Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Financial Management in the Cloud: Is It Right for Your Business?

A guest post by Terrance Wampler, Vice President, Financials Product Strategy, Oracle

In a previous post, we explored the pros and cons of SaaS as compared to the traditional software delivery model. Now, here are some proof points to help you make the decision about moving to the cloud. Start by asking your IT department what they’ve done with cloud services. What worked, and, more importantly, what didn't work? If there was a problem, was it about service levels? Cost negotiation? Or was the provider not good? What they learned can help the success of future projects.

The second thing to consider is your governance model around acquisitions. Will you have to change your policies and your governance of IT procurement if you move to the cloud? Do you have to bring in other players besides IT, maybe a line of business, or is the governance model actually in the acquisition? Is there already a service provider you can leverage?

Here’s a piece that customers don't always think about: Do you have a company asset that you might be able to monetize with cloud services? Not only are you looking at how you acquire cloud services, but you might see cloud services as an opportunity to monetize some intellectual property that you have. You can work with the cloud services provider to make that available and give yourself a better negotiation edge and partnership.

Who will be measuring and monitoring your service level agreements? Do you need a revised process? Different technology? Will another organization do it? How will the results be communicated? How do you audit the process? A cloud service supplier needs to do more than say his service level is great ─ he needs to prove it to you.

Interestingly, the one question that most people tend to save to the end is: Does the product functionally do what I need it to do? Does it actually have good feature sets? It sounds obvious, but we see people missing that one.

When it comes to Fusion Applications, everyone knows that it can be deployed on premise, on demand, and in the cloud — whatever way you want it. The SaaS solution also can be part of a co-existence scenario. You can keep your on premise software, and then over time, move select components to a SaaS model.

As a cloud service provider, Oracle is very well known in the industry. We've been doing this for many years. We have large data centers running our services. We are very good about meeting our service level agreements and have excellent service renewal contracts for our SaaS business. Plus, the financial component of Fusion is a fully functional solution with all the capabilities you would expect it to have and competes well against the biggest ERPs.

At the end of the day, I believe that your evaluation of total cost of ownership is primarily an internal one. We’ve taken the need for comparing different products out of the mix. So think Fusion Applications when you have a strong business case for moving to the cloud.

Related Article: Five Ideas: Finance - What CFOs need to know about cloud and other technology solutions

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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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