One of the first steps in choosing a planning and budgeting software is deciding whether you want a cloud or on-premise application.  This is an important decision that will both narrow your options and lock you into one of two very distinct support paths.  Since the cloud has matured so much in the past decade, there are many benefits to selecting cloud software.  But why?

1. Flexibility

First, a cloud platform is a very flexible way to operate a planning environment.  Generally, I have seen organizations with on-premise solutions designate a single team (usually finance) as the owner of the environment.  This is great if the only use case for the tool is financial forecasting and reporting.  However, newer solutions offer much more opportunity to use beyond finance.  For example, Adaptive Insights recently came out with a Sales Module that allows organizations to create and maintain their sales plans in an organized and consistent manner.  You would have trouble building that in an on-premise solution if you must go through finance to get the project approved.  Having a cloud solution allows the Sales team to work directly with Adaptive software to get an environment as opposed to having to rent space in the finance environment.

2. Total Cost

At face value, the annual cost of a cloud solution will probably look higher than an on-premise license. But, the difference is in the total cost of ownership.  Right away with a cloud solution, you will save money on the installation.  Once you sign the contract, you get the environment.  You don’t have to get hardware from IT and find someone to do the installation.  That isn’t the only cost savings, however.

Another area that generally gets on-premise customers is patching and upgrades.  Software needs to be updated to stay current with the latest features and compatibilities.  Cloud solution upgrades are handled automatically, and you don’t need to pay to get it done on a recurring basis.  As a best practice, you should still monitor these updates to figure out how to incorporate the latest features in your process.  But, it doesn’t have to be a big or formal ordeal anymore.

 3. Ease of Operation

The final reason is the ease of operation.  Having a cloud environment will make administrative responsibilities much easier.  Any system issues are now the sole responsibility of the software provider.  You no longer must file a ticket, investigate yourself, collect logs, and walk through the scenarios before you bring them to support.  Since the vendor owns the environment, they can resolve most issues by themselves.  Your organization doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Overall, there are reasons why you would choose either cloud or on-premise.  Cloud solutions these days are superior to on-premise solutions for all the reasons above and more.  Some of the best planning and budgeting tools today aren’t even available on-premise at all.  If you would like to read more about how IT and finance are working better together in modern organizations, please follow this link.  If you would like an assessment of what planning and budgeting tool would best fit your company, please contact eCapital Advisors.

David Grande

David is a certified implementation specialist and has led, designed, built, and deployed multiple enterprise-wide implementations at Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. He specializes in corporate finance processes and technologies but has also led implementations in sales, supply chain, and SG&A.

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