While the financial planning and analysis and business intelligence market has shifted from mature on-premise offerings to cloud solutions, there is much more to the decision process than how sales are trending. As companies continually reevaluate their processes, opportunities are generated for all vendors in the market, leaving more questions than answers. Here are some top considerations and hurtles when migrating from an on-premise to a cloud-based solution.
Barriers to entry
Extent of skill sets required and higher software and installation costs can all be factors when considering a new FP&A or BI solution. This can be especially important for small- to medium-sized businesses that don’t have a large staff to support a new system or the time to learn the ins and outs. Even as cloud-based solutions have improved and product adoption, innovation and execution have progressed, it should be a relatively smooth conversion process for all those involved.
Maintenance and support
New solutions built or architected as cloud services are typically easier to use and maintain than the previous generation of on-premises offerings. Unlike on-premise solutions, a technician doesn’t need to be on-site to perform any routine software upgrades or pressing malfunctions. Saving your data to the cloud, therefore, not only saves time, but also money without having to support the physical space necessary for a server.
Cloud services tend to use a single line of code to deploy a new functionality, controlling the pace and frequency of upgrades. Developing and testing can then occur without the involvement of on-site staff. The time-saving is mutually beneficial as the technology can deliver elasticity for mulitple customers and resources. Although the source code can’t be modified by the customer, computing resources used to support the cloud service are scalable in near real time rather than based on dedicated hardware.
The options for an FP&A or BI solution aren’t simply on-premise or cloud. Step two of the decision process includes evaluating cloud-only vendors with solutions wholly or largely architected from the outset as cloud services that offer primarily a multitenant application architecture, traditional on-premise vendors with new built-for-the-cloud solutions that may reuse functional code and platforms from the on-premise offering, and traditional on-premise vendors that have made their solutions available as a cloud service typically using third-party platforms.
Cloud services are typically licensed on a subscription basis that includes a standard set of commitments on behalf of the vendor. Because the technology infrastructure is managed in either the vendor’s or a third-party data center, the vendor implements upgrades itself as part of its cloud service, in addition to making it easier to switch providers when current solutions underperform or fail to meet their requirements.
On-premise solutions can leave customers frustrated with ongoing support costs, limited analytical capabilities, specialized skills required to operate, lack of flexibility, and overall poor performance. Therefore, they are often relying too much on Microsoft Excel or another complementary solution to overcome the shortcomings. Above all, a new solution shouldn’t cause more problems and frustration.