Cloud Myth # 5: The cloud is one-size fits all

After dispelling a number of myths surrounding cloud computing it is time to conclude the series.

If you want to see the series continued then by all means let us know what you consider are some of the biggest misconceptions and we’ll look to address them!

Would you choose a grocer for you family’s requirements that only sell vegetables in 50kg bags? Would you frequent a café that only sold fried eggs, forget tea, the sausage, bacon and mushrooms?  As both fail to cater to individuals’ requirements it would be highly likely that they would not be very busy. For many their experience and understanding of business cloud computing is based on pretty much the same ‘one size fits all’ offering.

If this were the reality for all cloud solutions it would be totally unacceptable. Firstly the inability to adjust software would not be received well by executives who require solutions that support evolving strategy and organisational nuances. Additionally the business community would not want to be wholly tethered to the vendor’s philosophy on how best to adapt to the fast-pace nature of external markets.

While this is still the model for some vendors, it is not the case for all, if it were I think cloud ERP would be non-existent. While some processes are commoditised many of the business services that ERP underpin are complex, they are impacted by internal and external forces. We realised this early on at UNIT4, in fact we market ourselves as “the global leader in software that supports business change”. So it will come as no surprise to you that early on (our first cloud solutions date back to 1998) we did everything we could to incorporate flexibility to our cloud solutions, we are the antithesis to one size fits all. Our clients can configure the cloud the way they need it.

It has to be that way; the organisations we work with provide diverse services in incredibly changeable sectors.  Of course other vendors who jumped on the cloud bandwagon are also belatedly jumping on the flexibility message. We would advise any potential ERP buyer to road test promises and ask for any associated change costs. For UNIT4 the unique architecture of our software allows organisations to make extensive configurations largely in house without the need to call upon external consultants. Similarly configurations are fast and with minimal business disruption.

So as this series draws to conclusion I think it fitting that we have addressed perhaps the most damaging myth and highlighted that the truth, in combination with cloud’s other benefits, is perhaps the most powerful of features, you just have to choose the right vendor!

Learn more here about cloud computing with UNIT4.

UNIT4 sponsors Finance for the Future awards

Few would question the need to protect and build the health and stability of our communities and the natural environment and the role businesses can play in that effort. Greater focus needs to be placed on encouraging sustainability in all areas of an organisation’s strategy, operations and reporting and it was with these things in mind that The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and ICAEW launched the Finance for the Future awards.

The awards celebrate the crucial role financial decision-makers play in embedding sustainability into business-wide operations and strategy and in changing how business is conducted. They highlight the importance of the role that the finance team plays in helping businesses achieve positive long-term financial, environmental, social and economic impacts. Entrants are judged on their ability to demonstrate how managing environmental and social impacts has helped to make their organisation more resilient and financially sustainable.

Helen Sutton, UK & Ireland Managing Director for UNIT4, explains why the business was so keen to get involved and sponsor these awards: “Long term economic success is dependent on the health and stability of our communities and the natural environment and we all need to look at how we conduct and run our operations and how we all plan for the future. As a provider of financial and business systems, we pride ourselves on the ability of our solutions to facilitate and adapt to change quickly and with minimal disruption. So we are very keen to see where we can help further the efforts being made by HRH The Prince of Wales and the ICAEW and to help drive change such that sustainability in all areas of business operations becomes the norm. ”

UNIT4 sponsored the Innovative New Ideas category and Helen presented the award to Threadneedle Investments, a global asset manager with a strong reputation in equities, fixed income, commodities, property, socially responsible investments and multi-asset. They invest £92.8 billion for a wide range of institutional, intermediary and retail clients. Their approach is active, client-focussed and performance driven. This is underpinned by their culture of debate, sharing of knowledge and communication.

To meet the growing need for social investment in the UK, Threadneedle has partnered with Big Issue Invest to launch the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund. The first fund of its kind with daily liquidity, the UK Social Bond Fund aims to achieve both a solid investment return and a positive social outcome by investing in fixed income securities of organisations that support socially beneficial activities and economic development.

Helen said: “We would like to congratulate all those who took part in these awards. These organisations and their teams are doing some really inspiring things to change the culture of our society as a whole in terms of how we approach and do business. They are helping to build a sustainable future for the people they work with and for, the services and solutions they offer and for our wider economic and environmental well-being.”

Wigan Council selects Invoice4 to drive process efficiency and cost reduction

UNIT4 has announced that Wigan Council has purchased the UNIT4 Invoice4 solution as part of its objectives to drive process efficiency, automation and transformation within the Accounts Payable and Purchase to Pay processes.

The Invoice4 solution will enable the council to scan incoming paper invoices and automatically import invoices that are received by email, once imported the Invoice4 solution will use intelligent data capture technologies to extract key information and identify invoice exceptions at the earliest opportunity. By adopting Invoice4, purchase invoices will be received into the UNIT4 ERP solution faster, with less effort and greater accuracy. It will also provide easy and rapid access to the electronic images held in the council’s existing UNIT4 ERP solution and deliver a structured process for managing highlighted exceptions.

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Get ready – 2015 will be the year of the digital switchover

2015 is set to be a stand-out year in one of the biggest shake-ups in business software we’ve ever seen. A new Gartner report titled: “Predicts 2015: ERP and Enterprise Applications in the Digital World” focuses on the requirement for ERP leaders to enable digital business to respond to “business moments” with greater and greater speed.

The move to ‘postmodern ERP,’ as Gartner calls it, has begun and we believe 2015 will be the year of the digital switchover for many. Organisations will look more closely at their enterprise computing strategies with a new digital mind-set, a new focus on customer service and usability. Where they stop signing the cheques for the software they have been unhappy with for the last few years or longer and start to believe in a new way of doing things.

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The 7 Sins of Christmas – Festive HR headaches and how to avoid them

December can be an unusual month for businesses. Many departments’ focus has shifted to the coming year, budgets are being finalised, sales are closing deals rather than seeking out new opportunities and there can be an air of winding-down as Christmas approaches.

But one department that certainly won’t be easing off is HR. There is no let-up in demand for managers’ time and skills. So, with seasonal headaches vying with festive calamities for attention, what should the prudent HR manager get ready for this Christmas?

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