Imagine watching a young child try to chase a squirrel. If there were just one squirrel, the kid would probably try to corner it or sneak up on it. If there were two or three squirrels, the child would choose one and proceed as before. If there were 100 squirrels, however, the kid would likely either run helter-skelter towards all of them or run away crying. Having too many options can sometimes be overwhelming.
Now imagine that you’re trying to pick a cloud-based financial solution. Once your company has decided that a SaaS solution will be a better fit for your needs than on-premises or single-tenant software, it is still necessary to sift through dozens of cloud-based financial management options on the market. Just like deciding between the three available architectures of accounting software, this process is best done carefully and systematically.
Because cloud-based software operates on a monthly subscription basis, choosing your cloud software vendor is just as important as picking the software itself. The vendor has to continue to earn your business each month by providing good customer support and working to fulfill your organization’s most recent needs.
The 2015 Intacct Buyer’s Guide lists seven attributes to look for in a cloud vendor. Here is that list with a summarized explanation of each item:
- Implementation Success. Make sure your vendor has a history of successful implementations.
- Operational Track Record. Ensure that the vendor has high standards and has formed positive long-term relationships with other customers.
- Data Ownership. Make sure you will own your data and can obtain it easily if you decide to switch to a different vendor’s financial solution.
- Infrastructure and Security. What data center will be storing your information? What backup systems does the vendor have in place in case of downtime or security breaches?
- Return on Investment/Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Plot out the TCO for the foreseeable future. Will the solution you are choosing require the purchase of additional software and services? Be sure to find out the precise details of the potential solution’s pricing model. Make sure you will receive an appropriate return on investment in the timeframe your company desires.
- Support Agreement. Make sure the support staff will be available when you need them, and include financial experts who specialize in working with that particular SaaS solution.
- Service Level Agreements (SLA). This is crucial for setting your expectations and protecting your organization from problems in the future. Because cloud-based software requires ongoing IT support, an excellent SLA is especially important.
A more detailed explanation of each of these attributes can be found in the Intacct Buyer’s Guide.
By making a plan and being systematic, you can sift through the options and get the information you need. If you are still feeling overwhelmed or just want to be doubly certain of your decision, it might also be helpful to schedule a meeting with a software consulting company. If you would like more information on cloud-based financial solutions, contact
By Saeward Schillaci, The Resource Group