Investing In Cloud Software As A Service
A phrase we use a lot is, “the right tool for the right job”. When we work with businesses inside of our ERP and CRM consulting practice, we get a lot of questions about if they should be moving their software and data to a cloud software as a service model, we usually revert back to this initial phrase when approaching the answer.
Determining if cloud software as a service and a cloud data model is the right fit for your business depends on several different factors. It can vary from business to business, and can even vary between similar businesses within the same industry. Most of the determining criteria will all have to do with how your business is structured today, and very little actually has to do with the software as a service itself. Too many businesses develop preconceived ideas about the benefits and risks without actually assessing if those risks and benefits will actually apply to their business.
Is cloud software as a service right for my business?
There are 4 fundamental things to take in to account when you're considering a move to a cloud software as a service configuration for your business.
#1.) Internet Connectivity
This seems like a no brainer, but this is critical. If your business doesn’t have a strong, consistent, or reliable internet connection, you’re setting yourself up to be frustrated; as you’ll need a solid internet connection to consistently access your software. This is not an issue for most businesses, but for some businesses this becomes a deal-breaker; especially those in rural area’s, or in areas with poor provider service.
Not sure if your internet connectivity can best support cloud software as a service? Check with other businesses in your area with the same provider to collect their feedback. Also, use common sense. Is your internet consistently going out, do you have trouble maintaining a reliable connection to basic internet now? Think about the most recent interruptions and consider how they might have potentially affected work that your business was doing that day. If you can't think of any significant outages or issues, then you're probably in good shape.
# 2.) Is There A Cloud Solution Available For Your Business?
Is there a cloud software solution that fits your business and industry that is developed and established enough to invest in? Many cloud products are strongly established, and many have even become the norm for some industries. Applications like Salesforce and Marketo have built a strong reputation, and are known as tried and tested software solutions regardless of being cloud-based or not. However, there are some industry cloud solutions that are just not yet ready for primetime. Ensure that there are viable solutions available for your business in the cloud.
#3.) Is Cost A Factor?
Of course it is! On-prem solutions usually have higher upfront project costs that could allow for more flexibility in the future? Investing in things like hardware, etc. can become expensive, and software ROI may take longer to achieve. If this could be a challenge, selecting a cloud software as a service option for your implementation may allow your business to operate with greater cost flexibility and provide the ability to see investment returns in an expedited fashion. Ultimately the decision around initial investments vs. cloud software as a service plan is a financial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The second part of this question is how much of your internal staff you’d like to regularly devote to your system. Do you want to manage all of your own data, and is your businesses equipped and capable of doing this? If your businesses is strategic in how it manages its people and data, this may be the right way to go. If you have a smaller IT staff, or choose not to make this type of internal resource investment, it may be best to look at an cloud software as a service solution enhanced with a 3rd party data-manager with experience in business process modeling.
#4.) Software Upgrades
The ability to keep processes and software current is key to maximizing the ROI of your digital enterprise investments. Few realize just how much goes in to keeping a software system current, and on the latest version. Most businesses that deploy an on-prem solution simply wait 4-5 years down the round when the software becomes old and cumbersome until they consider making changes, then they are usually forced to re-implement. Cloud software as a service solutions release new versions that automatically go live to all users consistently throughout the life of the product. This is one of the greatest benefits to cloud software as a service. It can save your business a lot of money in upgrade costs, but can also save money by allowing your business to operate using current and dynamic software all the time.
Taking the responsibility of software upgrades out of your hands can be a huge time-and-money-saver for many businesses that currently struggle with these kinds of projects. Also, there are still many executives that don't love the idea of forking out a lot of money for a software system that will no longer be on the current version within the next 6 months. How important this is to your business is something only your company can determine.
Ultimately, all these factors should be taken into account when considering a move to the cloud. Businesses make the move every day, and the success of the move largely depends on how well their company aligned with the benefits of cloud software as a service. If your business is currently weighing these options you should contact our enterprise software experts to further discuss the merits of a move like this for your organization. We've successfully helped dozens of businesses make the transition, and have talked a few out of it as well. Visit our services page for more info.