Cloud-based financial management software helps businesses manage their costs and compete in the global marketplace.

Organizations run on data. Lots of it. But having data is not enough. Competing in an increasingly global marketplace requires the ability to access and analyze that data. So it's no surprise that according to iTWire, 73 percent of finance leaders trust the cloud to store their financial data. The market for financial management software, and cloud services in particular, shows no signs of slowing, with sales of cloud computing infrastructure and services generating a staggering estimated $180 billion in revenue in the 12 months ending September 2017, according to CRN.

And in an era when big data offers organizations the ability to increase revenue, reduce costs and create sustainable competitive advantages, ZDNet reports that businesses increasingly use the cloud to create "data lakes," while cloud providers continue to deliver more sophisticated ways to query that data.

Clearly, many businesses see the value in migrating to the cloud. But is doing so the right decision for your organization? Here are some of the potential benefits to help you evaluate whether transitioning to the cloud is the right move.

Greater Access to Data

Housing data in the cloud provides your entire organization with access to data as and when it's needed. Given the number of remote employees and the unrelenting pace of global business, operating without the cloud could place your business at a distinct competitive disadvantage. And given the current size of the gig economy and predictions for its growth, the need to provide data access to those outside of your organization's offices is likely to grow exponentially.

Removal of Costly, Inefficient Silos

Pushing data to the cloud results in the removal of the data silos that invariably appear in large, distributed organizations. In addition to burdening your firm with costs, gathering and storing data in silos calls into question the accuracy and integrity of that data. On the other hand, a cloud platform allows for the gathering and storage of data in one location and in real time. When a financial analyst wishes to analyze a location's sales, for example, they need only access the latest data stored on the cloud, which comes directly from the company's point-of-sale system.

Improved Security

In a traditional IT environment, hardware and software require frequent maintenance and patches to prevent cyberattacks. When businesses embrace the cloud, though, much of the security burden shifts to the cloud provider. And since data resides in the cloud instead of being dispersed around your organization's IT environment, the number of entry points for cybercriminals to attack decreases. Consequently, take the time to evaluate the security capabilities of prospective cloud providers thoroughly.

Improved Data Backup Capabilities

By storing data in the cloud, you remove the need to back up data within your own IT environment. And since cloud computing providers automate the backup process, you remove the risk of someone failing to back up critical data.

Designed to Scale

A major benefit of cloud computing is the ability to scale as needed. Should your company require additional servers to support the launch of a new product or service, for example, instead of acquiring additional servers to house within your organization, cloud computing providers can quickly and seamlessly meet your needs at a fraction of the cost.

Cloud computing is an unstoppable force that continues to transform how businesses operate. Whether it makes sense for your business to take the leap depends on a number of factors. That said, rest assured that your competitors have either taken the leap already or will likely do so in the future.

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