How to Evaluate the various Cloud-Based Business Management Software alternatives for your Company

Over the past few years, the number Cloud-Computing
of cloud based business services have been
growing at an exponential rate.

According to a study conducted by firm, 451 Research,
the cloud computing market is expected to grow at a
compounded annual growth rate
of 36% from now through 2016.

By this time, the overall size of the market is expected to be $19.5 billion.
This is a gold rush of sorts for investors looking to tap into new markets.
Given the circumstances, it is not surprising to find new cloud-based
business management services cropping up every day.

This presents a terrific opportunity and danger to businesses. The sheer number of
new providers means a problem of plenty which is always welcome when you want to
evaluate features and services. However, what this also means is that there are a massive
number of new entrants in the market who may not last long enough. So how do you
pick the right cloud service for your business. Here are some pointers to look at.

Cost Of Service:
The first and foremost thing to compare and evaluate is definitely the price.
The reason is simple – the most important reason for businesses to migrate from
traditional business management systems to cloud computing is the cost benefit on offer.
A service that does not offer this benefit does not truly provide the ROI that this software migration seeks to achieve.
Having said that, it is also true that you get what you pay for. It is always better to go with a high priced
service that is more reliable than the cheapest alternative that goes down every second day.
The best way to find a balance is to start off with a business objective – how much money are you
looking to save through your migration to the cloud? Based on this, make a list of all cloud service
providers that satisfy this criteria. Once done, go through the rest of the checklist below to finalize the provider.

Service Assistance:
Although the decision to migrate from one technology provider to another is taken by the in-house
IT department, the end users of the service are often employees from other teams like Finance,
HR and Operations. These employees are not tech savvy and so will need a great level of assistance.

Even though cloud-based systems do not need an in-house technology support team
to handle these requests, it is a good idea to sign up with a service provider that has
an extensive support network. An example of this is NetSuite, the popular cloud-based
business management provider.

This service has a network of NetSuite partners who work with businesses to
help them implement and run the services seamlessly on their enterprise networks.
Such a support network is especially useful for businesses that do not want to hire
in-house IT teams to deploy the technology systems.

Downtimes and Performance Guarantees:
Server downtimes are inevitable fallout of migrating to a cloud-based business management service.
However, what matters is how frequent these downtimes are going to be and what the provider
guarantees in such instances. At the outset, it might seem sensible to go with a provider that offers 100% uptime.
But often times, the Service Level Agreements may define uptime in a way that is different from
what the customer might expect. So, before you finalize on a provider based on their uptime
guarantees, procure a draft SLA from the various providers and critically analyze
how the downtimes are addressed.

Evaluating the service provider on the above factors helps the business benchmark
these providers on the 3 Ps – Price, Performance and Partnership. This is critical to
ensure the daily operations of the business are carried out as seamlessly as possible.