While the positive response to the cloud for business has completely overwhelmed much of the fear and skepticism of a few years ago, many business owners and CFO’s remain possessive of their financial data, or they are concerned about security because of recent highly publicized breaches. This can make it tricky to pitch cloud software, even when you know it’s the best route to take for your company.
However, moving to enterprise accounting software online has become a critical step for small and mid-size companies to take. The reason it is so important is that the cloud makes enterprise level management software more affordable than it ever has been and because it is provided through a Software as a Service provider there is no need for the user to take on large internal IT operations. This enables businesses to leverage powerful accounting, reporting, planning and HR tools. These tools go beyond basic accounting functionality to improve efficiency and forecasting, reduce overhead and make life easier for key players in the organization.
But how do you sell the cloud to your CEO or CFO who is still skeptical and weary of the cloud?
A recent post at InfoWorld.com listed three factors to help pitch cloud software to your company when ROI is not enough.
1. Better security
Despite the highly visible hacks into large companies and major government agencies, the cloud actually offers better security than most in-house systems and most of the sensationalized breaches have not been cloud related.
“Although you would think that clouds are the common targets of hackers, in many respect clouds are locked up tighter with modern security. Hackers move on to easier targets,” said David Linthicum, the article’s author.
This may seem counter intuitive but consider this: A cloud provider’s business depends on its ability to deliver constant security-monitoring and the highest levels of encryptions, backup and recovery. If this weren’t the case, there would be no cloud because there would be no cloud customers.
2. No lock-in
Anytime you talk about mission critical software there is an inherent lock-in factor to the software. Switching from one accounting system to another is no small undertaking, and in this respect there is some lock-in with a cloud based financial system. However the idea that you have to be locked in with a provider when you go cloud is a myth.
When you choose an agile accounting software solution like Microsoft Dynamics GP for example through a rock solid provider, the solution and your database can be moved relatively simply from public cloud, to private hosting, to on-premises and even hybrid models. What’s more, with the cloud you are paying for the solution on subscription so you aren’t locked in to license agreements, which makes scaling the system much simpler and more cost effective.
If there are any fears about data ownership, there shouldn’t be. A cloud provider with a good reputation will offer a service level agreement that clearly states ownership policies and in most cases these policies give the user full ownership. Thinking about it logically, if a cloud provider had a reputation for holding user data hostage they wouldn’t stay in business long.
3. Better performance
There is a common misconception that because the cloud server is far away geographically and data has to transfer back and forth across the country, the system will suffer performance issues. But again this is a myth.
“Most people pushing back on cloud cite the fact that because everything is sent and retrieved over the open Internet, performance will naturally be an issue,” said Linthicum. “Although this is indeed true when dealing with chatty applications that communicate too much, their performance stinks whether they are on premises or in a public cloud.”
In fact, the financial applications in the cloud perform better in the cloud and receive regular maintenance and updates from the provider on a schedule that your IT manager or small IT department can’t keep up with.