Not all cloud is created equal

Cloud solutions should be ‘made to measure’

When consumers submit an online banking payment the chances are they don’t give a second thought as to whether the bank has enough computing capacity to accommodate their transaction. And done right, that’s the beauty of cloud computing – nobody has to be concerned about processing capacity and performance – it’s taken care of.

But CFOs face a bewildering choice of vendor solutions and not all cloud deployment options are born equal. Added to which Corporate Performance Management (CPM) is particularly demanding. CPM is the bedrock of financial reporting and decision-making and as such it is important that the ‘extensibility’ of modern CPM applications, designed to accommodate organizational, accounting and compliance complexity is equally matched by dependable performance in the cloud.

Extensibility versus cloud-elasticity

The concept of extensibility allows organizations to expand their applications (horizontal and vertical dimensions) to accommodate specific complexity without building extra applications. Hardware and infrastructure needs to mirror this, for example, by enabling more resources as data needs and concurrent users expand. But sometimes capacity needs to be more elastic, expanding to accommodate peak processing (month end or year end) and retracting at other times. And for other more granular and critically time-dependent processes at the leading edge of decision-making, capacity may need to be increased on demand.

The trouble is that many hosted and managed services rely on rigid infrastructures positioned in the cloud. Extra capacity means provisioning extra hardware – just like it did on premises, with all of the delay and disruption that this entails. For the unwary it can simply mean replicating the limitations of on-premise systems but in the cloud instead.

So how can CFOs ensure an affordable and appropriate level of elasticity and performance to responsively meet fluctuating demand?

The importance of the platform

The answer lies in the choice of platform and OneStream leverages one of the foremost platforms in the cloud space, the Microsoft Azure® PaaS (Platform as a Service) for its XF Cloud solution. It’s a seamless technology stack which provides computing capacity on demand. It means that businesses only pay for what they need, yet it retains almost 100 percent uptime. The addition of 64 Bit, in-memory processing, multicore processing and the ability to resize the environment within minutes also means that the platform can respond to the most demanding computational or decision-making environments. In tests, OneStream found that “performance is nothing short of amazing. Microsoft can move servers around and swap resources while we are running massive processes and we never miss a beat.”

 

 

Controlling your destiny

In the cloud, flexibility also extends to operational matters but the so called, “Public Cloud” (renting software for a monthly subscription) has its pitfalls. For business critical applications such as CPM it’s important that organizations can decide, what functionality they need, as well as, when and if to upgrade it. And of course there will always be nagging doubts about the confidentiality of market sensitive data when sharing applications with other businesses on the same platform. Public cloud platforms may be elastic but organizations should not be required to compromise on functionality.

For the modern finance function seeking to automate CPM processes, PaaS offerings such as the Microsoft Azure platform provide exactly the performance needed to process complex business applications while keeping plenty in reserve. But smart CFOs know that unlike public cloud solutions they do not have to surrender control. They can have a solution that from all points of view is ‘made to measure’.