For years now, there’s been much speculation on when finance would move fully to the cloud. The conversation is heating up again as investments in SaaS are growing by more than 20 percent per year, according to Forrester Research. 

Based on insight from Forrester, some of the strongest drivers for this are:

  • The need for business agility
  • The speed of implementing software
  • The ability to focus valuable resources on other critical projects
  • The ability to reduce costs
  • The ability to deliver new functionality fast
  • The ability to regulate and automate how enterprise software is upgraded
  • The ability to support innovations with advanced capabilities
  • The ability to do away with large, upfront capital expenses and shift those to lower monthly operational expenses.

The research shows that finance was among the last to explore, much less embrace, cloud-based platforms. Their biggest concerns being performance and security. This has changed as more organizations have proven success with cloud-based applications for CRM, HCM and now Finance.  And the adoption has accelerated as organizations have realized the advantages of cloud-based EPM solutions over spreadsheets and legacy on-premises solutions.

A recent study by Aberdeen showed that customers who adopted cloud-based budgeting and planning applications achieve greater benefits than those using on-premises solutions.  This includes better access to real-time business information, better collaboration and coordination across departments, and better self-service reporting capabilities.

cloud_modeling_2.jpgAchieving those benefits has not been lost on finance pros, which is why there’s no lack of options when it comes to cloud-based EPM solutions. Finding the right fit for your organization will vary by the size of the organization and finance team, culture, and business needs.

When it comes to evaluating cloud-based EPM solutions, there are three non-negotiables that every organization should consider.

  • First is the ability to provide strong internal and external reporting for historical perspectives.
  • Second is delivering valuable perspectives on the present.
  • Third is exemplary planning, budgeting, forecasting, and modeling to inform future decisions.

As CFOs rely more on cloud-based EPM to go beyond the limits of traditional spreadsheets and on-premises solutions, and provide a more strategic way to align the business, they are steadily moving more of the finance function to the cloud. Yet there’s still a healthy amount of software that remains on-premises. The bigger question remains, when will finance move fully to the cloud, if ever?

Read the full text of this article as published by Finance Digest.  

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