Why Host Your Financial Systems in the Cloud?

By
July 26th, 2016


At different times, I have been a controller, and a director of IT at different companies. In any of these positions I would have been happy to host the financial systems in the Cloud. Why? Because it would help me to keep my job. In any of these positions, the financial reporting and the IT departments will be held responsible if the computer systems fail, and failure is much less likely in the Cloud with a big company like Oracle.
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Fyodor Dostoevsky noted we have both the instinct for survival and the instinct for destruction. Directors and executives in large companies have only the instinct for survival. And survival is dependent on the computer systems being up.

During the 1990’s there was a move in the location of the company’s servers: from the company location to a remote data center location. Today, virtually all big companies store data at data centers. I call this the move to the cloud junior. Why did companies make this decision with their data? Because the data center had better security and guaranteed uptime.  This move became possible because of big advances in the internet infrastructure.

Today, the logical next step is to host the applications in the Cloud. Like the management of servers, the upgrade of applications is a science, and can be performed best by specialists. The process of application upgrade is an IT function, and barely visible to the visible to the accounting users – who are concerned with getting the numbers right.  There is little reason each company should have to employ application upgrade experts, just as it no longer needs its own server maintenance experts. Both functions can be better handled centrally in the cloud, by companies like Oracle with the resources to do the job.

Here are four functions of business and IT support of business:

  • Scalability
  • Collaboration
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Security

I will make the case for the cloud in each of these cases.

Scalability

Businesses grow and shrink according to demand for its products and services. The IT systems must grow and shrink accordingly.

The question here is effort. If you maintain IT systems in-house, you will need a project manager, project members, to buy and configure equipment, testing, and so on.

If you are on the Cloud: you simply put in a request for more or less capacity.

Oracle applications are enterprise class and can easily scale up or scale down as needed.

Collaboration

Collaboration in the computer world often involves two or more people modifying different parts of the same document. Change control can also be added to track each person’s changes to important documents.

Document sharing functionality has been available in the Microsoft operating system world for over 20 years, thorough shared network folders. To reach those folders remotely, as many of us have to do, one usually has to virtual private network into the company’s network.

The cloud simply moves these folder to another, more secure, location: the cloud. Sharing files on a common accessible cloud folder replaces sharing files on a common network shared folder. This is working well for personal use of the cloud folders. With cloud folders, it is now possible to share files without email, and it is more convenient and efficient. It will work similarly with business documents.

Backup and Recovery

This is what keeps IT managers up at night. To have a reliable backup system you must practice, on a regular basis, the restoration and reconciliation of the critical data. That sounds like a new use for project management.

On the other hand, if your applications are on the cloud. The backup and recovery is a simple as a dial tone. It just works; you don’t care about the details.

Security

There is a principle in IT security: it is that the systems that are attacked the most often are the most secure. Security is an attack and response process at the highest levels, and with each attack the defenders improve their system. When it comes to threats from the internet, few IT departments can compare to the security knowledge in the Silicon Valley companies.

When you hear about security being hacked in the news, it is almost always a company that has chosen to keep its IT in house.

Conclusion

In general, businesses tend to avoid fixed costs to extent possible. In times of uncertainty such as today, it is even more valid.  Cloud hosted applications are a move in the direction of flexibility, reliability, and security.

In the sixties and the seventies there was a saying “Nobody ever got fired for going with IBM”. That saying indicated that IBM was considered the safest (least risky) choice when choosing a system. The corresponding saying in the 21st century might be “Nobody ever got fired for going with Oracle in the Cloud”.

 

 


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