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Is That Software in the Cloud? Or is it ‘Cloud in Name Only’?

Is That Software in the Cloud? Or is it ‘Cloud in Name Only’?

If you’re paying attention to any of the primaries, many media sources and party leaders will state that a candidate was a “[x] in name only” in an attempt call the candidate a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who will destroy the party by convoluting the message.

The term “in name only,” relating to politics, is ultimately a slippery slope argument unimportant to the course of the election cycle.

However, for organizations looking to invest in technology, there is an “in name only” you need to be vigilant of—one that will result in longer implementation times, higher total cost of ownership, and painful upgrades.

We are here to warn you of software that is “Cloud/SaaS in Name Only.”

What is “Cloud in Name Only (CINO)”?

Simply put, the idea of 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.

A Forrester report, “Beware the SaaS Trap” highlighted the dangers of cloud in name only products in 2014:

“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.”

Beware ‘Cloudwashing’

Especially in the ERP and EPM world, the idea of cloudwashing has become a strategy for opportunistic vendors: Don’t show the server to the customer, and call it cloud. Forrester notes this cloudwashing misleads clients into buying SaaS solutions that are not “real” SaaS, who later find that:

  1. The solution fails to deliver the business agility they hoped they would get (both initial time to “go live” as well as ongoing business agility);
  2. The solution is not truly consumption-based and often requires heavy upfront payment;
  3. The solution cannot deliver the cost advantages that was hoped for (or, if it does, the vendor cannot sustain those breaks for long and will fail or cut corners elsewhere);
  4. They aren’t really able to get off of the “major” disruptive upgrade cycle typical of classic apps

The graphic below highlights the basics—the three ‘flavors’ of cloud—and what they mean to customers.

Cloud Hosted On Premises Comparison


What a True Cloud Application Gives You

The industry has recognized the advantage of true, multi-tenant cloud applications over the single-tenant and hosted models:

  • Speed – New applications can be deployed and configured within weeks.
  • Autonomy – No need for IT support. Departments can control their own destiny.
  • Innovation – Application updates are released rapidly, typically quarterly.
  • Total Costs of Ownership (TCO) – Costs are lower since configuration is easier and software updates are automated.

Vote Real Cloud for Truly Modern Finance

Achieving modern accounting, as well as budgeting, planning, and forecasting is only possible with a true cloud solution. For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to avoid falling for Cloud in Name Only applications:

  • The Definitive Guide to Modern Accounting: Highlights the 4 Keys to Modern Accounting, identify 20 accounting functions that can be automated, along with 18 categories of potential software integrations, as well as introducing you to the importance of a true cloud delivery method.
  • 2016 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting and Financial Software: This Intacct white paper “The 2016 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting and Financial Software” discusses the six key questions that need to be asked if your company is considering a cloud-based accounting solutions. Learn the factors that signify when it’s time to move on to a new accounting software solution and discover if your current accounting software is able to support your company’s growth without compromising the need for speed.
  • Introduction to EPM in the Cloud: The core tenets of EPM haven’t changed in the past 15 years, but the business environment has changed. Today’s fast-changing markets require Finance to be more agile in their EPM processes and to have the ability to deploy new applications and address new reporting and planning requirements quickly. These trends are driving the rapid adoption of cloud-based EPM solutions. Read this white paper to learn about the benefits of cloud-based EPM solutions, and what to look for when evaluating cloud-based EPM suites.

If you’re looking to the cloud, and don’t want to fall for ‘cloud in name only,’ contact Brittenford for more information.


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