The “hidden” issues that derail some cloud CPM deployments

There has been a lot written about the benefits and concerns of moving financial systems to the cloud. In the recent eBook “Leveraging Cloud and Mobile” from CFO.com, there were two issues highlighted that are very insightful, and not often spoken about.

The first, as quoted in the book, is

“...cloud vendors are often unable to accommodate the change requests of clients that they’ve engaged. For example, when a company takes on a significant new client or acquisition that shifts the company into a new business sector, the inflexible response of its cloud provider can force the company to run two systems, change cloud providers, or make modifications to accommodate the inflexible cloud solution.”

 

This is a very real situation that is often overlooked when a company is looking for a quick solution to their problem. Many cloud solution providers bring to market solutions that are good for a basic replacement of Excel spreadsheets and their main differentiator is they are “pure cloud”. The appeal is great for a short-term solution with a quick implementation time, but the pain hits as a company grows or needs the functionality of a mature and extendable product.

This issue is highlighted in the eBook:

“The main cause of problems with cloud implementation will continue to be organizations focusing on the short term, without performing appropriate prepurchase due diligence for the lifespan of the overall system.”

 

You see the challenge herre. When beginning the due-diligence process of selecting a vendor, it is sometimes quite enticing to see a simple and “sexy” product that can take your spreadsheets and move them to the cloud. Nice easy learning curve, and quick initial value. It is important, however, to look past the first year of implementation and pick a solution that matches the strategic direction of your organization. Are you planning to grow? Are you looking at potential new business lines or acquisitions? Is organizational restructuring a possibility? Are you planning on doing further analysis beyond what is being done today?

If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions you must include this as part of your information gathering and solution selection process, otherwise you may end up with a solution for today that can’t meet your needs for tomorrow!

 

Deja-vu all over again

We recently had this exact situation happen. Two years ago we were in the ‘short list’ of a company for a budgeting solution. They chose another vendor, specifically for the reason of a very ‘quick implementation’ that utilized their existing spreadsheets to build a planning application.

We kept in touch with them and fast-forward two years later and we are back in discussions with them. Why?  While the solution helped the process by replacing their pure-spreadsheet based system, as their needs for more advanced planning and analysis by product grew, the system was unable to accommodate their expanding requirements.  

Now they are back doing the selection process again, just two years later. This time, however, they are much more long-term focused. They don’t want to be in this position again in 2016!

So, when selecting a product realize that you should not  choose cloud and functionality. Going to the cloud should not be a compromise. For more on this I suggest you read the CFO eBook or check out our website and read a few stories from our customers who have been through this decision process.

What are your thoughts? Have you had a similar experience?



Tagetik Cloud for Finance 

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