Many C-level executives and board members are looking to the CIO to define their technology strategies, and in particular, their cloud strategies. They will delve into what the available offerings are for the space in which they operate, as well as how these can be brought into their day-to-day processes.

Furthermore, many of them operate within a ‘cloud inspired environment’, which is typically where you take on-premise software and connect it to the internet. In this way, as many enterprises move from a ‘cloud maybe’ strategy, which is purely a cloud inspired one, to a ‘cloud first’ strategy, we see a bigger adoption of pure cloud solutions.

So says Heinrich Swanepoel, head of sales at PaySpace. “There’s a term called cloud washing to describe what happens when legacy technology is taken and simply put on the internet, but it’s definitely not a pure cloud, or true cloud, solution. In fact, there are many benefits that pure cloud solutions offer that on-premise ones do not.”

He says true cloud payroll solutions set themselves apart due to three technical benefits, namely speed, agility and innovation. “PaySpace is a pure cloud solution that enables innovation through its continuous processing and continuous delivery capabilities, as well as the new service capabilities in terms of legislation and giving organisations the path to maximum agility.”

Public and private sector organisations also realise that, by updating their existing legacy payroll systems and modernising those systems to pure cloud solutions, they could in essence, expand to new markets.

He says that there are a lot of organisations that want to embrace the cloud, but are still stuck in a cloud inspired environment. What they are really looking for is a pure cloud environment. “The biggest problem with cloud inspired environments is that legacy solutions are typically simply placed in a hosted environment, where it appears to be an online system. However, they are missing critical elements of a pure cloud solution, such as pure integration and pure API.”

In addition, he says, the software itself cannot hyperscale, and there is little to no self-service functionality built in, nor are there a lot of efficiencies. “They are basically using legacy and enhancing the offering by adding internet connectivity through a cloud inspired environment.”

For cloud-first or pure cloud strategy to be successful, the organisation requires access to all the scalability and agility it needs, along with the speed and innovation that comes from pure cloud, and all the inefficiencies you find with legacy software should be eliminated, Swanepoel adds.

There are also several pain points that pure cloud solves, he says. “The first is integration. CIOs are starting to see how they can select a best-in-class solution for their cloud environment that will fit into their cloud-first strategy, so they no longer have to stick with one legacy provider. They have the option to choose API centric solutions that better suit their strategies, and will fit into a learning management system, business intelligence (BI) or resource planning (RP) system.”

Another big benefit he has seen is the fact that for the first time organisations can enjoy consumption based billing. “There is no large capital outlay or investment. You only use what you need, and only pay for what you use. Moreover, by having consumption based billing you do not get stuck in any sort of long term agreements for licence fees and suchlike.”

At the end of the day, Swanepoel says, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. “Organisations are realising that they need a cloud-first strategy. Covid-19 has been a big wake up call for a lot of people. We’ve seen a massive leapfrog in cloud conversion, particularly the boom in Africa, where markets are constantly growing. Many organisations realised they didn’t have a strategy in place and are now trying to make the leap quicker, which has led to a steep rise in cloud adoption and the move towards pure cloud solutions.”