Adopting forward-thinking digital strategies is critical for small and medium-sized businesses to remain competitive. This means not only updating existing systems but also moving in new directions.
One such direction is cloud native. Cloud native refers to a design and development approach that focuses on building applications and services specifically designed from the start to reside in the cloud. Companies began to shift from on-premises financial software during the pandemic. It quickly became apparent that on-premises solutions were not meeting their needs when people were forced to work from home. Companies with cloud-based solutions were able to move rapidly to work-from-home situations, keeping workers and customers safe. Now, many realize that cloud-based solutions offer more benefits than just the flexibility of the work environment.
But before shifting from on-prem to cloud, it is essential to have a strategy. Here’s how you can come up with a sound cloud-first plan that can help your company remain agile and competitive now and in the years to come.
Why Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs) Are Moving to the Cloud
If you’re currently using an on-premises system for financial management, you may wonder what all the fuss is about cloud-based solutions. According to Gartner, 85% of SMBs are moving towards cloud solutions. Here’s why.
- Cost: Cloud solutions cost less than their on-premises counterparts. Cloud solutions require no special hardware to run. The cloud provider updates the software. And, although you may want a good consultant for training, implementation, integration, or advice, no additional staff are needed to keep a cloud platform running.
- Security: On-premises systems are generally secure from a cyberattack perspective if not connected to the internet. However, data can still be lost due to natural disasters, power failures, or hardware and equipment failures. Backups must be maintained and kept secure. Cloud systems, on the other hand, often provided multiple geographic locations to back up their clients’ data so if a natural disaster hits in one area, their data is protected. Data and systemwide backups may also be automatic, ensuring that nothing is lost due to equipment malfunction.
- Remote Work: On-prems generally do not support remote work. Cloud platforms can fully support remote work. Although many larger companies have switched back to in-person or hybrid work, workers themselves continue to be supportive and eager for work-from-home opportunities. The ability to offer flexible work arrangements can help you attract talent from a wider talent pool and hire a more diverse team than you might find in the local area. It’s an important consideration.
- Flexible: On-premises or monolithic systems are difficult to adapt to user needs. Vendors often lock users into their ecosystem, resulting in a poor fit between customer needs and software. These limitations can keep a company from finding the best software for their needs. Cloud systems are easily scalable. Even integration can be easier with the use of APIs (application programming interface) to enable different platforms to “talk” to each other as needed.
- Scalable: Systems that are on-premises can be hard to scale without a full lift and shift or an entirely new license. Cloud systems are often sold by the user or access, meaning you can add staff without huge price increases or new systems needed.
Plan Your Digital Strategy
With so many benefits and few drawbacks, it’s no wonder that more companies than ever are moving to cloud-based solutions. Plan your digital strategy accordingly. If you are convinced that cloud solutions are the right move for your company, begin by assessing your current system noting what is working and what is not. Consider what you may need now, three, and five years into the future. Assemble a cross-functional team with representatives from all major company areas to participate in a selection team. Interview and choose a good consultant who will help you navigate the many considerations to find the exact system you need.
For nonprofits shifting to the cloud, consider Sage Intacct. It’s a cloud-based financial management solution that empowers nonprofits by removing IT obstacles. Not only is it 100% supported online – and needs no special IT personnel to manage it—but Sage Intacct also includes many automated workflows to reduce repetitive functions and tasks.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact us for more information.