The business software market is quickly moving to the “Cloud” (really to Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, which means as this source points out, “Software that is deployed over the internet…with SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers either as a service on demand, through a subscription, in a “pay-as-you-go” model, or (increasingly) at no charge when there is opportunity to generate revenue from streams other than the user, such as from advertisement or user list sales”).
The budgeting, forecasting and planning software arena is no exception, and the Performance Architects team has had plenty of experience helping transition organizations to SaaS or cloud planning solutions. I wanted to share the top three similarities and differences we’ve witnessed when organizations start to forecast, budget, and plan in the cloud.
When we first start exploring this topic with people, many assume that because this is a service, they can just “flick a switch” and move to a new system. The move to a new budgeting and forecasting process isn’t trivial, however. This is a major, generally enterprise-wide process, with a lot of personalities and moving parts involved, and it is very important to help people adjust.
The top three similarities to a “traditional” planning software deployment, therefore, all have to do with the people and process implications of a shift to a new way of doing business:
- This is still a big cultural shift to a new process
- You still need to allocate reasonable requirements and design time
- You still need a partner to help!
In terms of the differences in an “on premise” versus cloud planning implementation, they’re really more technical in nature, because these systems are simply deployed differently on premise versus in a SaaS environment. That said, if you ignore these three differences, you will have a very difficult time with your budgeting and forecasting implementation. The three top differences include:
- Security (mostly) lives outside “your four walls”
- Data sourcing, integration and storage will work differently
- “Customization” isn’t the same as on-premise
If you’re interested in learning more about these similarities and differences, we encourage you to visit the Performance Architects Learning Center (a free community and forum where we post all of our content) to access the recording and slides for our recent webinar where we cover these topics in detail, “How to Start Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting in the Cloud: Case Studies and Lessons Learned.”
We welcome questions and comments either in the forms below the blog entry, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a more detailed conversation.