ERP in the cloud: CFOs see the value of running enterprise applications as a service.

Author:Miranda, Steven
Position:TECH STRATEGY - Enterprise resource planning - Chief financial officers

Heading into 2013, it's time to clear up some lingering misconceptions about chief financial officers and technology, starting with the belief that CFOs don't "get" the cloud. The reality is that CFOs not only understand the cloud's benefits, but are embracing it faster and more broadly than many originally thought possible, including new services such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the cloud.

The skepticism and uncertainty finance executives felt at the beginning of this decade about moving their mission-critical enterprise systems to the cloud is fading, replaced with a growing enthusiasm for the financial flexibility and freedom that comes from using the cloud's modular, pay-as-you-go approach to accessing the latest technology innovations.

Several recent surveys detail why CFOs are increasingly open to moving their enterprise applications into the cloud. For example, a 2012 survey by Financial Executives Research Foundation (ERF) and technology advisory firm Gartner found that 53 percent of CFOs believe that more than half of their enterprise transactions will be delivered through software-as-a-service over the next four years, up from 12 percent today.

In addition, almost 70 percent of CFOs surveyed in 2012 by Oracle Corp. said they would consider moving to a cloud-based version of their core enterprise software.

Some of the reasons CFOs cite in favor of cloud-based ERP services include the resource allocation flexibility that comes with avoiding large upfront investments in the early phases of an ERP deployment, the ability to avoid fixed capital investments during periods of corporate or economic uncertainty and timely access to the latest software


The fact that traditionally risk-averse CFOs are open to moving their mission-critical ERP systems into the cloud should be a clear indication to all companies that ERP cloud services are fast becoming the go-to strategy for finance executives looking to access the latest technologies quickly and cost-effectively to support their corporate objectives.


CFOs are becoming more actively involved in the selection and deployment of ERP cloud services because both they and their management teams have high expectations for the benefits they can achieve with the cloud. The Oracle survey of CFOs supports that finding, with 68 percent indicating that they or their CEOs were responsible for the acquisition or deployment of cloud...

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