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Accounting from the cloud gains momentum

Laptop with accounting software on a table. With secure software from the cloud, companies are making their corporate accounting systems fit for the future.

In this article you will read about,

  • why software manufacturer Diamant Software now operates its AI-supported accounting solution in the Open Telekom Cloud,
  • how sensitive financial data remains GDPR- and GoBD-compliant in the German legal area,
  • and which tools can be used to automate operation, maintenance, and deployment in the cloud.

The digital transformation in German small and medium enterprises has recently gained significant momentum. According to Telekom's Digitalization Index, the coronavirus pandemic has been an important driver. This is because digital processes make it easier to maintain business processes and productivity when working from home. For this reason, more than a third of SMEs (34 percent) quickly digitalized key processes last year. This includes systems and processes in financial accounting, as a KPMG study emphasizes: invoices in electronic form, homogeneous basic systems, standards, and high data quality are particularly important to those responsible for finance when it comes to the digital transformation.

The challenge: Transformation to the cloud

This is a development that plays into the hands of the Bielefeld-based Diamant Software GmbH. The digital accounting and controlling specialist ensures that its customers are fit for the future: With the Diamant/4 accounting software they can automate their financial processes, say goodbye to media discontinuities in financial accounting, make bookings purely electronically, and collaborate much more effectively.

The company has been developing digital solutions for financial accounting since 1980. Today, it employs around 250 people. In order to make its business model and product range fit for the future, the provider is relying on the transformation to the cloud: After all, if a software manufacturer does not offer cloud solutions today, it will have a hard time in the long term. According to a market analysis by IDC, 87 percent of companies in Germany already use multiple cloud resources. It will soon be impossible to imagine everyday customer life without cloud solutions – including in accounting and controlling.

Diamant Software spotted this trend early on. The Bielefeld-based company has been offering cloud-based software solutions in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS) since 2013 alongside classic on-premises solutions for accounting and controlling. In addition, they are working intensively on innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). For example, Diamant/4's latest solution, released in April, integrates various AI components in invoice receipt. There is also a digital voice assistant with which users can interact directly in the application if they have questions about the software or processes.

Audit-proof archiving

The focus on AI forced those responsible at Diamant 2019 to look around for a new cloud provider. With the previous solution, the computationally-intensive AI technologies could only be used to a limited extent. "The decision to move to the Open Telekom Cloud was therefore quickly made and we are aiming for a long-term partnership with our new cloud provider," says Thorsten Bertram, Head of the System Team at Diamant Software.

Diamant Software's customers include many SMEs, but also non-profit organizations and institutions from the social and healthcare sectors. The sales team usually talks to the commercial departments, managing directors, and commercial management. "They are always concerned with managing sensitive financials. Therefore security, data protection, and compliance are extremely important to them and to us. So is the location of the data center, which has to be in Germany," says Bertram.

To meet these requirements, the Bielefeld-based company operates its SaaS solution in the Open Telekom Cloud. The advantage: According to Thorsten Bertram, nowhere in Germany is there more cloud and more security. T-Systems' cloud solution is located in Telekom's high-security data center in Biere near Magdeburg, so all the data remains within the German legal area. This is crucial in order to meet compliance requirements such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or Germany’s Principles for the Proper Keeping and Retention of Books, Records, and Documents in Electronic Form and for Data Access (GoBD).

Automation ensures fast changeover

However, the Open Telekom Cloud doesn’t only impress when it comes to data protection and the audit-proof storage of documents. Thanks to the flexible pricing model, the costs for Diamant Software are always manageable and can be planned for the long term. There’s no need for expensive investments in hardware or infrastructure solutions; at the same time, the software provider always benefits from the latest technologies that form the basis of the Open Telekom Cloud.

In addition, there’s the advantage of the open-source architecture. Thanks to OpenStack, the software specialist operates its IT landscape largely automatically. Tools such as Ansible or Terraform make it easy to configure and maintain the infrastructure. In addition, computing or storage resources required at short notice can be scaled up quickly. The strengths of automated processes are particularly evident in ongoing customer operations: If an existing customer wants to switch to the SaaS version, onboarding on the new platform is completed within a very short time thanks to a high level of automation of around 95 percent.

Diamant Software currently uses the Elastic Cloud Server, the Volume Backup Service, and the Object Storage in the Open Telekom Cloud to archive data and documents in an audit-proof manner. Recently, another service was added with the Storage Disaster Recovery Service. Thorsten Bertram and his team work with the new cloud service not only in Biere, but also in the neighboring twin-core data center in Magdeburg and thus in different high availability zones. In the worst-case scenario, the SaaS environment can be restored quickly. Recovery times used to be between 30 and 60 minutes but are now only a few minutes.

Other advantages include Telekom's large partner network and the easy integration of third-party solutions. For example, SYSback GmbH supports the automation of onboarding as well as managed services and the integration of the load balancer.

Agile methods for more innovation

It’s not only Diamant Software's customers who benefit from the public cloud, but also internal users and the company's own IT department. The sales teams, for example, present the SaaS solution live in the Open Telekom Cloud to new customers or interested parties on site. "We show them in practice how quickly and easily all the features can be used. And we allay their concerns that the existing Internet connections do not offer sufficient performance for cloud access," says Bertram.

In addition to sales, the software developers at Diamant Software use the Open Telekom Cloud as part of agile methods. At the end of each sprint, they conduct a system demo of the SaaS solution in the cloud every two weeks. Here they test new functions and check how the updated version behaves in the fully integrated cloud environment. Current accounting requirements and innovations can be implemented quickly – with consistently high quality.

Find out more about Diamant Software and the Open Telekom Cloud.


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