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It’s Back: The True Cloud Fake Cloud Debate Rages On Again

It’s Back: The True Cloud Fake Cloud Debate Rages On Again

If you pay as much attention to the accounting software world as we do, you begin to see trends in the discussion appear and disappear. From the suite vs. best-of-breed discussion to the cloud vs. on premises debate, one of the most prominent discussions that has made the rounds throughout the years—especially in the past six months—has been the true cloud/fake cloud debate.

Once again, the argument has found its way into popularity—vendors and resellers each arguing their case as the true king of the cloud. Today, we are here to reaffirm the argument we’ve been making over the past decade and explore your path to selecting and implementing a real/true/honest cloud application.

The Resurgence of the Cloud in Name Only Argument

As discussed in our primary-themed article, Is That Software in the Cloud? Or is it ‘Cloud in Name Only’?, this has been one of the most prevalent debates held at organizations due to the continued rise of fake cloud applications—reimagined on-premises applications deployed in the cloud that provide little innovation and few benefits:

“[…] an application that is cloud in name only is such: An on-premises software option that promotes itself as a cloud application, when really it is hosted or single tenant.

The idea of a single tenant or hosted offering dressed as a cloud offering is one that has fooled companies into signing agreements that result in cloud cynicism and higher costs when the application wasn’t even a true cloud service in the first place.”


We weren’t the first to have the discussion, citing Forrester’s 2014 article Beware the SaaS Trap highlighting the dangers of “cloudwashing” when enterprises were kicking the tires on the cloud:

“There’s a disturbing trend reemerging in our client inquiries of late: rising demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and purchases of solutions that are not really SaaS. When we inform clients that the solution they’re talking about isn’t SaaS, we are increasingly hearing, “So what? As long as I don’t have to run it, it’s better.”

This is a trap that can cost you more, result in less agility, and lock you into a poor sourcing decision. These solutions (provided by ‘cloudwashing’ vendors) inevitably fail to live up to customer expectations for agility, standardization, and efficiency.”

What Makes for a Real Cloud Application?

With the continued attempts by vendors to cloudwash their on-premises applications for a few extra sales, we would once again like to discuss the realities in the cloud:


One of the most important things you get when you choose a true cloud application is multi-tenancy—an arrangement in which all clients of an application reside on the same code base or set of applications.  Rather than installing a new set of applications and a database for every client, the service has one application and one big shared database serving all the clients.

Sage Intacct delves into this in their blog:

  • Bigger, Broader, and More Dynamic: Rather than rolling out new, limited space for each client, multi-tenant services focus on making the service bigger, broader, and more dynamic to handle whatever load clients need to throw at it.
  • Everyone On Board: When a multi-tenant service updates their code, everybody gets the update. Because a multi-tenant service provides a single code base to a broad audience, it also has more interest in making that system configurable by the client, allowing the client to use self-service tools to help them grow at their own pace, not the pace of the provider’s service department.

The Same Language: True Cloud Makes Integration Easy

At Wipfli, we know a thing or two about the power of integration in the cloud, spending years atop app centers for our ExpenseConnect and InvoiceConnect connectors, among others. This all starts with allowing multiple software options to speak the same language using an Aplication Programming Interface, or API. As discussed in our article on how the “API Economy” is changing the way organizations do business, we discussed this shift. Sage Intacct adds to this:

“Integration connections, also called application programming interfaces (APIs), allow a cloud service to talk to other services. The most common and least expensive options are between cloud services with built-in APIs. For example, Sage Intacct connects with Salesforce using APIs. This allows Sage Intacct to receive sales orders from Salesforce for processing and billing, while at the same time pushing order processing and customer payment information to Salesforce for sales visibility. Pure cloud services make this kind of connection easy.”

True Cloud: Sage Intacct

At Wipfli, we’ve been working with Sage Intacct for nearly a decade, and understand the true power of true cloud. As one of the leaders in customer satisfaction and one of the most successful value added resellers in the nation, we have the size, scope and focus needed to help you on your journey to the cloud. Get to know more about our work, our integrations, and contact us for more information.


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