ERP Software: Delivery Model More Important than Features, but Peace of Mind is Tops—Part 2

Today’s blog is the final post in a two-part series from Marcus Wagner, Founder and CEO of AcctTwo.

Last week we discussed the first two cloud delivery model characteristics, and how they provide value. I want to take a look at the last two and show how a cloud-based model supersedes an on-premises solution, and how cloud applications should set IT free from supporting business systems that are best supported elsewhere, allowing them to focus on issues that are more important.

3. The delivery model provides users with anytime, anywhere access from any device without client-side software requirements.
The benefit of this may be self-explanatory. Our world is changing, as are our work lives. Many of us find the boundary between work and home life to be blurring. Hopefully we find this flexibility refreshing rather than restrictive. Either way, having the ability to approve a purchase order or an expense report, or check a financial dashboard from any device with an Internet connection is a powerful thing.

While many legacy products have introduced what they are calling “cloud” versions, in many cases client-side software is required for it to run, or it can only be accessed with limited functionality from a phone or tablet. True cloud applications only require a Web browser and Internet connection and provide users with access to the full application.

4. The delivery model allows companies to redeploy IT staff and resources normally required to support an enterprise application: maintenance, hardware, and support.
Instead of striking fear in the hearts of IT directors and managers, cloud-based products should provide them with a new role as technology strategists, helping their companies navigate the many options and select the best fit for the business. IT often finds itself under fire for unmet service level agreements, overwhelmed with hardware management and constantly chasing security concerns in an increasingly dangerous cybersecurity environment.

Cloud applications should set IT free from supporting business systems that are best supported elsewhere, allowing them to focus on issues that are more important. Cloud products can often help companies save the cost of up to one full-time employee in IT or allow those resources to be redeployed to higher-value tasks.

So, how do these benefits “trump” the features of the software? Well … within reason. If mission-critical functional requirements simply cannot be met, then of course the solution is the wrong one. My point is that choosing a solution based solely on how two products’ features match up head-to-head, without taking into account the differences in the delivery models, is a mistake.

In the new world of cloud-based solutions, companies buying software need to look at the product’s history of upgrades and enhancements, the roadmap for future releases, the levels of service the publisher provides, the cost savings associated with how the product is delivered and the reduction (and even elimination) of development costs needed to configure the product.

Cloud-based companies need to realize the value that their products intrinsically possess rather than get in a tit-for-tat comparison with outdated legacy systems. That said, until buyers concerns around security, uptime, data integrity and redundancy are satisfied, no number of cloud advantages or features will be enough to move them to buy.

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