It was described as “The worst outage in cloud computing history”.
Amazon’s US data centres recently took a massive hit resulting in an outage over the 2011 Easter break.
It resulted in trouble for thousands of customers and businesses alike with the cause being pitched as an “unknown network event”.
Although Amazon Web Services are back online, the occurrence poses a number of questions, few of which have been asked before.
For the purpose of this discussion we’ll focus on Cloud Accounting. The reason I make this distinction is that the benefits and risks associated to Cloud Accounting are very different to those of Cloud Media Storage and the like.
Let’s take a look at the two most popular Cloud Accounting solutions in Australia today and their target market:
- MYOB LiveAccounts. $25.00 per month. Aimed at micro business, sole traders and small sporting/community groups.
- Xero Accounting. $29.00 – $64.00 per month. Aimed at micro and small businesses.
The 3rd option once you’ve outgrown the baby brothers of Cloud Accounting is of courseNetsuite with both upfront and ongoing costs associated to taking the leap with some arguing this poses bigger financial AND reliability risks.
It’s fair to say that the cost savings associated to not having to implement a server, having no upfront software cost and not having to invest any time in upgrades and customisation have huge appeal. But are you really saving?
Most Cloud vendors will guarantee you 99.9% uptime meaning 0.1% is allocated to failures. This equates to 8 hours and 45 minutes of outage a year. Regardless of business size, every organisation, big or small, will be sensitive to ANY downtime in a year.
Once a business becomes a certain size and has sufficient complexities around business processes there will come a point where Cloud Accounting solutions simply won’t cut it.
It’s fair to say that quick customisation, robust performance and scalability are all appealing facets of larger scales ERPs, almost all of which require the software to be installed on a server, not run from the cloud.
Having software that adapts to your business processes and will change for YOU is a nonnegotiable requirement of any mid-sized enterprise and Cloud Accounting solutions all too often don’t offer this flexibility.
NON CLOUD ERP SOLUTIONS
Yes, the costs are greater but the risks associated with Cloud Accounting solutions for any mid-sized enterprise are far too great.
And let’s face it, if you’re big enough to deem a Cloud Accounting solution too small, you’re likely to have the available funds to make the leap to an ERP and bask in the long term wins that go hand in hand with many SQL solutions on the market today.
Cloud Accounting solutions offer supreme value for money but all too often the true pro’s and con’s, scalability and suitability are overlooked.