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10 Ways to Spot Cloudwashing

Cloudwashing ERP

Many enterprise software vendors claim that their applications are built for the cloud. The reality, though, is that they are not. These enterprise vendors who tout their limited cloud capabilities in the hopes of being considered a true cloud solution has given rise to a new term, cloudwashing.

To ensure that you don’t get fooled by these enterprise vendors, it’s essential to understand the key characteristics of a true cloud application and platform. By understanding these key characteristics, you’ll be in a much better position to be able to properly evaluate a cloud ERP (enterprise resource planning) provider. It is also beneficial to be able to identify a cloudwashing ERP vendor versus a SaaS (Software as a Service) cloud ERP vendor. Being able to identify key characteristics of a proper cloud ERP and SaaS cloud ERP vendor will help you make the best choice in an ERP system for your organization.

So, how do you know if you’ve fallen victim to cloudwashing?

Well, it’s important to keep in mind that many legacy ERP vendors offer some cloud capabilities or host their existing applications on the cloud to confuse prospective buyers into thinking that their applications or system is a true cloud solution. By aligning their applications or system to the cloud in any way with the hopes of instilling credibility with buyers, these vendors are committing cloudwashing.

When a vendor’s solutions aren’t built exclusively for the cloud, you’re most likely going to get a lesser solution than what you actually need. Luckily, there are ten tell-tale warning signs that you’re being cloudwashed. Let’s take a look at these tell-tale signs so you truly understand how to pinpoint a cloudwashing vendor and effectively avoid them.

1) If every cloud customer is running a different, highly customized application, this is a sure sign that an ERP application isn’t cloud-based and there’s no scalability in the application architecture.

2) Some vendors sell a cloud-based application that requires their own servers that can cost you over $1 million and these servers lack the scale of more pervasive cloud platforms. If you have to buy a special cloud server or appliance to run a vendor’s version of the cloud or a vendor sells hardware to run cloud applications, it’s a sure sign that their software isn’t designed for broad network access, resource pooling, and rapid elasticity. Stay away from these client/server vendors in disguise.

3) A sure sign that an enterprise software vendor is cloudwashing their applications is when their sales teams have no idea what multitenancy is and how it relates to your business strategies. Try quizzing any vendor you’re thinking about using on what the cloud means to your business and you’ll learn the truth about their cloudwashing practices real fast.

4) A true cloud-based ERP and enterprise software vendor has extensive plans, processes, and programs in place that audit data center performance in real-time. If a vendor you’re thinking about using thinks that a data center audit is what happens when Amazon counts its servers, that’s a red flag that this vendor doesn’t offer true cloud-based applications and systems.

5) True cloud ERP applications and all enterprise software delivered over the cloud is updated continuously. It would be a financial disaster for any cloud ERP vendor to wait over a year to update their software so if a vendor you’re thinking about using can’t tell you the next time your software will be updated, they’re committing cloudwashing.

6) Another easy way to tell if a vendor is practicing cloudwashing is if they blend the best of what on-premise license, subscription, and monthly service charges have to offer in a complex, confusing, and often pricey, way.

7) If a vendor you’re thinking about using calls hosted applications cloud-based and all that matters is that it runs in a browser, this is a huge red flag that they’re cloudwashing.

8) A true cloud platform and applications are capable of scaling from a few users to thousands in seconds so if any ERP vendor takes months to achieve this, they’re no truly cloud-based.

9) A true sign that there’s cloudwashing going on is when a different security exists for each application and platform. Be wary of vendors that have no unified security across all their applications and platforms.

10) The final tell-tale sign that a vendor you’re thinking of using is guilty of cloudwashing is inconsistent and non-existent user interfaces across mobile, tablet, and PC platforms.

Don’t be fooled by cloud pretenders and use this ten-point guide to make sure that your enterprise application provider is providing a true cloud solution. Cloudwashing is all too common among many ERP and enterprise application vendors so it’s best to stay on your toes and ask as many questions about the service you’ll receive before you commit to a vendor that could possibly be guilty of cloudwashing.


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