a piece of connecting software that links applications with commercial services that offer processing power on tap. Users can click on the button to number-crunch problems using servers located in data centres operated by GreenButton partner and financial backer Microsoft and by Amazon.

GreenButton chief technology officer Dave Fellows said large financial services firms could afford their own computer server farms to do complex modelling on clients' portfolios, for example to determine their risk profiles. But a lack of infrastructure often constrained the work that smaller competitors could do and, therefore, the type of clients they could take on.

GreenButton turned over $1.5 million last year and Fellows expected that to rise significantly this year.

Two Numerix users based in New York were trialling its service and GreenButton last week secured a large piece of work for a studio on a job that it had picked up precisely because a rival studio had invested heavily in its own high-performance computing infrastructure, only to fall into financial difficulties when a project was delayed, Fellows said.

"All studios are very nervous about this and we are seeing momentum shifting towards the cloud," Fellows said.

Patrick Mackay, chief executive of cloud-based customer relationship management software firm Indigo Software, said applications such as its own, called Empower, online accounting product Xero and web-based government services such as those run by the Companies Office were making it viable to set up and run any business from anywhere.

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