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A finance guide to Cloud software deployment
Blog //14-05-2024

A finance guide to Cloud software deployment

by Ben Franklin, Senior Content Executive

Over the past two years, Cloud solutions have experienced substantial growth, and this trend looks set to continue. According to Gartner, global end-user spending on public Cloud services is projected to reach an impressive $678.8 billion in 2024, representing substantial growth from $563.6 billion in 2023. Every segment of the Cloud market is expected to grow, and the financial realm is no exception.

However, deploying Cloud-based software is not without its challenges. Despite the hurdles, these should not deter you from advancing on your journey of transformation. With many organisations on the brink of Cloud-based software deployment, this article aims to give an overview of the dos and don'ts, while providing guidance for creating a strategic rollout plan and ensuring successful implementation.

Here are the topics we’ll cover in this guide.

Why do finance teams need Cloud deployment?

With the ongoing digital transformation in finance and the global integration of the workforce, adopting Cloud-based software solutions is no longer just a trend but a necessity for efficient operations. It allows access to applications and financial data in real-time, from anywhere with an internet connection. This remote accessibility fosters seamless communication and collaboration, facilitating effortless financial reporting, swift actions, and data-driven financial decisions.

Cloud-native software is inherently scalable, and its maintenance is often handled by service providers. The abundant financial benefits of Cloud technology further emphasise that transitioning to Cloud-hosted financial management solutions is a strategic and straightforward decision for finance teams.

In traditional software deployment, applications or systems are installed and run on local servers or individual computers within an organisation. Cloud software deployment involves making these applications and systems available and operational on Cloud infrastructure, where they are hosted and accessed through Cloud computing services. However, transitioning from an on-premise operating model is not an instantaneous process and a rollout plan is vital.

Important factors in planning Cloud software deployment

Planning plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of Cloud software deployment. Without strategic planning, the likelihood of encountering roadblocks that could potentially hinder or halt the implementation increases significantly.

A well-crafted rollout plan offers a structured roadmap. It considers all facets of the business, making the transition both seamless and efficient. Such a plan delineates steps and tasks, aligning them with organisational goals, budget constraints, and specified timelines. Additionally, it assesses potential risks, preparing the company to effectively navigate foreseeable challenges, preventing bottlenecks and delays.

Major challenges often faced by organisations during the migration from legacy systems include security concerns, software incompatibility, and integration issues with existing systems. A rollout plan incorporates a testing phase to scrutinise the functionality, performance, and security of the Cloud software.

This testing phase proves instrumental in identifying and addressing issues before widespread deployment, ensuring the establishment of a stable and reliable system. Given that finance significantly influences the entire business, having a rollout plan becomes indispensable.

Key steps for successful Cloud deployment

When developing a rollout plan, it's crucial CFOs keep in mind the technology, the evolving landscape of finance and accounting, and their implications for the individuals involved. Here are some essential steps that should ideally be included in your rollout plan.

1.       Establishing goals and targets

This is the first step to creating any plan, wherein you identify the requirements as well as the goals the organisation is aiming to achieve through Cloud software implementation. During this stage, Objectives and Key Results (OKR), Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and any other success metrics being used are precisely defined.

For overarching objectives, it’s imperative to break them into specific, measurable objectives, enabling an evaluation of deployment progress. This initial step is pivotal, providing a common goal for your team to work towards and allowing you to define what success looks like.

2.       Estimating costs and resource requirements

The initial costs associated with transitioning to Cloud services must be calculated in fine detail to ensure stakeholders are well-informed and adequately prepared with the necessary budgets. These costs may include routine setup assistance from the service provider's customer success team. They guide you through each deployment stage, share best practices, and ensure a seamless rollout process.

 The initial costs will be far outweighed by the long-term benefits of Cloud capabilities but be sure to attain the return on investment (ROI) figures to qualm any stakeholder fears.

3.       Readiness and risk assessment

Evaluating your organisation's existing infrastructure, applications, and processes for Cloud compatibility is a crucial step. This assessment informs you of any necessary modifications or lacking requirements and provides insights into your organisation's readiness for software implementation. It allows you time to make adjustments and prepare in advance, preventing the need for last-minute changes after deployment.

Following this evaluation, the next key phase involves risk management and identifying any potential future threats such as compliance issues and vendor reliability. It’s important to avoid common mistakes that may arise during your software rollout. Pre-empting these challenges is extremely valuable.

4.       Developing a project plan and rollout timeline

Creating a thorough project plan with clear tasks, timelines, and milestones is a must for a successful rollout process. Identifying key players from different departments, allocating resources, defining the project's scope, and having rollout deadlines is crucial. This breaks the project into smaller tasks, offering a structured plan for execution, monitoring, and control. It ensures logical task sequencing and efficient resource use.

5.       Software testing

In this phase, rigorous testing is conducted in a controlled environment, assessing the software for various parameters including performance, security, and user acceptance. Any issues or bugs identified during testing can be addressed before proceeding with deployment.

6.       Team training

Even the best technology will fail if employees are unable to use it. Employee training is as crucial as having the software itself. For optimal product utilisation, familiarise end-users through training sessions. Additionally, train IT teams to manage and maintain Cloud resources effectively. Training is often conducted by the service provider's customer success team.

7.       Internal communications

Having transparent communication with all the stakeholders is paramount. Providing regular updates on progress, challenges, and successes creates an atmosphere of collaboration. This open channel of communication ensures that all team members, spanning from end-users to IT professionals, remain synchronised throughout the deployment process.

Regular progress reports not only cultivate trust but also encourage stakeholders to actively participate, fostering a shared sense of responsibility and unity towards the ultimate objective.

Cloud system implementation checklist

Here’s an infographic depicting general financial system implementation checklist including key tasks at various stages of the implementation process.

Cloud system implementation checklist infographic

The three Cloud deployment models

Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are the most commonly used Cloud service models. SaaS delivers software applications on a subscription basis, hosted by providers and eliminating the need for user updates. IaaS offers virtual computing resources, with the service provider hosting infrastructure components, providing users control over the operating system, applications, and frameworks. PaaS furnishes an internet platform for application development, featuring updated tools without user infrastructure management. Either the organisation or the vendor manages servers, storage, and networking in PaaS, allowing developers to focus on application management.

Having an understanding of these models can help you to choose the right Cloud service for your business, based on your specific needs. PaaS frequently depends on IaaS for its foundational infrastructure, although their functions differ. Additionally, there may be a potential overlap between SaaS and PaaS if a SaaS provider utilises PaaS for the creation and delivery of their applications.

Post-deployment actions

To ensure the ongoing success of the Cloud financial software deployment, the work doesn't end with the software rollout. Post-deployment checks and monitoring are crucial for sustained success.

Tools should be implemented to monitor the performance of the deployed software, tracking response times, resource utilisation, and overall system efficiency. Security protocols must be audited and updated regularly to protect the system against cyber threats. It’s also necessary to test backup and recovery processes to ensure data integrity and the ability to restore the system to a previous state in case of unexpected failures.

Implementing Cloud financial software

Financials is a Cloud-based financial management software that offers you the flexibility of remote access. You can confidently access the latest financial data from any location at any time.

It is based on one of the most trusted Cloud platforms in the world, the Amazon Web Services. Operating on a SaaS model, Financials ensures you get all the upgrades and enhancements in real-time.

Having strong integration capabilities, it offers a seamless integration with a wide range of other products, enhancing its functionality and user experience. There’s also open architecture allowing it to integrate with various ERP systems, CRM tools, and other business software.

This innovative technology enhances workflow automation, reduces manual processes, increases efficiency, and much more. Check out Financials for a smooth transition to scalable Cloud financial implementation.

 

Blog Blog Financial Management Advanced Financials Cloud
Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin

PUBLISHED BY

Senior Content Executive

Ben joined OneAdvanced in February 2021, bringing a wealth of research and writing experience with him. He is responsible for creating thought-provoking and insightful content for those in the finance space. Ben has become a financial sector expert through his extensive research, interactions with customers, and exposure to our accounting solutions.

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