To cloud or not to cloud. Let’s take a look at what you need to know as you ponder that question.
BI360 Cloud, by Solver, was launched almost 2 years ago. It’s a comprehensive Corporate Performance Management (CPM) system, supporting Reporting, Budgeting, and Business Intelligence, and it’s now Cloud based, as noted in my previous BI360 blog. It is available both in the Cloud and as a Private Host offering for installation on premise or with a hosting provider.
So which option is best – for new installations or if upgrading from an existing version?
Cloud Technology – As the name infers, the new generation of BI360 uses Cloud technology. This means we access the system using internet technologies and the main computing takes place on a different machine. This is in contrast to earlier technology, which relied on Microsoft Excel accessing your data over your network.
BI360 Cloud is not only available in the Cloud, it also brings this technology to the Private Host/On-Premise environment. It’s important to note that both deployment options use the same code base, so we have essentially the same functionality under either deployment scenario. However, the infrastructure requirements are more extensive for Private Host installations than previous versions of BI360.
Deployment Considerations – BI360 Cloud is a big step forward from previous generations. If you are acquiring BI360 Cloud, or contemplating an update to this version, you should consider your options carefully and weigh these considerations:
- Cost – Generally speaking, a Cloud implementation is less expensive than a Private Host/On-Premise implementation. The licensing price is identical for both options. However, the Cloud implementation includes your servers, SQL software licensing, usage, updates, and related maintenance.
- Scalability/Availability - As your business grows, and/or you more fully use BI360 Cloud, a Cloud implementation automatically provides the resources you need. With a Cloud implementation, the resources are available when you need them, for Month-End Closing, Budgeting, and the like. In a Private Host implementation scenario, the management of these functions falls to your team, i.e. you must provide the necessary resources.
- Security/Disaster Recovery – Two of my clients suffered Ransomware attacks last year. To say they were distressed is a vast understatement. Both clients had sophisticated IT staffs and employed what they believed to be good, even best, security practices. Cloud implementations offload the basic security and disaster recovery issues to the vendor, who provides superior security and recovery.
- Mobile/Remote Access – Access to reports, budget input, analytics, etc. is through a Web Portal – typically via a Web Browser, Excel or PowerBI. With a BI360 Cloud implementation, secure remote access to the Portal is automatically provided.
- Data Connectivity – The primary source of data for BI360 Cloud is typically the business ERP or CRM system – Microsoft Dynamics, Acumatica, Sage, Intact, SAP, to name a few. BI360 Cloud provides connectors for these and other environments. However, you may wish to continue to use previously built integrations, if you are updating from a previous version, which may influence your decision to remain in an on-premise environment.
Bottom Line – Choosing between a Cloud or Private Host implementation of BI360 Cloud requires taking into account multiple consideration. Arguments for each are:
- Cloud Implementation – This option enables small to medium-sized businesses, with limited resources, to take advantage of industry-leading compute, storage, and networking capabilities that can scale on demand as needed. For businesses using a Cloud based ERP or CRM, it’s a no brainer. Go with a Cloud implementation of Cloud BI360. Businesses using an On-Premise or Hosted ERP or CRM should give serious consideration to transitioning to a Cloud environment – reducing your reliance on internal resources.
- Private Host/On-Premise Implementation – This option enables you to leverage existing infrastructure, take advantage of your investment in existing integrations, and/or utilize advanced integration capabilities of tools like SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services). This can be significant when integrating with multiple in-house systems in addition to the ERP and CRM, such as Payroll, Time & Expense, Job Cost and the like.
In summary, if you’re interested in a CPM solution