For many businesses, the term cloud is starting to become a reality. According to the most recent International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide, spending on cloud-based applications and platforms was expected double that of past years in the 2019-2023 forecast period. But this was before the COVID-19 outbreak kicked cloud adoption into overdrive.
According to a more recent study from IDC, as a result of the pandemic, 27% of organizations worldwide are increasing their software-as-a-service (SaaS)investments compared with their original budgets. In North America, 38%of organizations are increasing their SaaS investments, with over 15% planning on double-digit SaaS spending increases.
But for businesses, it still pays to look at what this really means.
Also Cloud, Cloud Enabled, and the Ways Fake Cloud Solutions Put Lipstick on a Pig
Many vendors talk about the cloud. However, many dance around the logistics of delivering it. Often, they will refer to their products as ‘also cloud’ or “cloud enabled,” which sounds great—until you realize what that means. Often, these terms are used by vendors either trying to milk their customer base or cover themselves while they work on slowly figuring out the cloud. Either way, they’re doing little more than putting lipstick on a pig.
The Basic Requirements to Become a Cloud Product
To understand what it means to be a cloud company, we first must understand what cloud means. In order to even be considered for Gartner’s Cloud ERP analyst reports, solutions need to fit the definition of cloud service—built on four criteria:
- Responsibility: The vendor must manage all technology infrastructure either in its own data centers or in third-party data centers and implement upgrades as part of that service.
- Licensing and Technology: Technology must be billed on a subscription basis or metered use, contracts need to be standardized, the service must use internet technologies, and technology access should be both scalable and elastic.
- Customization: To be considered a cloud technology, it needs to be configured without hassles. “Modification of source code should not be possible. Configuration via citizen developer tools and extension via PaaS (partner, vendor or user) is allowed.”
- Pace of Change: Solutions need to allow rapid deployment, provide multiple annual upgrades, and pooled resources, while vendors need to offer self-provisioning capabilities to ensure upgrades take place smoothly.
In theory, these are not hard barriers to entry. In fact, there are companies out there who have made significant and real moves to update their legacy solutions to operate in true cloud fashion.
The Dangers of a Vendor Saying They are Also a Cloud Product
It’s easy to look at the term ‘also cloud’ and think, “wow, I have all the options I’d ever need.” It’s a dangerous precedent. But this still means that the resources aren’t being put in place to ensure that they meet the cloud criteria—especially as it pertains to the upgrade schedule and the responsibility aspect.
While cloud-first companies have embraced these criteria since their founding, those companies who weren’t cloud first who do meet the definition of cloud have put significant effort into a transformation, and would never go out of their way to say that they are ‘also a cloud company’.
Many legacy products like Macola™ jumped on the cloud bandwagon when they realized there was an opportunity to keep users around. But that’s the thing. Macola execs weren’t ready for the reality of the software marketplace.
Sadly, this indecision left users with rare, underwhelming, and poorly integrated updates, a lack of connection built to benefit the business, and a product unfit for the modern business landscape.
The Problematic Term of Cloud Enabled
Another term being bandied about is that of the ‘cloud enabled’ product. In such, these solutions may offer a bit of mobility, provide integrations with third-party products, or offer a variety of web apps—none of which provide the visibility or insight businesses need to make decisions. While these also don’t match the Gartner definition, they might even be further away from the definition of cloud than those who are also-rans in the cloud race.
First Steps to Understanding How True Cloud ERP Delivers
If the recent outbreak has made you second-guess your current product’s capabilities, falling for promises of also cloud or cloud enabled are going to leave you stranded with a very expensive or very annoying reality. The problem with this is that a recent Macola user conference had the company’s leadership pointing to its existence as being “also a cloud product.”
Unfortunately, this has now given carte blanche for resellers and others to use the term cloud to pitch expensive fake cloud solutions that will leave you hung out to dry with a fake cloud.
Luckily, a recent Acumatica whitepaper was written to help you understand the symptoms of fake cloud sales pitches and explores how real cloud solutions deliver for you. Before jumping on with a cloud vendor who isn’t really in the cloud, ask yourself:
- Does it deliver broad and deep functionality?
- Does it make integration easy, flexible and streamlined?
- Does it remove your security burden and free up your IT team?
- Does it make it easy to bring on new technologies?
Learn more about how each of these can be leveraged by True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud—How Manufacturers Can Tell the Difference.
Don’t Make a Mistake with Macola or Other Legacy Software—Upgrade to True Cloud Acumatica
The Donas Group has worked with ERP customers for over 20 years. In this time, we’ve done many legacy and Macola™-to-Acumatica migrations and assessed even more. We can offer insights into the best practices required for a successful migration. With our proven approach, you can experience a seamless, and effective migration. Contact us to get started.