Category Archives: Cloud

The Future of Business Systems

Technology moves at an astonishing rate, we need only look back 10 years to recognise the impact of technological advances on the way that businesses operate. 2007 saw the first release of the iPhone by Apple and the unveiling of Android by Google. In this same year, only 15 million households had internet access and 25 per cent of those were still using dial up.

In 2007, Amazon offered a service named Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) as a means to rent remote computing power and IBM announced plans to “Push Cloud Computing“ in the New York Times, but until recently most people did not recognise “Cloud Computing” as a phrase or description of any value or significance.

Although the origin and the precise meaning of the term remains a subject of debate, June 2012 is the first time the phrase was included in the Oxford English Dictionary. Even five years ago, most customers were not receptive to storing business data on the internet.

Today, ‘Cloud Computing’ appears 48 million times on the internet and leading industry analysts are predicting Cloud spend will increase by 4.5 times the current rate of spend! With such significant change within such a short space of time, how will business systems change over the next 10 years?

Here, Andrew Peddie, the MD of FHL – which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year – gives his predictions about what business systems will look like in 2027.

All businesses will move towards the cloud, no exceptions!

In 2007, few businesses were willing to adopt the internet as a secure repository for their data. Those that did were either seen as cutting-edge or crazy, the trust simply wasn’t there. For many, “Cloud Computing” meant nothing and although it is now an accepted term, it is viewed by many in the industry as a buzzword for marketing purposes and an oversimplification of a complex offering.

In spite of this, there is no doubt that having applications available via the internet from any device and being able to access securely stored data at any time is an incredibly powerful proposition.

Cloud Computing has arrived, is here to stay and is no longer new nor the domain of the elite. It is becoming better, faster and more affordable by the minute and is increasingly the solution of choice to facilitate growth and change for businesses.

So why is Cloud the future? There are three crucial reasons – security, affordability and agility to adapt.

‘Best of breed’ Cloud systems are overseen by the world’s foremost security experts; the collective purchasing power of the midmarket client base makes this practical and affordable.

A true cloud platform has the flexibility to scale and accommodate change and ensures that organisations are always up-to-date and operate on the latest version of the application.

It seems logical to forecast that by 2027, every organisation will be Cloud-based, no exceptions!

Convergence – Cloud app functionality will converge into single source platforms

More and more consumers are willing to transact via apps. Organisations utilise in-house apps to manage business processes such as sales, ordering, fulfilment, expenses and payments. Apps market places have never been so busy.

Increasingly, consumers and companies prefer to work with a single provider. Take television as an example. People have options for their viewing such as Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon, Netflix. Much of the content is shared under license and often, telephony and broadband are part of a holistic offering.

If you extend this thinking to cloud-based business application platforms, by 2027 expect to see a small number of providers (perhaps three or four) offering similar solutions which benefit from converged functionality of third party apps. More than likely, companies offering extended functionality will be acquired for the larger players to merge the features into their own eco-systems.

Unified communications will be standard on all platforms

By 2027, businesses will no longer need to run separate communications solutions as their technology platforms will deliver unified communications. Communication features such as voice, video, chat, file sharing and email in a “one-to-one” or “one-to-many” format will be available to any device via the organisation’s chosen business platform technology solution.

Advanced automation of business processes

Today, many businesses could not survive if they had to rely solely on manual processes. High volume, low value transactions, currency fluctuations, electronic invoicing, automatic payments and collections are an essential part of competing in a rapidly evolving and increasingly demanding market. Within the next 10 years, manual business processes will be a thing of the past for most businesses and ‘accounts payable/receivable’ departments will most likely be extinct.

Instant real-time transactions can be processed automatically, period-end billing, complex consolidations, currency fluctuations, intercompany transfers and even solvency computations are already a familiar feature for some organisations.

Artificial intelligence applied to basic business rules will feature strongly in advanced decision-making techniques ensuring automated optimal performance in all but the most complex scenarios.

No Code / Low Code and Gamification

Although gaming might conjure up images of teenagers spending hours on X-Box and PlayStation, modern computer games are a great exponent of advancement in programming and hardware capability. The military has played out “war games” or simulation of projected scenarios to help better predict and plan for potential events and as a training aid, it is invaluable. So why not business?

Consider the pre-sales process. Most consumers like to conduct their own research these days and don’t like to have a sales person calling them. Imagine an online scenario-based environment that could simulate a business’ requirements, evaluate a technical and/or commercial fit and generate custom output to suit its needs without the need to engage in time consuming emails or telephone calls. What better way to research a product or service?

It is accepted that the modern computer game has millions of lines of code written by genius developers who sit in darkened rooms looking at over-sized screens for a number of years just to create a seamless and lifelike experience for the gamer. When you buy a PlayStation game, you don’t expect to have to learn to write code to be able to play it.

Similarly, the cloud-based business platform will emerge equipped with low code or zero code “toolsets” that allow the user to configure and customise features and functionality in a visual environment and with the use of code. This work will be simple enough to be managed in-house making it fast and cost effective to deliver and will be “future-proofed”.

A final word

Ten years is a long time in technology. In the world of business systems alone, there have been dramatic changes in the last decade.

In 2007, the outlook for business adoption of software as a service – SAAS – was positive but not prolific. It is somewhat different today with leading analysts predicting universal adoption and forecasting cloud as the default solution of choice for more than 80% of businesses. Cloud is now considered mainstream technology more than disruptive and it has gained the respect and confidence of the mid-market.

Technological convergence, advanced business process automation and low/zero code environments will create such lean, efficient and agile organisations that the best exponent of technology will dominate.

The last 10 years has been an interesting period of preparation in cloud-based business systems, almost like a warm up to the main event.

By 2027, we can expect to see the smartest of companies equip themselves with the very best cloud technology tools and benefit from versatility and agility in meeting the ever-changing needs of their market place.

Let’s go!

Article first posted on Compare The Cloud (

FHL Joins Forces with Kyriba to Deliver Secure Cloud Treasury Solutions

FHL Customers Now Have Access to Kyriba’s World Leading Treasury Management Solution


Kyriba Corp., the global leader in cloud-based treasury, cash and risk management solutions, today announced a channel sales partnership with cloud solutions provider, FHL (, the leading provider of NetSuite products in Europe and NetSuite’s EMEA Partner of the Year 2017. FHL’s 150+ NetSuite customers now have access to Kyriba’s cloud-based solutions.

Security is a growing issue for treasury and finance professionals, just as accurate cash flow forecasting and the power to make strategic decisions at the CFO level are of high ranking priority, according to a recent benchmark survey from PwC.[1] With Kyriba, FHL now delivers a suite of treasury management solutions to complement its NetSuite portfolio, helping finance professionals to effectively manage cashflow forecasting and operate more strategically in a secure cloud environment.

FHL, a UK-based cloud solutions provider, named NetSuite’s EMEA Solution Provider Partner of the Year on six occasions – offers a range of services to its European clients such as consulting, planning and project management, solutions development and training.

“We are dedicated to providing our customers with ‘best of breed’ cloud solutions and are pleased to join forces with Kyriba,” said Andrew Peddie, Managing Director of FHL. “Kyriba’s world-leading cash management solution adds value to our NetSuite offering, helping organisations improve their cash visibility and better secure their assets.”

Kyriba’s treasury, cash and risk management solutions are delivered 100 percent in the cloud, and seamlessly integrate with NetSuite, providing NetSuite users with enhanced functionality, including strategic cash management, increased payments security, cash forecasting, bank reconciliation and automated financial management processing.

“As a premier NetSuite partner, FHL will be a fantastic advocate of Kyriba in the UK,” said John Campbell, Managing Director of Kyriba in Northern Europe. “As a modular solution, Kyriba’s and now FHL’s clients benefit from the flexibility inherent in our modular, SaaS delivery-model. Customers can maximise the value of their spend by selecting and implementing the modules they require now, and then have the opportunity to add modules as their needs evolve.”

[1] The ‘virtual reality’ of treasury | Global Treasury Benchmark Survey 2017 – PwC

The key to FHL’s success = our people!

FHL has been named Oracle+NetSuite’s #1 solution partner for Europe, Middle East and Africa once again! This means that we’ve been awarded the accolade for a record sixth time. Such an achievement should not be underestimated, especially against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive market. So how have we done it?

Of course, we provide the very best technology available. Oracle+NetSuite remains the world’s most advanced and adaptable cloud solution for businesses everywhere. Everyone is always on the latest version and by helping a business to accommodate change with little or no IT knowledge, this delivers huge advantages. However, every Oracle+NetSuite provider is on a level playing field when it comes to the technology, so what’s FHL’s particular recipe for success? Why is FHL so adept at tailoring the NetSuite platform to meet the needs of the business – the so-called critical “last mile”?

Quite simply it’s our people! We’re recognised by mid-market organisations as trusted advisors for complex projects, but this hasn’t happened overnight. Ten years ago we started-out with just two people and we now have a team of over 50 experts. Yes, we work hard but it’s not just about putting in the hours.

At FHL, we are people-focused. We choose people who are enthusiastic and talented “do-ers” and who understand the importance of collaborative partnerships with our customers. We invest in apprentices and graduates and then train, nurture and mentor them throughout their careers with us.

The outcome is a highly-skilled team who understands what businesses require and the changes they need to make. A team who relates to business owners and leaders in both small and mid-sized organisations and who recognises the challenges organisations face and how the technology can be tailored to suit.

I have to admit that the secret to our success isn’t rocket science and yet too many solution providers don’t sufficiently invest in their people. We take it seriously, it’s part of our DNA and the results? Well! They speak for themselves!


Members of the FHL team receiving the EMEA partner of the year accolade at SuiteWorld 2017

Major risks of not choosing the cloud

Given recent high-profile media reports of cloud hacks, it’s no wonder business owners are nervous about putting their operational data in the cloud, but is this fear justified?

With more businesses accepting that not having business data in the cloud is a bigger risk than trying to manage it in house, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Not all “clouds” are created equal

Reports of cloud hacks affecting one billion Yahoo emails and iCloud’s private image store are obviously worrying, but in a business context, these events are much less frequent and rarely, if ever, related to “true cloud”.

It’s important to recognise that not all clouds are created equal.

So, what is the cloud exactly? It’s still computers, databases and the internet but it’s important to look at how it’s configured.

Traditionally, software has been operated “on-premise”, which is a single version of software on the company’s server, connected to the company’s network, on the company’s premises and supported by the company’s own people.

It is purchased and owned by a single owner who is entirely responsible for the upkeep of the system.

State-of-the-art “true cloud” solutions work differently. True cloud providers deliver an application which serves multiple customers. It’s always up to date, capable of being configured to specific needs, globally accessible, requires no IT skills to manage, cost-effective due to a subscription-based model and sits separate from client data meaning that it’s far more secure.

Then there are the “fake cloud” solutions which are a hybrid. The software, servers, network and IT skills are outsourced. It is still a single version of software, but just not on your premises, and so the benefits of “true cloud” are not being enjoyed while the risks associated with on-premise are still very real.

The issues around on-premise and fake clouds

Up until a decade or so ago, on-premise was the only way a business could buy software and customise it to its needs.

The issues of going down this route is that software can go out-of-date very quickly and having to rely on updates and IT people to maintain it can be very expensive and sometimes, upgrades cause problems.

It’s also typical for companies using on-premise software to become “locked” to a version of software and later identify IT requirements for software as a bottleneck and not the enabling force that they had hoped for.

Of course, on-premise systems that rely on human intervention and manual processes are less reliable than a properly programmed application.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for business owners to back-up financial data to a USB stick and companies to faithfully back-up their data onto magnetic tapes that turn out to be blank.

Fake cloud environments are a poor compromise. The only “benefit” to the customer is that other people are “hosting” and managing their application for them (and charging them handsomely for it!).

So, with the upsurge in so-called fake cloud environments, it’s now difficult to be 100 per cent certain where the data resides, how it is segregated, protected and backed-up and exactly who can access it, move it, write to it or delete it.

Why is not choosing the cloud such an insider fraud risk?

For most businesses, data is critical. Lose the data, lose the business. Data is so valuable that it is equivalent to money.

If you choose to go on premise, this is akin to keeping your money in a shoe box under your bed, and by going with a hosted provider or a fake cloud environment, this is like keeping a box of money under someone else’s bed! Only a true cloud solution is like putting your money in the bank.

Insider threats present a far greater risk when you choose a solution that isn’t true cloud.

For instance, when business software provider, Sage, experienced a data breach potentially impacting 280 firms, it turned out to be a disgruntled employee.

This is not an isolated case. CIFAS’s Employee Fraudscape 2016 report highlights that 153 organisations identified a total of 585 confirmed insider fraud cases in 2015. This includes 38 cases of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing commercial or personal data.

Whether employees purposely commit fraud or do so through negligent/accidental behaviour, the fact remains that on-premise servers offer insiders far greater access to the company’s valuable data.

Don’t be a technological dinosaur

Dwelling in the past is not an option for progressive business owners. A true cloud business solution could make the difference between success and failure, with non-cloud solutions proving higher risk and more difficult and costly to change.

For many businesses, not choosing the cloud could see them left behind by their competitors and quite possibly extinct.

Andrew Peddie is MD of cloud solutions provider FHL

Image: Shutterstock

Read the original article on RealBusiness