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ERP's are "real time", like these cloud apps, even when they don't go through the cloud. The cloud simply provides accessability. That can be accomplished through direct cabling, phone lines, etc. can it not? (Webinar Attendee Question)

This question was asked by an attendee during the Proformative webinar "Driving Productivity in Finance: Aligning People, Process and Technology in the Cloud" held on August 28, 2012.  A video of the webinar can be viewed here:


Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |

Direct cabling might get you access to the application on your own servers but by being accessible thru a browser it can be accessed from anywhere in the world and in certain cases on many types of devices (e.g. Tablet or smart phone). The application is not on your servers but on the servers of the ERP vendor.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

By definition, a "cloud" ERP (or other system) is not located inside your own office. It is located, as Joan indicated above, on servers that are remote from you and can be accessed, in simple terms, via an internet or wireless connection, anywhere, anytime.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I have to somewhat disagree with Len, in that the "cloud" is just a fancy name for the Internet, and you can have a "cloud" in your office.

How robust, secure, fast, redundant, etc is another story. That being said, just because something says it's in the "cloud" doesn't mean that they are any more or less robust, etc.,. then what you can do.

What ever you do, determine your needs through a best practice approach, and then research all the alternatives.

Topic Expert
Donald Koscheka
Title: Principal
Company: Bluecloud Communications
(Principal, Bluecloud Communications) |

The short answer is YES, you can implement on-premise solutions that will give you the same access that you get from the cloud (VPN, Extranets, etc). But access-anywhere is not the only reason you implement cloud solutions. Consider the economics first - cloud solutions can generally be less expensive because you don't need to commit all the capital required to maintain a data center.

Cloud vendors are also likely to be more secure - they need to invest heavily in threat management, and because they can amortize these costs across hundreds or thousands of customers, they can invest heavily while keeping your costs down.

If you provide access to your on-premise systems via direct cabling, phone lines, etc. you need to implement interfaces that can route external users to your servers. This increases your attack surface - you've given hackers an access point that they can attempt to exploit.

Yes, you can secure these systems using off-the-shelf software, but you still need people with deep secuirty expertise to manage your security. It is my experience that most companies cannot afford the costs associated with solid threat management and would actually be more secure in the cloud.

Topic Expert
Richard Claiborn
Title: CFO
Company: In Transition
(CFO, In Transition) |

The cloud versus in-house systems refer to where applications and data are stored. Getting to the applications and data require some combination of cabling, wireless, internet connectivity and related infrastructure regardless. Real-time simply means that information is collected at the points of transaction as they occur. Whether you are operating a single plant or warehouse or a multi-unit national operation, you will have to support some level of infrastructure to gather transaction information as it occurs and put it where it can be used and secured.

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