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10 reasons why moving your ERP system to the cloud will benefit your business

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Why cloud based ERP solutions? Below are ten reasons why moving your ERP system to the cloud will benefit your business and support business growth.

By Anish Kanaran

Whether it is simple applications such as HR and payroll, travel and expense management, or  customer relationship management (CRM) deployments, in the last decade we’ve seen the cloud as the new normal. According to Gartner, “Spending on public-cloud-based, vertical-specific applications is expected to significantly increase through 2017, further highlighting the growing confidence in their use for mission-critical systems.”

Perhaps the most compelling incentive to upgrading your ERP to the cloud is to redefine your business processes and take advantage of a new cloud-first era of service delivery and flexibility to enable your organisation to grow.

Why cloud based ERP solutions? Below are ten reasons why moving your ERP system to the cloud will benefit your business and support business growth.

Freedom of Choice

Put quite simply, not all cloud ERP systems are created equal. Specifically, very few ERP vendors respect your right to choose the deployment model that is most appropriate for you, and revise that decision down the road as your business grows or technical needs change. Your right to transition between on-premises, multi-tenant, and single tenant is an important one. It recognises that the “best” deployment model for you today might not be the best model in a few years, or even a few months. By providing the choice of Multi-Tenant (with its compelling economics and seamless upgrades) or Single Tenant (allowing more administrative control and administrative ownership), you can choose the model that works best for you.

Makes Good Financial Sense

Despite the cloud having subsequently proven its value beyond just good financial sense, there is no doubt that for companies of all sizes the economics of cloud deployment are undeniably compelling, with many ERP deployments often running less than their on-premises deployment parallel. Some of the hidden economic benefits of the cloud include:

Not being as capital intensive as an on-premises deployment because of the subscription-based pricing model

Better and more instant scalability, allowing clients to add (and sometimes remove) users to their system on demand and saving them from having to invest in hardware and software at the “high water mark”

The direct and indirect costs of your infrastructure, from server to database systems to the actual hardware and replacement cycle cost

The hidden costs of running the servers yourself

The benefit of the reduced deployment times (and corresponding improved ROI) that are typical for cloud deployments, as all the necessary infrastructure is in place already

Provides Comprehensive Security

Today, it’s hard to imagine a client who could possibly create a more secure operating environment than leading cloud providers. Indeed, Gartner reports that “Multi-tenant clouds are not only highly resistant to attack, but are also a more secure starting point than most traditional in-house implementations.”

Where security once implied locking the server room door and forcing people to use long passwords, today it means hardened electronic operating environments. You can’t claim to be secure unless you have systems and people protecting your infrastructure 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and verifying that security updates from all vendors are thoughtfully tested, then applied.

Security today is a comprehensive, end-to-end mindset that has to be built across every layer of the ERP environment from the physical network interface cards to the user passwords. It means a holistic approach to anticipating and minimising possible natural, human, and technical disruptions to your system to ensure uptime and peace of mind.

Better Value, Reduced Risk, Greater Visibility

Many organisations choose a cloud-based system (ERP and other workloads) because it allows them to deploy a  more complete solution than they could otherwise manage or financially justify under legacy deployment models. Not having to make a larger upfront investment in the ERP system and its supporting infrastructure is critical in helping smaller companies to increase their competitive advantage against  same-sized competitors.

Ease of Deploying Upgrades

Cloud deployment redefines the experience by designing upgrades—big and small—to be deployed by the ERP cloud operations staff as part of standard support services, without imposing update installations on your staff. Minor updates are transparently deployed (generally bi-weekly) in a non-disruptive fashion, and major upgrades are announced well in advance, and include a sandbox training environment and end-user training.

These major upgrades are designed to require little to no project management on your part, short of double checking that everything is working the way you expect it to and ensuring that your internal users are prepared to take advantage of the new version.

Always being on the most current version of the software provides peace of mind that you’re no longer having to make the “upgrade or not?” decision, and provides you with the newest and most powerful version of your ERP solution at all times.

More Efficient Utilisation of IT Resources

Moving to the cloud means that your IT department can spend more time focusing on delivering higher-value activities,, spending less time “patching the servers and keeping the lights blinking.” At the end of the day, most IT departments are stretched pretty thinly, and find themselves spending too much time on low-value (but admittedly critical) activities such as verifying backups, applying security updates and upgrading the infrastructure upon which their critical systems run. There is tremendous business benefit to assigning those tasks back to your ERP vendor as part of a cloud deployment, which will free up your IT department’s time to work on more strategic ERP projects such as creating executive dashboards, deploying mobile devices and crafting helpful management reports.

Mobile and Collaborative

The modern ERP deployment landscape is full of mobile professionals, including sales and service staff operating outside the four walls of your office, who expect access to the ERP system from their handheld devices. You also have mobile onsite staff such as shop floor operators and logistics staff that need to access your ERP from tablets and similar devices. Moving to a cloud-based system gives everyone the real-time system access they require as a routine part of their jobs while driving out the inefficiency of paper-based processes and the burden and security risk of figuring out how to deliver this yourself.

Opening up your ERP system by virtue of cloud deployment allows you to retire the poorly defined ad-hoc “integration by Excel file” workflows that have cropped up across your organisation. In their place, you can deploy real-time integration processes that link your employees, vendors, partners, and customers.

Cloud deployment brings the opportunity to redefine many of your legacy business processes and workflows in a way that leverages these more open, connected, instantaneous integration paths.

Business Consistency and Standardised Processes

Increasingly, companies have staff working across multiple locations and they aspire to provide the efficiency of a single unified ERP system across the enterprise to support them. For many organisations, moving to the cloud provides the immediate opportunity to shed multiple operating ERP systems across the company, achieve instant visibility across every location, and standardise a single set of operational and administrative processes.

Deploying a single cloud ERP globally (where the only infrastructure requirement is Internet access) removes many operational obstacles, facilitates better global regulatory compliance, and gives you the confidence that your continued expansion efforts can be accommodated without a significant IT effort by simply enabling that new location in your existing cloud-based ERP system. With consistency comes improved transparency and increased efficiency.

Social Responsibility

Imagine the resources that go into on-premises deployment. Multiple new computers have to be manufactured, with their well-documented environmental impact. Those computers need to be transported from their place of production to a wholesaler, who needs to warehouse them until they are later transported to you, likely crossing tens of thousands of miles in the process. Electricity is generated to power them, and ultimately those physical machines are scrapped. The impact of that waste can’t be ignored if your company is looking to make decisions that balance your corporate needs and social responsibilities.

That’s why cloud deployment is now widely cited as one of the most environmentally responsible IT decisions. Perhaps reducing your carbon footprint isn’t your primary decision making criterion, but it’s certainly a benefit that aligns with the values of many of your employees, customers, and communities.

A successful cloud adoption of ERP software can help profitably grow your business, offering flexible solutions that provide more accurate information in real-time, driving smarter, faster decision-making, and enabling customers to quickly meet changing market demands to stay ahead of their competition. The cloud increases the business benefits that ERP offers and can accompany your business on the road to successful growth.

The author is Channel Director for Epicor in the Middle East, Africa & India. Views are personal.


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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