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How Cloud ERP is Transforming Global Enterprises

Implement digital platforms to improve governance and coordination across your organization.

April 02, 2024

A global organization often includes business units or partnerships that provide specialized expertise and services to multiple business units within it. To coordinate options and help ensure consistency across their businesses, leaders of these companies sometimes exercise strict control over the configuration of their preferred enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

However, in our current age of digital transformation, on-premises ERP systems may not be sufficient to meet the changing expectations of customers, partners, and stakeholders. This raises the question of whether migration from on-premises ERP systems to cloud ERP and digital platforms will transform previously strict governance into more of a digital coordination function, both inside and outside the company’s four walls.

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of adopting cloud ERP and digital platforms in global business units.

What are digital platforms and how do they differ from traditional ERP systems?

Digital platforms are software platforms that enable the integration and orchestration of digital capabilities across the value chain. They leverage technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and analytics to create a seamless operational environment. Digital platforms allow businesses to connect and collaborate with internal and external entities, such as customers, suppliers, distributors, regulators, and competitors, in real-time and across geographies. They also empower businesses with the data-driven insights they need to adapt to changing market conditions and anticipate customer needs.  

ERP systems automate and standardize core business processes, such as finance, accounting, human resources, procurement, and inventory management. Their goal is to help enterprises optimize efficiency, streamline operations, and boost profits. Most ERPs operate under strict governance, where decisions and configurations are centralized and controlled by corporate headquarters.

What are the benefits of migrating business units to cloud ERP and digital platforms in business units?

Making the change to cloud ERP at the business unit level offers several opportunities for growth across the enterprise:

Enhanced customer experience

By leveraging data analytics to understand customer preferences and behaviors, digital platforms help businesses deliver more personalized, responsive service. Business units can offer more value-added services, such as customized solutions and support, by integrating digital capabilities across the value chain.

Increased operational agility

Cloud ERP and digital platforms can help business units make faster and more frequent updates to products and services. By giving businesses the real-time visibility to stay one step ahead of unexpected disruptions, these platforms help build resilience across the enterprise.  

Improved innovation and competitiveness

Digital platforms foster a culture of innovation by giving business units and subsidiaries more autonomy. This flexibility enables business units to cultivate external sources of new insights and ideas, such as partners, suppliers, and competitors.

Reduced operational costs

When switching to cloud ERP and digital platforms, business units eliminate the need for expensive, complex ERP infrastructure that doesn’t directly apply to their part of the enterprise. As a result, they see cost savings due to data-driven insights and recommendations that are customized to help optimize resource utilization within their specific business focus.

How to migrate to digital platforms in business units successfully

Migrating to cloud ERP and digital platforms requires a holistic, systematic approach:

  • Assess where you are now and where you want to go: Through the lens of your business unit, conduct a thorough analysis of current ERP systems and their operational performance, as well as your future goals and customer expectations. Based on this data, it should be fairly easy to identify opportunities for improvement along with potential benefits and challenges of cloud migration. 
  • Define the vision and strategy: Using your benefits and challenges as a starting point, create a compelling vision and strategy for making the change. During this process, it’s important to define your most important objectives. With your priorities set, you can build out a roadmap of the stakeholders, timelines, and milestones that will help you arrive at your destination.
  • Select the right digital platforms and partners: When making such an important choice about your digital transformation, it’s vital to consider functionality, compatibility, scalability, reliability, security, and cost. Business units should also establish clear and mutually beneficial contracts with their chosen technology partner, defining roles, responsibilities, expectations, and incentives.
  • Implement and test the platforms: To help ensure a smooth transition, business units should implement and test the digital platforms in phases, starting with pilot projects and small-scale experiments, before gradually expanding the scope. At the same time, it’s critical to establish relevant metrics to measure performance of the new platform, as well as a process for incorporating feedback from users and partners.

Maintenance and Optimization: Business units should manage and update the platforms on an ongoing basis, helping ensure their availability, reliability, security, and efficiency. Ongoing improvements mean customers, partners, and stakeholders will get what they need, when they need it.

Embrace the Possibilities

Migrating from an on-premises ERP system to cloud ERP and digital platforms can be transformative for business units, enabling them to enhance their governance and coordination capabilities, meet local government regulations, and create more value for customers and partners.

To be effective, this shift also requires careful execution. As a leader, you can help your business units adopt a gradual approach to the assessment, implementation, and management of the platforms—making sure each step aligns with your overall business goals. With the plans and vision in place, you’re ready to leverage the power of the cloud to achieve operational excellence and gain a competitive advantage in the digital era.

Contact Epicor to start your global business transformation today.