Technology is evolving quicker than ever and customer expectations are growing with it. With the emergence of ubiquitous connectivity comes a demand for information at our fingertips, wherever we are, and from any device. Unsurprisingly, this has accelerated cloud software and today cloud solutions have become so entrenched in businesses that it’s a challenge to find an organisation that doesn’t have at least one cloud system in use.
However, while there’s a general shift towards the cloud, when it comes to ERP many businesses are still reluctant to move away from the comfort of their legacy systems. There’s a misconception that moving to cloud ERP is an exhausting process that requires an overhaul of current systems and risky mass data migration that will end up being more costly for businesses. Indeed, Gartner predicted that nearly all cloud ERP projects would fail by 2018, and yet we’re less than a month away from 2018 and cloud ERP is still growing.
while there’s a general shift towards the cloud, when it comes to ERP many businesses are still reluctant to move away from the comfort of their legacy systems
The good news is that if implemented correctly with the right vendor it doesn’t have to be a labourious process. But if you’re wondering why you should switch in the first place, here are some key benefits for businesses and customers that come with cloud ERP:
Reduce operating costs
One of the first things business leaders think about when it comes to upgrading software is the cost to the business. It doesn’t matter how great something is, if it’s going to break the bank, the answer will be a swift no. Thankfully, cloud ERP is far friendlier to the bank account than on-premise, plus many vendors offer a variety of payment option including per user, per month or a flat-rate fee, which is a great incentive for growing businesses. Updates and renewals can be pushed remotely and your provider should be able to handle system maintenance and upkeep.
If you opt for an on-premise solution however, you need to purchase the hardware system, licenses and often any renewals and updates. Then you also need to consider paying an IT team to maintain the system and repair it if it starts acting up. Before you know it, you’re spending a significant amount of money on a system you can only access in the office. With cloud-based ERP, your IT departments are freed from time-consuming maintenance tasks, allowing more time to build strategies, adopt technological innovations and help your business run more effectively.
Work from anywhere, anytime
One of the best things about cloud ERP is that unlike traditional on-premise ERP, it doesn’t need to be installed on a computer and only requires an internet connection. This gives users the freedom to access their system and data in real-time from mobile devices and tablets no matter where they are. Having full visibility of the business whenever it’s needed allows employees to stay on top of today’s business challenges as and when they. They can drill-down using reporting apps and analytics, monitor workflows and processes in your organisation and react quickly to changes in the supply chain.
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Don’t outgrow your system, grow with it
If reduced costs and flexible working aren’t reason enough to consider moving to the cloud, it’s also worth noting that cloud ERP is a highly scalable solution. In other words, it can grow as your business grows. While most cloud ERP solutions will come with primary modules such as finance, manufacturing, logistics, human resources, and a built in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), you’ll also have the ability to add or remove modules and applications as your business sees fit.
As business leaders become more security conscious, some are hesitant of keeping sensitive data in the cloud. So if you do decide to make the switch, it’s important to find a vendor who has transparency on the quality of data processing within cloud-based ERP. Ideally, they should be held up to industry recognised compliance standards.
Because of this, many vendors have invested heavily in enterprise-level security which may even exceed what an on-premise solution can provide. This means that small to medium-sized businesses can access enterprise level security without paying the extra costs. Furthermore, because updates can be pushed automatically companies are always using the latest versions that have been patched for bugs and other potential vulnerabilities.
On a more practical note, storing data on-premise means you have to constantly monitor the conditions it’s stored in as your data can be exposed to risks of natural disasters or theft.
Is it worth the hype?
The benefits to cloud ERP are vast and adoption levels and success rates seem to be flying in the face of Gartner’s prediction. Indeed, in their market guide for cloud ERP product-centric solutions 2017, they assessed that cloud ERP solutions for product-centric companies are maturing and will be adopted by midsize organisations rather than larger ones. By 2025 they predict that at least 50 per cent of large enterprises will be running their core ERP in the cloud. So it looks like cloud ERP is here to stay, and given all the benefits that come with it, it’s not surprising.