The Dark Side of the Cloud Might Rain on Your Parade

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These days, if a CPM vendor doesn’t offer a cloud option, you should wonder about their commitment to the future of their own product.

While cloud is a reality, not all clouds deliver equal benefits. In fact, some are decidedly vendor-friendly, sacrificing customer security, flexibility, savings, and customer service in order to increase the vendor’s bottom line.

In theory, the cloud is beneficial to customers. Startup and deployment costs are reduced. Risk is minimized since you can cancel your month-to-month subscription at any time. And service is enhanced, since your vendor and you can collaborate directly on your application, rather than through an IT intermediary and firewall.

BEWARE! Depending on your vendor’s priorities, i.e., profit vs. customer satisfaction, each of these theoretical benefits has a dark side.

Savings: Your vendor may insist you sign a multi-year contract, thereby negating the month-to-month escape option. Furthermore, your Total Cost (TCO) over two or three years may far exceed alternatives.

Flexibility: “Vendor-centric” clouds lump your data into a shared (read “commingled”) repository. While the vendor enjoys a faster and cheaper setup of new customers and a smaller infrastructure, you, the customer, experience great compromise to the flexibility of your solution.

Customer Service: Yes, even in the most confining cloud architecture, in theory, turnaround on support requests should be very fast. However, in a commingled data and metadata environment, their ability to help will be limited due to the necessity that your modifications must be tested across other customers.

Security: For some, security is the most critical issue. Arguably, a cloud setup can be nearly as secure as on-premise. The combination of a dedicated database, an isolated virtual machine, and a rigorous security policy compares favorably with a setup behind your firewall. The concern arises when your cloud vendor begins commingling your data and metadata. This setup may benefit the vendor’s business model scalability, but it raises questions about the many opportunities for a security breach.

At A3 Solutions, we approach the cloud differently.

First, while we encourage customers to choose the cloud for all of the benefits illustrated below, we understand that some customers are simply not ready. For those, we offer an On-Premise option.

Second: We do NOT commingle customer data…EVER. As you can see by the table and “radar chart” below, our setup delivers the optimal mix of benefits to you, the customer, by using dedicated virtual servers, rather than a shared database infrastructure.

So when a vendor proudly presents their cloud-based solution, don’t forget to ask questions. Is your move to the cloud more about benefits to your business or your vendor’s bottom line?

About A3 Solutions and A3 Customers

A3 Solutions is the developer of A3 Modeling, the leading spreadsheet automation platform for web-based Enterprise Budgeting and Corporate Performance Management solutions. More flexible, with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than competing products, A3 Modeling is available as a SaaS and On-Premise offering that tightly integrates with leading enterprise OLAP and relational database technology from Oracle/Hyperion and Microsoft.

To find out how American Airlines, Avon, Cox Communications, McDonald’s, Safeway, Toyota, Williams Sonoma, Verizon, and other Fortune 1000 enterprises use A3 Modeling to align their organizations, accelerate decision-making, and turn strategy into action, visit or call 1 (415) 302-0158.

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