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Enterprise technology providers such as SAP and Oracle have fully embraced the cloud, but there are still plenty concerns to address from customers over cloud-based services.
For starters, data security still seems to be a pervasive issue in the eyes of customers. But are those security concerns justified? Or are there other things that customers should focus on when moving to the cloud—perhaps other potential headaches surrounding integration, licensing or weighing the actual benefits that cloud services may provide?
For a startup like MediaFly, the benefits of a cloud provider certainly outweighed any security concerns that may have existed over data in the cloud. In an ASUGNews Studio interview, MediaFly CFO John Evarts said security concerns exist no matter where your data is housed.
“Moving to the cloud won’t necessarily mitigate [security issues],” Evarts said, “but the reality is the cloud providers have the most cyber-security professionals on staff of anyone.”
The use of Ariba has helped MediaFly become more efficient and grow. From a day-to-day perspective, Evarts has saved time with e-invoicing and online payments. He says without those, he and his small staff of six would have to make collection calls to customers after sending out paper invoices—sometimes up to six times each—to get paid. The process with Ariba is faster and that means money arrives faster—another huge benefit for a startup or small company that needs all the help it can get with financials.
From a broader perspective, Evarts added that the cloud has been key to MediaFly’s ability to operate.
“What we’ve found is the reason why we’ve been able to scale, the reason why we’ve been able to service some of the largest companies in the world, is because we’ve been implementing and testing, and leveraging the cloud since 2006,” Evarts noted.
But what about a large company with even more data—can fears over cloud security be too much? Ginger McCullough of grocer Brookshire’s said in an ASUGNews Studio interview there were concerns internally over moving data into SuccessFactors when the company implemented a learning management system for 14,000 employees.
SuccessFactors was implemented despite those concerns, and Brookshire’s has reaped the rewards of moving training into the cloud. Employees are attending trainings more often with better results. In fact, the number of employees that graduated from Brookshire’s internal university nearly quadrupled over the past year.
In the same studio segment, Luke Marson of HRIZONS said he hears concerns from customers over cloud security, but often the issues aren’t based on much, and the more genuine concerns have to do with integrating the cloud.
“From a technology perspective, maybe you’ve got the SAP Portal and then you want to run SuccessFactors,” said Marson. “Although it has single sign-on, sometimes the user experience is not quite aligned—they’re very different in terms of their design and how those are used—and that can be a bit of challenge as well not just from the data but the process integration and user experience integration.”
That’s an important point for SAP. While it certainly will need to handle the concerns that customers have over data security in the cloud, the real work will come down to getting its own offerings to work seamlessly with any new cloud company it may purchase—be it SuccessFactors, Ariba or a growing list of others.