In June, a single word cemented the trajectory of Corporate planning when Gartner kicked on-premise services into touch. That word was Cloud.
Cloud applications are no longer the new kid on the block. Countless websites are cloud hosted and services such as Salesforce, Paypal and Facebook use cloud computing to connect with millions. It has been steadily creeping into the financial planning world, and many established corporate planning providers started to engineer their application to work 'in the cloud'.
Gartner recently published their latest report on the players in this space and the winners are most definitely those that were built for the cloud, whilst on-premise alternatives have been kicked off the short list.
What is it?
‘Cloud’ describes the multi-host environment in which hardware, software and information is stored around the globe. The cloud offers protection from physical risks, such as fire and theft and virtual ones such as security breaches or Denial of Service (DOS) attacks.
There are different types of cloud computing.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Web hosting, Data storage etc.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – App Cloud, Google Apps etc.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Google Docs, Zoho, Dropbox etc.
SaaS is one of the most common forms of cloud computing today. SaaS software is hosted by a third party, keeping it accessible over the internet whenever and wherever the user may be.
Cloud based software has numerous benefits, and in a changing world where growth, merger and acquisition are becoming common place it allows for flexibility for all sizes of business.
9 reasons to step into the cloud
In finance, the go-to solution for modeling plans has been Spreadsheets. They offer enormous power and capability, which will not easily be replaced. Their introduction was a turning point for finance, and in the same way cloud based planning offers a similar revolution. So here are some of the reasons we feel cloud planning is a must have.
- Bottom line – Keep your costs down. You only pay for the software you need, when you need it. It’s entirely scalable and grows with you. The licenses can expand or reduce as and when your needs change. There's also no infrastructure cost. No hardware or box to build so the cost of build is vastly cheaper.
- Housekeeping – All your security updates, software versions, new functionality and backups are managed centrally. So, you don’t even have to think about it
- Update Instantly – On legacy systems it can take at least a month, to make a simple update. With connected data capability via the cloud, and no limit on the volume of data it can handle it takes minutes to update and refresh rather than days and weeks. Fresh data rather means forecasts are real rather than historic
- Fat fingers – A slip of the finger, a version error and the whole spreadsheet is a mess or your formulas are lost. In Adaptive everyone uses the same system, with the same formulas, no errors, no hidden nasties and fewer delays
- Faster forecasting – Call up current data anytime, anywhere, fast. Create rules to create 'what if' scenario's on the fly, and save as many as you like, no crashing on limits here
- Secure data – Cloud services live and die by their security, so encryption and backup media are core to their business model, unlike most companies who generally haven't the resources to devote to secure hosting, or backup - so you can relax
- Anytime, anywhere - Being cloud based means models can be accessed at any time, from anywhere. The beauty is that everyone is accessing the same cloud-hosted version so no manual consolidation needed. As the world becomes ever more connected,and flexible work patterns the norm, mobile is fast becoming a must have feature of all new solutions.
- No barriers – One system, one model. Updated in Africa, viewable instantly in London. Languages, currencies and time zones are shared so there’s no confusion
- Real time tracking – See revisions, add comments and approve changes made by other users. Traditionally when merging spreadsheets comments are lost, these explanations and adjustments are invaluable. In a cloud model, these nuggets of information are available to all and save days of information unraveling
There are a numbers of providers out there on the market. Formulate chose to work with Adaptive Insights because of its cloud pedigree. We saw the future for financial planning after years of working in SAP and seeing first hand its planning and reporting limitations for our customers.
In June 2017 Adaptive Insights was the only CPM provider in Gartner’s leader quadrant to improve on 2016.
We firmly believe that with accounting, systems and business experience along with Adaptive Insights at our finger tips we can transform the way you run your financial reporting and business.