Falling Victim to Cloudwashing
Legacy ERP vendors offering some cloud capabilities or hosting their existing applications on the cloud often confuse prospective buyers into thinking that their application or system is a true cloud solution. This is cloudwashing: aligning an application or system to the cloud in any way with the hopes of instilling credibility with buyers. But when these solutions aren’t built exclusively for the cloud, you may be getting a lesser solution than you actually need. This paper provides a definition of a true cloud ERP solution and identifies ten tell-tale warning signs that you are being cloudwashed.
Defining Cloud Computing and True Cloud Applications
There are as many definitions of cloud applications and platforms as there are enterprise software vendors. We rely on the National Institute of Standards (NIST) definition of cloud computing since it is an impartial organization responsible for technology standards. The essential characteristics of cloud computing applications and platforms according to the NIST include:
Support for multi-tenancy and real-time scalability of resources to meet the unique computing workload requirements of each specific application and platform. True cloud platforms are built on a true multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. Common resources that are pooled include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.
One of the most difficult aspects of a cloud computing architecture is the ability to elastically provision and release resources to support varying application requirements. Best-in-class cloud platforms have the ability to scale automatically, either upward or downward, based on application demand with application users not experiencing any degradation in performance. Cloudwashed applications will often crash when deployed in a hosted mode if the resource workloads become too great over time.
The ability to unilaterally provide diverse, highly-scalable computing resources including network bandwidth, network storage, server time, network capabilities, and many other services all without human intervention is the essence of on-demand self-service. Furthermore, on-demand self-service is the ability of an application to scale in real time based on the resource needs of a given application instantly.
At a Glance:
- Many enterprise software vendors make claims that their applications are built for the cloud when they are not. Cloudwashing is a term used when enterprise vendors tout their limited cloud capabilities in the hopes of being considered a true cloud solution.
- Understanding the key characteristics of a true cloud application and platform will put you in a much better position to evaluate a cloud ERP.
- In addition, identifying a cloudwashing ERP vendor versus a SaaS cloud ERP vendor will also empower you to make the best choice in an ERP system for your organization.