Earlier in the week I had a conversation with Chris Kenny, VP operations at Chambers Gasket. He told me about a situation where thieves literally ripped out the network at their business, leaving them with no access to information for five days. This was business critical because in their case, customers expect to be advised about works order progress within three days.
Chambers Gasket was already considering a switch to cloud financials because they were finding that their legacy Mapics system was costing significant sums in upgrade costs which were forced upon the company because the vendor would only support those customers that are on the latest product release. The company was already making use of Salesforce and was looking for something that was compatible - that's where FinancialForce.com fits in.
One of the key attributes of cloud applications is that upgrades are delivered seamlessly to the customer, subject to sandbox testing and are part of the subscription offering. What's more and as Kenny points out, a cloud system means avoiding the kinds of problem that a physical theft imply. "We could have worked from home, or Starbucks," he says.
The flipside though is that cloud customers are at the mercy of the vendor and as I pointed out, an outage at the vendor's data center could impact operations. He reports that he has never experienced and impact from unplanned outage and is more than happy that when systems maintenance is required, they are advised when it will occur and that its current vendor keeps to their promises of downtime length.
Kenny argues that successful cloud implementations require the active involvement of consultants that understand the model and are prepared to stand up for customer needs. That makes sense.
Check the video above but please excuse the background noise - it was shot at FinancialForce's customer day. It was a very busy venue.
Disclosure: Salesforce and FinancialForce.com are premier partners at the time of writing
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