The cloud offers many advantages as a home for sales tax applications, including lower total cost of ownership (especially up front!), robust business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as built-in scalability (really valuable) and availability. A cloud migration is not without its challenges, however. A Vertex white paper, Identify and Avoid Common Obstacles When Migrating Your Sales Tax Function to the Cloud, looks at four of the most common obstacles and explains how you can overcome them.
1. User Expectations
The cloud can take a little getting used to. Interfaces may look different. Users may need to get new credentials. Support processes may be different, too, when they’re delivered by the cloud provider rather than the in-house service desk. In addition, users may notice different response times to connect, as you are going external to your business. IT admins should meet with users before the switchover to explain the business context, prepare them for any short-term disruptions and minimize surprises.
2. Data Quality
Even the most data-savvy companies tend to accumulate information that’s outdated, incorrectly formatted, or wrong. Transferring bad records to the cloud makes the problem worse by essentially duplicating them. The time to address data quality is before the migration.
Don’t underestimate the time needed to test the new cloud-based system and fix any issues. Your test plans should cover configuration, access, performance and compatibility, as well as potential integration issues.
Involve all stakeholders in the migration decision, including those in finance, compliance, e-commerce and legal on the business side, as well as the people responsible for software development and maintenance, network engineering and systems configuration on the IT side. Consider the migration an opportunity to explore your tax configuration companywide and ensure that it covers all aspects of the business.
4. Security and Availability
Cloud providers deliver a level of security that matches or exceeds what even the largest enterprises could otherwise achieve on their own. However, companies are still responsible for applying sound security principles like strong authentication and access management, and for educating users about correct configuration procedures.
You can reassure your users that they won’t lose access to their applications and data due to downtime; outages do occur at the major cloud platforms, but they are extremely rare.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE TAX MATTERS PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, NOT SPECIFIC TAX OR LEGAL ADVICE. ALWAYS CONSULT A QUALIFIED TAX OR LEGAL ADVISOR BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION BASED ON THIS INFORMATION. THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN TAX MATTERS ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OFFICIAL POLICY, POSITION, OR OPINION OF VERTEX INC.