Implementing at the “Speed of Cloud”

When I started out at NetSuite, I was faced with a daily grind of educating CFOs on the virtues of running their business in the cloud.  In those days, the conversations quickly moved to the issue surrounding data security and it took a particularly forward-thinking CFO to take the leap of faith.  I have since met many of those that did, and as they reflect on those decisions, most acknowledged that it was the first step in a complete business transformation towards cloud computing.

Fast forward seven years and those early conversations with CFOs are taking a different path.   As I write this, I am half way through my quarterly tour of South East Asia and I find myself having my third meeting this week, speaking with a CFO about a completely different issue – market agility.

You don’t need to carry a PhD in Economics to know that Asia is a fast-moving environment, with above average growth. As enterprises search for incremental revenue, it is therefore, no great surprise that they are looking to Asian markets to fuel their growth and meet the expectations of their shareholders.  Companies these days need to explore every opportunity offered by emerging markets in order to benefit from the prize that is there for the taking.

Executives that I meet with in Australasia always ask the ultimate question – how can I get there quickly, efficiently and with an acceptable level of risk? And I’m back to preaching the benefits of moving to the cloud.

Without a doubt, cloud computing gives organizations the best possible chance to cut through all the hullaballoo of the typical ERP implementation, and get a functional business system to those growth markets with minimal fuss and cost.

And to best help with the understanding of the cloud and its benefits to business-movers, I have listed below a handful of reasons why cloud software and growth markets are a match made in heaven:

Centralized, outsourced Infrastructure

Cloud software is designed from the ground-up to operate over the internet.  This demands only a web browser from the client, while the software and its associated data are managed centrally by the vendor.  This allows the client to start using the application easily from day one.

Business Process and Best Practice

Most cloud computing vendors offer vertical editions of their products that give the client an insight on the process that most other companies of the same line of business are using. Hence, there will be minimal configuration and customisation work that lets clients immediately see the value of their investment.

Remote configuration

Although it is likely that there will be at least some face time within the implementation plan, configuration and customisation can be performed from almost any location once permission is granted.  This allows the vendor to leverage on lower cost and its global pool of skilful resources, as well implementation teams to efficiently work round-the-clock. Utilising web conference tools such as WebEx, enables the vendor to discuss requirements and make real-time changes as part of the process. 

Configure once, use many

Some Cloud Computing vendors offer the ability to “bundle” configurations so that they may be deployed to customer accounts as a packaged offering, saving significant time and money over a traditional implementation.  This is naturally a win for both customer and vendor.

Upgrades

Vendors shoulder upgrades in most cloud computing applications and they go out of their way ensure that there will be minimum disruption to the configuration.  This is a massive departure from the norm and a most welcome one.Cloud upgrades take away the challenge of version lock facing the on-premise software.

To remain competitive in a tough economy, and to be able to expand further in growth markets such as Asia, organizations need to re-think the way in which they approach implementation projects to drive down costs and capitalize on the benefits.  With a significant reduction in cost and agile deployment, cloud-based technology is fast moving to become the default option for the modern CFO.

Dean Stockwell - VP of Professional Services

 

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