Anne Moxie, Senior Analyst at Nucleus Research, conducts research and produces thought leadership in analytics, data management, and IoT authoring numerous case studies that assess operational value and best practices.
We talked to her about why finance departments should consider adopting cloud-based services. Here's what she had to say:
What interests you about the way finance departments are using technology today?
With the increasing use of the cloud, finance teams are able to leverage improved integration capabilities and better scalability for a more involved and proactive role across the business. For example, in corporate performance management (CPM), finance teams can pull in data from other enterprise solutions for a complete view of an organization's activities. Additionally, with some of the advanced functionality from cloud-based CPM solutions like Host Analytics, they can model what-if scenarios for more proactive planning.
What would you like to see more finance departments doing to more efficiently track and analyze an organization's finances?
Scaling out analyses through self-service functionality puts the control back into the hands of the finance team. As a result, they should be performing more exploratory analytics on-demand, which would accelerate access to improving insights as needed.
What are the benefits of cloud technology for finance departments?
Of all departments, finance should understand more than anyone the added value of the cloud. Nucleus analyzed 37 case studies and found that the cloud delivers 2.3 times more ROI than on-premises solutions because of shorter implementation periods, lower investments in personnel and software, and a higher propensity to upgrade. The value proposition for any new technology should be the main driver in any purchasing decision.
What about the risks?
The cloud reduces risk by allowing for greater flexibility and long-term growth of the solution. Many on-premises vendors have not been able to innovate at the pace of the market and its customers have gotten stuck with clunky solutions that are difficult to upgrade. Customers in the cloud are able to delegate platform management and update processes to the vendor. As a result, customers are not locked into one version of a solution and they are able to quickly adapt and stay on top of the most recent innovations in the market.
What should organizations do to ensure the security of the cloud-based services they use?
While security concerns may have been reasons to resort to on-premises solutions in the past, CIOs are increasingly recognizing that cloud vendors can meet, or surpass, their own internal security measures.
What are the most common questions or concerns your clients in finance have about adopting cloud technology?
Clients in finance may be concerned about getting the same level of functionality in cloud solutions as they have experienced with on-premises solutions. Nucleus has found however that with the maturation of the cloud market, the functionality of cloud solutions is in line with on-premise solutions. Customers have also reported that, once moving to the cloud, they are pleasantly surprised by the level of functionality and that they experience an increase in productivity because the cloud solutions are much more usable. As a result, they are able to perform analyses more quickly and ultimately devote their time to discovering more in-depth insights.
What types of questions should organizations ask or what types of considerations should they make when adopting cloud-based solutions for finance department?
They should consider first what use cases are most necessary. Because the cloud allows for easier modular rollout, customers are able to focus their efforts on implementation in a manageable approach that has minimal disruption. Over time, they can add capabilities that pull in data from other applications, such as CRM, HCM or ERP. With this approach, customers will not bite off more than they can chew and can build out their CPM applications with little disruption in processes.
To learn more about the advantages of cloud-based CPM solutions, download the Nucleus Research CPM Technology Value Matrix.