Until recently the only option we had to deploy a comprehensive business management system was to deploy the solution within the organization’s four walls, on premise. Lately, there is a lot of talk about deploying business management systems in the cloud.
What is the cloud?
Cloud-based solutions are deployed in a secure environment accessed through the web. Solutions in the cloud are accessible from anywhere, highly secure, and always up-to-date, think Apple’s iTunes. For professional service organizations, cloud deployment of a business management solution allows the solution to be managed for you– so you avoid the hassles of hardware, software updates, data back-ups, and security monitoring.
What are the benefits of the cloud?
Easy to Buy
Acquiring large-scale software applications is disruptive for organizations of any size– bringing arduous capital budgeting, resource-intensive readiness of servers and infrastructure, and cash intensive licensing. The cloud eliminates the purchasing hassles typical of most comprehensive business solutions. Flexible subscription pricing is cash-flow-friendly, avoiding heavy up-front capital investment by spreading an economical monthly expense over time. Because there’s no infrastructure to purchase or prepare, cloud applications are immediately available– avoiding the long preparation phase found in most onsite deployments.
Simple to Own
Owning a comprehensive business management system typically means you need skilled experts to maintain the infrastructure– backing up data, ensuring security, installing patches, and managing upgrades. This effort sacrifices IT’s focus on more important work and stretches the expertise of scarce and overworked resources.
Cloud solutions allow firms to eliminate ownership costs and maintenance responsibilities while receiving higher quality-of-service than you can ask of your own IT team. The cloud can allow firms to stay current with the latest version updates, monitor security, create back-ups, and even upgrade the underlying infrastructure.
Simple ownership also means you’re not boxed in by rigid tools– you can make changes whenever you need to. You can modify views, build custom reports, or adapt workflow– before you “go live,” or at any time thereafter. You’re also not pinned down by inflexible licensing that forces you to purchase more seats than you need or more capabilities than you want, just to hedge against future growth. Flexible subscriptions let you choose the term that meets your level of commitment, add users when you need, and expand with additional modules when you’re ready.
Available and Secure
Entrusting your growing firm to the cloud doesn’t mean putting your firm’s data at risk. Cloud solutions allow your solution to be available any time to anyone in your firm who needs it– and keeps your information safe from anyone who shouldn’t have it. Most cloud-based data-centers assure a level of accessibility and security that any on-site IT department would be hard-pressed to match.
Ease, simplicity, and secure availability make cloud solutions attractive to growing professional service firms and help firms focus their resources on the growing their business, not managing their software applications.