Why the cloud is winning
With effortless information security and regular enhancements to software functionality, it’s easy to see why cloud-based software services are increasingly the first choice for companies.
Technology research and advisory company Gartner predicts that cloud-based services will become the default for software use by 2020. This trend is already evident in product development, where the most active investments are now being made in cloud-based software services.
“Companies used to be concerned about using cloud-based services, mainly for information security reasons. However, the expected threats largely did not materialize and company attitudes towards the cloud have changed considerably in recent years,” says Timo Tamminen, Information Security Manager at Opus Capita. “Now firms are beginning to realize that the providers of cloud-based services often have stronger resources than the firms do themselves, especially when it comes to ensuring the reliability and information security of even the most critical functions.”
Many services are in fact now being offered to companies primarily as cloud-based solutions. OpusCapita is also actively developing SaaS solutions for Extended Purchase-to-Pay, including cash management, invoice automation, eProcurement and product information management.
Major security benefits
Acquiring software as a cloud-based service offers many advantages in terms of security, as cloud-based environments comply with best practices and strict standards. For example, the production environment of OpusCapita’s SaaS service is certified in accordance with the ISAE 3402 standard (Type I and Type II). As service providers take care of information security and maintain the software and the environment in a centralized way, they can often offer more comprehensive resources than in-house data centers can.
“The server environment is continuously monitored and any threats can be rapidly addressed,” says Tamminen. “OpusCapita’s SaaS environment is regularly tested by a third party for vulnerabilities and susceptibility to attacks. When was your company’s IT environment last time tested by a third party for vulnerabilities?”
Companies used to keep their business-critical applications away from the cloud to avoid information leaks. However, a cloud-based platform can actually protect companies against abuse, especially as most security breaches come from within the organization. In the Nordic countries, for example, around half of all financial misconduct, such as payment fraud, is carried out by a company’s own employees. In other words, local software installations may actually increase risks.
New functionalities without delay
SaaS solutions are also automatically updated, meaning that they are always running the latest versions. In addition, duplicate server environments bring reliability and prevent software disruptions.
“Software tends to be updated more often now, which can mean more work and additional costs for in-house IT departments if installations take place locally,” says Tamminen. “Cloud-based services free up considerable resources from infrastructure and software maintenance, and these can be used to support business operations in a new way.”
“The cloud is the quickest way to get the newest features for our solutions,” says Henri Wiik, Product Marketing Manager for invoice automation at OpusCapita. “Instead of waiting for annual version updates, companies can start using improved software and the latest functionalities immediately – even as often as once a month.”
Sourcing the best of the best
Another reason for the popularity of cloud-based solutions is the postmodern ERP trend. Instead of relying on a single supplier and service package, companies are now sourcing the best application for each business process from a specialized supplier.
“The availability and easy integration of cloud-based solutions have strengthened this trend,” says Tamminen. “When provided as cloud-based services, these best-of-breed applications also save companies’ time and money, as local installation and maintenance are unnecessary.”
SaaS solutions are easy to employ and they scale up easily. This is one of their major advantages in an increasingly international and more rapidly changing operating environment.
“For example, companies can quickly start using standard invoice automation functionalities in one country, and then later expand the solution to cover other areas. Cloud-based services also make organizations more agile and support their growth,” says Wiik.
››› Valmet transferred its global payments to the cloud and was impressed by the high level of information security.