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Should cloud apps always be kept as vanilla as possible, or should you customize freely? (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) |

Customers should have the flexibility to create customized user experiences which they would be able to do using client-side scripting like javascript. For security and upgrade purposes, it is not really practical for vendors to allow for changes to server-side code.

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

To add to the previous comment, one of the benefits of a cloud application is that it is updated automatically; as such you would not want to make changes as this would affect future upgrades

STEPHANE CURCIO
Title: Senior Treasury Consultant
Company: Kyriba Corp
(Senior Treasury Consultant, Kyriba Corp) |

To continue on Donald's expertise, one of the key concerns around app (especially when dealing with core corporate applications such as cash or accounting) is the security of local data. If the look and feel of the app is freely changed by the user, it should not be of any concern.
If, however, the original access to the data and the recording of customer or corporate data on the phone or tablet (present or not, encrypted or not, layout or financial data, etc.) can be changed by the user, it starts representing a risk for both vendor and company.

Number of cloud vendors are now using best-of-breed remote access software (such as Citrix XenApp/Receiver or MS RemoteApp) to publish their core application on non-desktop media without compromising on security (the data is still on the cloud servers and the user needs sign-on) and allowing similar flexibility as the desktop application (if the application allows it, of course).

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