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This article will discuss the established place for Cloud-Based CPM – the journey to embracing the newer platform and the value proposition that became a tipping point.
If you are as plugged into technology as even the next guy, you are definitely aware of “the cloud” – and that it is taking over as the new normal in terms of hosting files, applications, and networks. You might not know that much about what it all means, but you probably understand that hosting in the cloud means you’re not storing your pictures or your software or your connection to other devices on-premise. The iCloud might be the most pervasive example, with the popularity of Apple products, as it takes any files that you might have traditionally just stored on your cell phone (contacts, music, photos) and houses them in the cloud. Now, as cloud continues to build momentum, it has permeated the business technology space – and has finally established itself as a suitable platform, if not soon to be a leading platform option, for corporate performance management (CPM) and business intelligence (BI) solutions. This article will discuss the journey to this place of embracing the cloud as a platform for CPM and BI tools – and why companies are seeing the cloud as the future, right now.

What concerns has the cloud posed for consumers over the years? In my view, there isn’t a complicated answer to this question. Not in any particular order: disrupting the familiarity and trust of on-premise technology doesn’t happen overnight, and the early days of the cloud created a concern about security that also created an obstacle that consumers weren’t going to get over with a snap of the fingers. Beyond that, there wasn’t a clear picture of how this would impact the bottom line. In other words, we’re creatures of habit who generally don’t trust the unknown. Some disruptions in the market can see a meteoric rise, while the cloud has been a slow, but exponentially building burn. With a new product or technology that rises quickly, you can also see a flash-in-the-pan effect, which furthers distrust in the new or unknown. Security was arguably a built-in concern, but there has also been an uptick in hacking and cybersecurity warfare around the world, perhaps most notably in the political realm. But developers and independent software vendors understood this and worked at it – continue to work at it, developing security measures as challenges pop up. And finally, every consumer and business needs to know how this is going to affect their wallet. Enter: cloud benefits.
The cloud as a platform seems infinite. It took the figurative and literal brick-and-mortar of on-premise systems and knocked down the walls, uprooted from the ground, and ascended to the space that an actual cloud inhabits. In that sense, the naming of this evolution for technology was brilliant, accessible marketing. Now, if we zoom in on enterprise technology, we’re talking about lots and lots of data, specifically sensitive information that speaks to the health and inner workings of a corporation. This information would not only be catastrophic in the hands of competitors, but also would reveal confidential things about employees because human resources (HR) and payroll are involved in the heaps of data companies are managing, either on-premise or in the cloud. But if we go back to discussing the concerns around the cloud, this would sum up security skepticism.
However, that was then, and this is now. In between, security evolution after security evolution occurred, not just as a response to consumer concerns, but as a defense against the internet as a community space. And now that security is no longer a major question mark, CPM and BI processes, which pull data from a range of sources, such as ERP and payroll systems, do not seem vulnerable. In fact, the cloud seems like a sensible place because of today’s solutions.
As many companies move away from on-premise solutions, they are using cloud technology to produce and distribute reports and dashboards. This is a convenient and efficient avenue to get decision-making information to a geographically spread out team of users. There are also plenty of users just performing ad hoc analysis on a self-service basis, whether that be reports or dashboards by one user, without distribution. Regardless, the accessibility is a big selling point. As cloud CPM is only available through SaaS, companies are paying a vendor to manage the software, roll out regular updates, deploy new additions quickly, and make sure the software runs right. On top of that, with cloud products, you are only paying for the users who need access and your actual usage of the product. Therefore, you’re not paying a big lump sum up front for a product you would manage throughout its seemingly shorter and shorter lifecycle, but paying for users and usage on a regular billing cycle as long as you are happy with the product. And the cloud software vendor will keep your solution up to date. On paper, doesn’t it just make sense?
However, back to the beginning of this article: it has been a relatively slow adoption process for the cloud in general. But doesn’t it also make sense on paper that such a massive overhaul of the traditional delivery and management of a tool like a financial and operational report writer and/or a budgeting and forecasting solution wouldn’t just happen overnight, considering the importance of such software? Regardless, here we are, in a time when cloud CPM is soaring – and for good reasons. Complete CPM solution suites also help organizations navigate the multi-cloud world that we’re living in by providing a pre-built, fully customizable data warehouse to bring together your disparate data sources, whether on-premise or in the cloud. Despite the popularity of the cloud for CPM processes, it is still a lot to consider, and Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel- and web-based budgeting and reporting solution that enables collaboration, streamlined decision-making capabilities for your BI experience.

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