There are lots of factors to consider when upgrading your accounting solution – cost, capability, complexity etc. But one feature that is non-negotiable is that your solution exists in a multi-tenant environment. This has become the leading option for forward-thinking firms, and it’s on the way to becoming an industry standard.
What is Multi-Tenancy?
Let’s start by defining single-tenancy: An application that is housed on-premises or within a private cloud has only one user or “tenant.” Multi-tenancy, by contrast, is a single application that is shared by multiple users. Each user has the ability to customize certain basic features, but the underlying code is identical to all.
The term tenant is apt because the concept is very similar to an apartment building. Every unit is functionally identical but every tenant furnishes their unit uniquely. And even though everyone has their own separate space, the resources of the building are shared by all.
Accounting solutions that operate in multi-tenant environments provide one instance with the same core code and database to serve multiple customers. This configuration is common in the cloud, and as it’s grown and matured it’s become ideal for managing the scale and security concerns of today’s accounting departments.
Why is Multi-Tenancy an Advantage?
The idea of multi-tenancy is similar to the idea of group-buying power: Numerous parties pool their resources to access more than they could individually. When firms chose multi-tenant environments, they get more while paying less overall.
Keeping the application updated with the latest features and patches is easy because a single update affects every tenant. Companies always have access to the latest and greatest version of the application without needing to invest any IT resources to perform upgrades and associated regression testing.
Multi-tenant environments also tend to be easier to customize since the underlying code stays the same. Instead of tinkering with the architecture of the application, companies make just the specific tweaks and upgrades they require; most of which, if not all, are done via configuration settings.
Two other key benefits come with SaaS multi-tenancy; elasticity and scalability. Elasticity provides for peak demands in processing activity such as running a large report or seasonality of a retailer during the holiday season. Since the resources are in a shared pool and are part of the service, you as a customer don’t have to be concerned with supporting the fluctuation in system demands. Scalability means the architecture is designed to support growth over time. With on-premises systems, you would have to design your systems and bear the cost to accommodate peak demands as well as future growth over the useful life of the infrastructure resources, and then reinvest with new once the current infrastructure reaches the end-of-life. SaaS architecture allows for on-the-fly additions and changes as part of the service.
Additionally, well run SaaS providers provide a level of operational efficiency that is not affordable with the majority of SMB customers. Examples are the ability to attract and retain high-quality personnel, the level of security, the operational level of the data center(s), compliance, among others, etc.
Finally, multi-tenant environments offer significant opportunities for cost savings. Developing and deploying the solution is economical and almost instantaneous. Ongoing maintenance expenses drop and outages and slowdowns no longer create disruptions. Best of all, multi-tenant solutions offer world-class capabilities at a fraction of the cost of other options.
Exploring Multi-Tenancy in Action
In order to fully understand multi-tenancy, it helps to focus on a specific solution. Sage Intacct is one of the leading accounting solutions on the market with true enterprise-class capabilities. Yet thanks to its multi-tenant orientation this solution is accessible to companies almost regardless of their budget or in-house technical expertise.
Seeing is believing, and Sage Intacct does not disappoint. Contact InCloud360 to learn more.