Cloud implementation in weeks or months instead of years: a boast?

Cloud vendors often write and say very loudly and proudly that their solutions can be implemented much faster than on-premise applications. Is it true and under which conditions?

The conditions

There are four critical conditions:

  • No specifics (or few)
  • No localization (or few already known)
  • No interface to other applications
  • No data migration beyond user definition

No specifics (or few)

The speed of cloud implementation is based on standard functions. It is part of the game. So, if you want to go fast, don’t develop or configure specifics.

Often, SaaS vendors provide you with the capacity to configure specific business rules. But to do this, you need to define them, implement them (or have the vendor build a solution), and test them. And it takes time, or at least more time than the baseline provided by the vendor. If you want to go fast, manage specifics outside the solution (at least in the beginning).

No localization (or few already known)

Many Cloud solutions will require adaptations to fit local legislations or industry specific rules. In many solutions, the provider has been some localization but will require you to confirm that it is valid in your situation. From the vendor’s perspective, there are so many rules applicable to a customer that he doesn’t want to be legally responsible of your specifics. Unless he is extremely specialized.

Again, the SaaS vendor will provide you with the capacity to configure local rules. He will maybe provide a template with rules extracted from previous customers. But definition and testing will be your responsibility. And again, it will increase the implementation time. You can naturally choose to manage the local elements outside the system.

No interface

Interfacing is similar to building specific rules but worse since it requires touching another application, talking with another development team and synchronizing work. Again, it takes time. And if you need to connect two Cloud applications, this will get worse.

Some Cloud vendors will suggest to go live and replicate data manually, to provide fast the solution to your users (and go to live billing), and to interface later on. This will keep the implementation quick but will increase the workload to keep the systems aligned. What is more adapted to your situation?

No data migration

Data migration adds another complexity with history and how the old system managed the data. It requires a deep understanding on how the new application works and a lot of reference data. And acquiring this understanding will again take time when SaaS provider want to change their model whenever they need to. Many Cloud vendors will suggest you leave your old data in a long term storage “anyway, no one uses them” and only move the most recent picture of your data.

Conclusion

The sales pitch from Cloud vendor is real. Yes you can implement a SaaS solution fast but to do that you have to adhere to strict limits. Yet, this is your decision and yours alone. You can also take more time when you need to. Now you know what to expect and do as you need!

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