Haven’t Moved Your CPM to the Cloud Yet? Here’s What You’re Missing

If you haven’t heard about cloud computing yet, you’ve probably been living under a very large, very heavy rock. By July 2015, many organizations are embracing the cloud-based future of computing, although financial managers have in some cases been slower to jump on the trend. But increasingly the cloud computing message is finding resonance with the finance community, and it’s not anymore because of cloud’s ongoing reputation for affordability. Flexibility and empowerment have begun to move opinion, softer granted – yet in many ways more powerful themes.

Here are several reasons why cloud-based systems are not only as safe and reliable as on-premise ones, but in many ways superior to their predecessors.

Faster Deployment

Taking back-end IT issues out of the mix is a huge time saver. “How many processors do you need? What’s your server configuration? What are the network implications?” can give way to real discussions about the best way to capture, deploy and report information. Once you have bought your license for a Cloud application you typically have access to all the functionality of the application, and can get on with things straight away.

Increased Flexibility

With technology no longer at the forefront of the process, users are placed in charge. Like with our beloved personal productivity tools we can do things for ourselves. And if models are easier to develop that means things can be tried out and prototypes created quickly. Everyone makes a better contribution towards the design when they can really visualize how things will work.

Configuration of cloud-based models is typically done by trained users rather than programmers, and because of this the development process can be much more agile. Cloud models can evolve as your requirements do and stay truly custom. It’s about risk: less of it.

Enhanced Security

Cloud Computing SecurityMany financial managers have concerns about moving all of their sensitive financial information to a web-based system that they have no in-house control over. Consider the fact, however, that the level of encryption used for cloud-based financial applications (128-bit SSL) is a higher level of encryption that what’s available through most on-premise models that operate via a local area network (LAN).

Additionally, those who have concerns about security and vulnerability should keep in mind the fact that most cloud-based service providers will have a team of security experts who are committed full-time to keeping their application secure. Most in-house IT departments, on the other hand, will have a myriad of concerns to deal with each day, security being only one of them. The legitimacy and profitability of cloud-based service providers depends on their ability to keep information secure, so you can bet that security and privacy is at the top of their list of concerns every day.

Reliability

Next to security on the list of concerns for cloud-based service providers is reliability; if they can’t ensure at least a 99.5% level of service reliability, they will likely lose a great deal of business. In fact, most providers guarantee a reliability level of at least 99.5%, which is a good deal more reliable than what can be expected with many in-house systems. Again, IT departments are often stretched thin, so it can be a major advantage to “outsource” this part of your CPM system. After all, who better to maintain an application than the company that originally designed it? In addition, all of the ongoing maintenance of the application will be taken care of by the provider as well. This can help free up time and resources for both your IT department and your whole organization.

Better Integration

Not only are cloud-based applications safer and more reliable than most on-premise models, they’re also simpler to use and offer a more streamlined approach to data collection. As anyone who has used a service like Google Docs knows, having a single master version of a document provides many advantages over having a number of disparate copies. With a cloud-based system, you’ll no longer encounter problems with conflicting or outdated data. In addition, you can access all of your data from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. This is a big advantage for people who work remotely or spend a lot of time traveling.

Financial Savings

The final reason for switching to a cloud-based CPM is the ability to significantly lower your technology expenses. Not only are the start-up costs for switching to a cloud-based system significantly lower (cloud-based CPM services are based on a subscription cost rather than a one-time start-up fee), cloud-based systems also provide you with the ability to significantly lower your operating costs over time.

Lower Cost, Greater EfficientyHow?

First of all, you’ll no longer have to deal with costly upgrades; once you’ve made the switch to the cloud, your cloud service provider will take care of all the upgrades for you. Additionally, by running a single infrastructure that is shared between thousands of clients, the provider can achieve much lower costs than an IT department running the same infrastructure for only one organization. These savings are passed on to the client, which means that, by making the jump to the cloud, you’ll not only be able to reap the rewards such as higher security and better integration, you’ll also be able to re-allocate many of the resources you initially had devoted to maintaining your in-house CPM towards things like improving your business processes and creating innovation through technology.