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Do you know of any instances where internally developed software runs in the cloud alongside "packaged" cloud apps? If so, how does IT interact with the software to make patches, enhancements, etc? (Webinar Attendee Question)

This question was asked by an attendee during the Proformative webinar “Webinar Video: Best Practices for Evaluating and Selecting Accounting Software" held on February 13, 2013.  Please join the discussion and add your insights below.

A video of the webinar can be viewed here: https://www.proformative.com/resources/webinar-video-best-practices-evaluating-selecting-accounting-software

Answers

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

This is becoming a common scenario. For example, if you host SharePoint in the cloud, the cloud provider controls SharePoint administration but allows IT to deploy custom features using applets that are called "web parts".

A more industry standard scenario will be the ability to customize the user interface using client-side scripting (i.e. JavaScript). In this case the cloud vendor controls all their code but allows you to download and run scripts in your browser. Your IT department would be responsible for maintaining and updating the javascript.

For accounting systems, I believe that this is a best practice. There is no way that any software company can anticipate the business process needs of every one of their customers, so providing the ability to customize the user experience will be essential to the adoption of the accounting software.

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) |

This is a very relevant question if one considers a scenario where you may be using an Accounting system, say IntAcct, and need to integrate it with an e-commerce customer portal and order entry system or with a warehouse management system on your own network. The latter needs to pass data to the former and ideally you would want this to be system based, not dependent on humans copying/downloading and re-entering.

There are IT standard processes to do this (Donald has described some above); if you are looking at packaged cloud apps, you should also conduct a technical evaluation of the vendor's integration methodology-do they provide tools, and adhere to industry standards, to support application/data integration?. There are also SaaS/cloud apps to manage the integration (e.g. Boomi, or Cast Iron).

As more and more software migrates to a cloud model, integration between clouds is going to be more important, especialy if the software you need to use comes from multiple vendors.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

Cloud accounting software is essentially the core accounting system comparable to your current accounting system infrastructure managed by your DBA and business systems teams.

The apps you are talking about either integrate directly just like a bolt-on and configured third party system, or they do not.

So when you are considering the cloud based accounting system, you need to evaluate all the apps that you need to integrate into it just as if they belonged to the core system. The same as you would with your current infrastructure.

The evaluation and vetting process is not different just because it is cloud.

Cloud is simply thousands of partioned servers doing the job that your current infrastructure handles.

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