Enterprise grade software is an essential instrument in your SMB toolkit, but unless you're using a flexible, functional platform like the cloud, your business management system is never as effective as it could be. Cloud ERP offers small and mid-sized businesses all the power of on-premises ERP software with all the versatility of cloud technology. After all, cloud vs. on-premises is merely how you "deploy" your solution and should not impact the functionality or performances of your ERP solution. Find out what makes cloud ERP such a revolutionary tool and why enterprises around the world are scrambling to harness the power of the cloud.
What It Is
Cloud ERP solutions give traditional ERP software a dramatic facelift. The cloud's most distinct benefits transfer to your business management system as soon as you host it on the cloud platform. The cloud makes your business software system more:
Your employees – from your key decision-makers to your hourly warehouse workers – want the ability to log in to your business software system from anywhere. The cloud is the ultimate mobile, global platform, enabling access through smartphones, tablets and laptops from anywhere with merely an internet connection.
You may use quite a few business applications on a daily basis, for areas such as HR and payroll, CRM and sales, accounting, insights, ecommerce, and distribution. Just to open your doors each day, you rely on an arsenal of business software platforms and other supporting solutions.
The cloud platform enables you to intimately connect all of your critical tools under one roof – your cloud ERP solution. The result is a holistic business management system that streamlines your processes and keeps consistency within your enterprise.
Unlike on-premise versions, the high-tech datacenter that houses your cloud ERP server take great pains to keep the system protected and the entire data center at large. For small and mid-sized businesses, it's simply not feasible to require retina scanners, fingerprint entry and round-the-clock surveillance for everyone entering or leaving the office building. You should only need to focus on and invest in running your business. Cloud enables this, and allows yous to rely on the industry experts to secure and maintain it, on top grade hardware and infrastructure.
A cloud provider must offer this level of security in order to protect the integrity of its clients' businesses and its own. With cloud ERP, you rest assured knowing that your business software system is safer than it ever would've been on your premises.
Because the cloud is hosted remotely, it's available on a flexible subscription model. True cloud ERP subscription models will offer "AIS" (All-Inclusive Subscription). This model puts every cost point into the monthly subscription, including the services to deply, support, maintain, train, and upgrade. Everything is rolled into an OPEX (Operational Expense), which offers tax benefits that go back into your business.
What It Isn't
When it comes to cloud ERP, “what it is” is just as important as “what it isn't.” In fact, because of the frequent difficulties experienced with on-premise enterprise software, most businesses are more interested in the traditional ERP features that the cloud has left behind. We know that cloud ERP is mobile, integrative, secure and predictable, but it most certainly isn't the following:
CloudERP is not a scaled-back version of an otherwise robust set of business software. Again, cloud vs. on-premise should only pertain to how it’s deployed. If your cloud provider is telling you different, and that their cloud offering provides less than their on-pemises, this is NOT a true cloud ERP offering, but a way for them to make more profit, or because their model is broken.
Another misconception of cloud ERP is that you have little flexibility for what is licensed and when or if you can upgrade when a new version is available. This is NOT cloud ERP, this is again a broken model. True cloud ERP will still allow you to modify the solution to your specific needs, and you should never be forced to endure an upgrade just because the vendor says it’s time. It should make sense to your business and your vendor should be able to help you ascertain if the new version offers benefits specific to your business.
Typical on-premise software projects can take years to fully set up, during which period you suffer crippling downtime, oppressive expense and little (if anything) in the way of business performance to show for it. There are even many cases of projects being aborted after all that investment and money spent.
The cloud, on the other hand, features simple delivery and fast setup. This is primarily because most of the foundational set-up is already pre-configured. In a true cloud ERP solution, the services are included in the subscription, so there is no risk of scope creep, or prolonged projects that result in added costs.
Let’s recap the cloud ERP status quo:
- AIS (All-Inclusive Subscription) that removes the risk of all CAPEX (Capital Expenses) and puts it all into a true OPEX (Operational Expense) model, which is predicable, budgeted, and offers tax benefits
- Rapid deployment that is less invasive and included in the subscription
- Flexible, so you don’t have to be hand-cuffed to a one size fits all solution offering - you should be able to configure to your liking or need
- Integrative, so you have all you need under one solution or offering, in a user experience that gives you role-based views of your data (via dashboards) in real-time, and drill down access to data sources regardless of where it resides
Why It's So Prolific
Enterprises, start-up companies, and SMBs worldwide choose cloud ERP for a host of reasons – some broadly applicable to any industry (like the ones listed above), some unique to specific businesses' circumstances. It's this versatility, security, and predictability that make the cloud platform so attractive to such a range of companies. When compared with on-premise business software systems or deployment options, cloud ERP is far more:
No matter what type of business you're in, how fast you're anticipating growth or who your customers are, one thing remains the same: Cloud ERP offers marked improvements over any other business management solution made available to date.
Cloud ERP is easy to augment to suit your evolving needs. It's built on a powerful framework that supports your business through turbulent times of growth and change – and, in fact, it's a solution that grows with you. As your enterprise matures, your ERP software changes and matures alongside it.
The cloud is revolutionary, but calling it “new” is a mistake. Simply put, cloud ERP is a smarter, better way to deploy and access business applications that have proven their efficacy through decades of serving enterprises just like yours. These tried-and-true technologies are relocating to a more secure environment, poised for better system integration and accompanied by a more affordable and predictable investment model.
Before you choose a software vendor and jump head-first into cloud ERP, do your homework. Make sure you understand exactly what cloud technology is, viewing it through the lenses of both your business and more objective outsiders. Identify the weaknesses in your current processes and hash out what cloud migration means for your business.
Interested in upgrading your business software system? Join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, August 12 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (2:00 p.m. CDT). In this one-hour session, we'll reveal the 7 secrets that help you make the most of your business software systems. Click the link below to register today!