When it comes to EPM, the old adage, “You only get what you pay for” doesn’t apply. You can actually get a lot more — if you move your on-premises EPM (or your Hyperion finance) solution to the cloud.
Over the past years Strafford has helped dozens of companies move their on-premises Hyperion finance solutions to a cloud-based EPM environment such as Oracle Cloud. In all cases these companies’ CFOs were looking to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) and also extract more of EPM’s potential value as measured by better financial decisions that return more money to the bottom line. That opportunity comes about due to the extra value-add benefits these companies get that would either be impossible with an on-prem EPM implementation or too expensive.
No Hardware or Software InvestedBy now, this is a familiar story, but no less true. With on-prem EPM you write a lot of big checks — both at the start and later — basically whenever you need to expand or refresh your EPM technology infrastructure. With EPM as a service, the checks are much smaller — which is better for your cash flow and more predictable, and so easier to manage. The same goes for patches and upgrades, which are included in the service fee at no extra cost.
The recent passage of the 2017 Tax overhaul bill has brought the question as to whether you should use OpEx or CapEx for your EPM application investment. We recommend moving EPM to the cloud to leverage it as an OpEx investment.
Less Delay and DisruptionBecause there is no hardware or software to install, there’s also no waiting for the hardware or software to be installed, and therefore no disruption of day-to-day business operations as vendors move in equipment, set it up, install software, and make sure everything is running as it should. Again, the same applies to service and upgrades, which occur on schedule (i.e. no surprises) at pre-determined intervals.
On-Demand ScalabilityUnless you want to overspend on a lot of under-utilized technology that sits idle most of the time, your users will experience slowdowns whenever demand for application services goes beyond what your in-house EPM can handle well. Cloud-based EPM doesn’t have that problem since the pool of available resources is essentially infinite and always available on-demand (but you only pay for what you use).
Heightened Application SecurityCloud providers invest billions in their technology infrastructures, support thousands of client companies, and hire some of the world’s best cyber security experts. EPM clients benefit from all this investment and expertise without having to duplicate that level of security on their own.
EPM BackupsData backups are better in the cloud because cloud providers store them at redundant offsite locations typically thousands of miles apart. But cloud providers who are also EPM specialists do backups even better. Strafford, for example, builds its backup specifically for EPM. Every backup procedure includes data validation with multiple levels of granularity, including Oracle EPM exports, file copies, and instance backups — all of which are accessible for six months. Data can also be recovered from a requested time period between specific beginning and end dates.
EPM Help Desk SupportLikewise, when it comes to help desk support, technicians that are EPM experts (like Strafford’s) not only provide help on general technology issues but can also provide EPM-specific application support as well as support specific to a client company’s particular environment. Examples include help with chart of account changes, data mapping, report writing, and application customizations (such as business rule development).
EPM-tuned 24/7 Performance MonitoringFor many companies it would be prohibitively expensive to provide live 24/7 monitoring of their IT operations. But an EPM cloud provider goes even a step further, which is to make that 24/7 performance monitoring EPM-specific. That means that an issue that requires special EPM expertise to correct (like a business rule overtaxing the server), will get flagged and corrected before it impacts the client company’s end users.
Full Business and EPM Compliance SupportHere is another service outside the scope of on-prem EPM solutions: evidence of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. At Strafford, we issue a SOC 2 Type II report annually and provide annual application reviews and quarterly health checks for all of our clients. Change Management, ticketing, change control, system change auditing, and security controls have all been tightly integrated into our platform and our process. Again, this is a service CFOs would not normally expect from a vanilla cloud provider, never mind an on-prem EPM solution that their own company would be responsible for implementing and operating.
As you look over this list, a clear pattern emerges for why so many CFOs choose to forego an on-premises EPM solution in favor of one based in the cloud. It’s not just to garner cost savings, although that is certainly a key driver for financial decision makers. Many CFOs are also motivated by the opportunity to integrate an extra layer of EPM support services and expertise into their operations. In other words, the CFO wants a partner that goes beyond its technology role and helps the CFO succeed in his or her role.
Did we miss anything? Share what other value you see in migrating on-premises EPM to a managed services cloud.
Want to move Hyperion to the cloud?
Strafford is an Oracle Platinum Cloud Partner with over 15 years of experience implementing, upgrading, migrating and managing EPM applications. We’ve helped hundreds of finance teams improve the functions of financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation, reporting and analysis by helping them move Hyperion to the cloud. We are leaders in helping organizations transform their finance operation through the deployment of the latest cloud solutions for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Business Intelligence (BI).
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