Love at the Office: Sales and Finance Finally Get along in the Cloud

Love at the Office: Sales and Finance Finally Get along in the Cloud

To mark the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I would be remiss to point out the budding love affair we witnessed at Dreamforce this December and are continuing to see in our client base. Cloud applications from Salesforce.com and FinancialForce.com are changing the relationship between Sales and Finance. Cloud technology is not only improving business processes that cross between departments, it is changing how people work and how they get along. Some might call it a love affair of corporate proportions.

For example, in a recent Computerworld article titled ‘Inside an Enterprise Salesforce Chatter rollout’, FinancialForce.com customer Den-Mat reveals the benefits the organization is seeing by moving its core business applications to a single cloud platform. Jonathan Green, VP of IT, says: “They could work as a team and communicate and collaborate together–it didn’t matter that they weren’t [where we are] in Santa Maria, Calif. It changed our dynamic and how we service our customers.”

We have been noticing for some time the benefits our customers cite from this new level of communication between sales and finance. Many of them didn’t realize how poor communication was until they moved their apps to the cloud. Look no further than this article in Sales and Marketing Magazine co-written by the Controller and Vice President of Sales at our customer Equilar.

At the salesforce.com Dreamforce conference in December – now THE cloud computing industry event – we decided to test this out and take it one step further. We decided to be a bit “cheeky” (thank you, Austin Powers) to catch people’s eye by publishing – no, not another manual on integrating sales and finance – but a romance novel.

“The Deal – Unzipping the Wall Between Sales and Finance” was a huge hit at Dreamforce, garnering praise from Marc Benioff himself as well as a host of other industry luminaries. We even created the perfect website to launch it: www.saleslovesfinance.com. If you weren’t able to get a hardcopy, it’s available as a free eBook and can be downloaded here.

With today being Valentine’s Day, it’s worth talking about how this new ‘mutual affection’ is blossoming even further. As I mentioned in my last post , App Stores based on cloud computing platforms are giving more enterprises – and more parts of the enterprise – that same experience our customers have. They are looking beyond monolithic ERP architectures that made them beholden to a single choice for apps.

They are instead moving on to a true free market model where a common cloud platform enables them to choose the right app for the right need. And as more parts of the business catch the bug, they are seeing the obvious benefit in using sales, finance, order management, billing and more all on the same cloud platform.

So naturally, we are already starting to see FinancialForce Accounting customers following their bliss. Many are combining these application classes into an integrated solution that they are either running alongside an existing ERP solution or replacing the old ERP outright. These companies are just some of the examples we have seen:

  • All Traffic Solutions opened up a new line of business and chose not to use their existing, aging ERP solution. To rapidly launch the new business, it wanted to move to all cloud apps and centralize its business systems on salesforce.com’s Force.com platform. Using FinancialForce Accounting, Salesforce CRM, and Ascent, All Traffic Solutions now has the systems to enable seamless business processes across order and customer management and accounting, everything it needed from an integrated ERP system. See the All Traffic Solutions FinancialForce Accounting AppExchange review.
  • Mantala chose to replace its home-grown finance system with FinancialForce Accounting because of the benefits it felt a single cloud platform strategy would bring. The company was already using Salesforce CRM, and required better forecasting and reporting capabilities, as well as an application that would integrate seamlessly with all of the business’ applications. By basing its business operations on Force.com, Mantala benefits from a high level of flexibility, security, excellent service performance, ease of use, better resource and cost management, and true integration between apps. See our Mantala case study.
  • Quattro Group says the fact that they can build functionality around FinancialForce Accounting (like payroll) on the Force.com platform meant they could finally close their spreadsheets for the last time. They now have one integrated platform that runs the entire business, from sales and campaign marketing to timesheet logging, project tracking, expense/purchase payments, payroll and invoicing to customers. They refer to it as their “designer ERP”. See our Quattro case study.

So are these companies just fools in love with the cloud? Not even close. Consider one of the major ideas coming out of the World Economic Forum from late January, according to Newsweek:

“Every company needs to become a tech company.”

We can take that one step further to say that every company needs to become an app company. If you don’t see an app that meets a specific need, the best platforms make it easy to build one on your own. Custom apps built on the same cloud platform benefit the same way the “packaged” apps do: common UI, single sign-on and a palette of dev tools, reporting tools, shared objects, collaboration tools, mobile computing support etc. that users, IT staff and app developers can collectively leverage.

Love is definitely in the air. Well, in the clouds anyway.

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