6 Reasons to Change Your view of Cloud ERP Software
I remember a conversation I had with a friend, some eight or so years ago now, about his concerns with storing personal data in the cloud. He was worried about his family photos being somewhere ‘up there’ for anyone to get access to–I think it’s fair to say he wasn’t alone with this concern.
Security was one of the primary hurdles the cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) movement has had to overcome in its rise in adoption. Today however, in both business and personal markets, attitudes and awareness have changed dramatically.
A Saugatuck Technology report found that with respect to ERP/business management software, 47% of businesses have implemented cloud solutions and 70% plan to implement in the near future.
So, if your business has not yet made the shift to cloud ERP software, here are 6 key reasons why you should seriously consider it.
1. Cloud ERP software can improve security
The reality is that security is a valid concern for any deployment option, cloud, hosted or on-premises. You should consider the strengths and weaknesses of each approach based on the requirements of your operating environment.
The way we live and work has changed. Businesses no longer need to function with desktop computers bolted to desks. Today, productivity is derived from users accessing systems from anywhere and bringing their own devices to connect to your network. Your operating environment should accommodate changes such as this, while keeping security as strong as possible.
Putting any pre-conceived ideas behind you, consider the fact that in a recent ERP to cloud migration report by Mint Jutras, 55% of respondents expressed concerns over security. However, when deployed, 33% cited one of the benefits of SaaS was improved IT security.
Particularly for small and medium sized businesses, leveraging the functionality and security capabilities of leading providers is likely to present a more cost effective alternative than matching such capabilities in your own environment.
2. Unify the experience
If your business currently runs multiple ERP systems across multiple locations, then there are strong reasons for moving to a single cloud ERP software application.
Assuming you have an equivalent internet connection across locations, then regardless of where your users are in the world, they can have a user experience comparable to that of their cross-continent, or cross-city workmates.
Deeper than a unified user experience, having one single system provides for a reduced administrative, training and management effort. Additionally, with a more equal operating environment, you have the ability to benchmark performance across locations, streamline operations, and identify inefficient and ineffective business practices.
Another key benefit with one solution is the data visibility it gives you across the entire operations, helping everyone to make smarter, faster business decisions. This can have a positive impact on the customer experience as everyone access the same data and have a single view of the customer journey.
3. More effective upgrades
Cloud ERP software can also redefine the upgrade process.
From an Epicor perspective, our cloud upgrades are automatically deployed as part of standard support services. Within this model, customers experience less disruption.
Minor updates are transparently deployed, typically bi-weekly, with less-frequent, major upgrades being prepared for with plenty of notice and include a sand-box training environment for users.
Aside from making sure everything is operating as you would expect, the level of project management required in this upgrade model is minimal. Additionally, removing the need to justify the decision to upgrade means you can remain on the most current version of the software with a minimal level of input required on your part.
4. The choice is yours
Quite often with software, change is not as simple as it should be, with deployment models sometimes serving to restrict a company’s future flexibility.
Again, speaking for our own service offering, Epicor offers the exact same solution deployed at a customer’s site as it does in the cloud. Therefore, if you opt to deploy in the cloud, the option is there in the future to move to an on-premises model, and vice versa.
5. Get more value from your IT department
In many organisations, IT staff resources are spread pretty thin. So, if you have a highly skilled and valuable resource ‘racking and patching’ servers, then you are likely to be missing out on an opportunity for them to be working on more valuable, strategic tasks.
When you free your IT staff from these typical lower-value tasks, they can be challenged to reach their full potential, which is better for them, and can help the business grow faster and smarter.
6. Improve productivity through mobility
As I alluded to earlier, the way we all work now is vastly different to years gone by. Mobility is a perfect example of this–facilitating for users to be productive when they are away from their workstations.
Whether it is on-the-road sales reps, field service engineers, staff that work from home, or on-site factory floor operators, cloud ERP software allows users to have real-time system access through tablets, or other mobile and handheld devices. This opens the door for a more flexible workforce, where the concept of rigidity can be a thing of the past.
Consider everything from cycle counting stock, to collecting sales orders at tradeshows–mobility through cloud ERP allows you to dramatically change how you approach these functions.
Whether you choose to move to the cloud or not, it is worthwhile understanding the value it can bring to your business. That way you can be confident that you are adopting the approach that best suits your requirements.
Posted by Vince Randall, Regional Vice President, Epicor Software ANZ