You’d think that by now, the whole issue of how to distinguish a true cloud from a pretend cloud would be well behind us. Well, it’s not. Just like a zombie rising from the dead, this issue keeps coming back. In fact, customers and prospects ask me about it all the time.
That surprises me. Working for companies such as NetSuite and Adaptive Insights, I have been on the front line of the cloud software space’s evolution and witnessed the growth of true cloud tools and the death of hosted applications over that time.
So, how do you know if your vendor is hawking a “true” cloud-based solution? Here are five tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1: Multitenancy matters
When considering cloud corporate performance management software, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the benefits that a multitenant software-as-a-service solution (SaaS) has to offer. Many vendors are taking their legacy on-premises solutions and creating a non-multitenant cloud product that brings along the issues of their legacy product and doesn’t take advantage of multitenancy—an architecture in which a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers.
Tip 2: Architected for the cloud
Legacy on-premises software that’s been repurposed for the cloud has not been designed with end users in mind and often requires support from IT. The legacy on-premises issues often get migrated to the cloud. This means they will require scripting and coding that end users will not be familiar with and will often need IT or professional services to support the solution. A real cloud and enterprise solution is business-user led and designed for ease of use for finance professionals. This means little to no ongoing support is needed from IT, professional services, or expensive consultants.
These legacy on-premises solutions will also create a web-based front end that appears to have the characteristics of a multitenant solution. However, all of the issues of downtime, IT support, scripting, etc. still exist.
Tip 3: Limited downtime
Real multitenant cloud solutions have very little downtime. Non-multitenant cloud products may go offline on a daily basis for maintenance, and some will even go down for an hour per day! If users are not logged out of the system when the solution goes offline, they will lose their work. This ultimately impacts productivity and may lead to additional overhead for support with maintenance activities.
Tip 4: Everyone’s on the current version
Customers are always on the current version of the product with a multitenant cloud solution. This may not be true for those using non-multitenant cloud solutions. If customers skip updates, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they may run into trouble when they update to the current version—similar to skipping iOS updates and then trying to catch up to the current version. This could result in downtime and other issues. While this ultimately impacts productivity, it may also cause other challenges such as having to engage IT and support to get onto the current version of the product.
Tip 5: Faster innovation
Faster innovation is a big advantage for customers of multitenant cloud solution vendors. These companies typically have three to four product releases per year, giving their customers a competitive advantage with new features as well as faster bug fixes. Vendors using non-multitenant clouds cannot get their innovations or bug fixes out as fast. Again, this can impact productivity, since companies may not be getting the most current innovations to their customers.