Top 4 Things Cloud Can Do to Boost Efficiency and Growth

Most organizations are embracing cloud computing because of its many advantages. Even the manufacturing sector—historically behind in cloud adoption—is catching up.
Incorporating cloud capabilities alone is no longer a business differentiator. Now, the value is in finding growth opportunities in cloud efficiencies. With that in mind, here are four advantages of cloud computing and how they can help drive growth.

1.Simplify and Integrate Data and Operations

To keep up with the pace of business, you need to be able to react quickly. Gain agility by moving core systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) to the cloud.

These applications come packaged as an integrated suite. This makes relevant, accurate data available all in one place—in real-time. It simplifies and integrates data and operations. As a result, business is nimbler and more collaborative. Employees can iterate quickly and capture growth opportunities.

2.Gain Real-Time Supply-Chain Visibility

Supply chains can be huge and unwieldy. Some products require thousands—or even millions—of synchronized components for production. Cloud-based systems integrate critical processes to enable higher supply-chain performance. Systems can include purchasing, sourcing, inventory, and advanced material and warehouse management. Applying real-time analytics to these systems' data sets lets manufacturers anticipate demand. They can also better plan and optimize manufacturing and production planning. This better aligns processes for end-to-end supply-chain visibility and growth.

3.Delight Customers

Customer experience has become a key component of a manufacturer's growth strategy. Happy customers can lead to increased loyalty and more demand. Cloud-based systems like customer relationship management (CRM) and customer sales and support (CSS) can help. They collect data from multiple channels to provide a unified view of the customer. They also help real-time engagement—from day-to-day relationship management, through post-sales support. This collaboration and responsiveness to customer needs can be a source of growth

Wipaire, Inc. designs and manufactures flotation devices for small and medium-sized aircraft. The company switched from using seven disparate systems to a cloud-based ERP system.

Now Wipaire can integrate with its third-party CRM solution. Wipaire has also greatly increased its percentage of on-time deliveries. Before their cloud system, their on-time deliveries were often below 40%. Now, they’re consistently above 75%.

4.Software as a Service

More companies are also turning to cloud-based systems to use the software as a service (SaaS). SaaS is like cloud computing, and many people consider it to be a type of cloud computing. The key difference is that with SaaS, you’ll never have to worry about infrastructure. Avoid the hassles of hosting architecture, storing backup information, and the like.

These benefits hold true for SaaS ERP as well, as seen in the SaaS benefits of Epicor Cloud ERP:

  • Simplified implementation enables faster time to go live

  • No hardware costs, software to upgrade or systems to maintain

  • Performance is as good, if not better, than those of onsite software

  • Easy to use, quick to master

  • No large cash outlay needed; affordable subscription pricing offered instead

As Gartner notes, SaaS-based ERP can provide benefits for small and midsize manufacturers. They can manage opportunities, orders, and operations in an integrated, on-demand ERP solution.

Implementing SaaS into your business can seem challenging, but it doesn’t need to be. Five SaaS implementation best practices include:

Focus on your core need. Follow a simple plan that focuses on the specific processes SaaS will target. Drop “nice to have” but nonessential items. Adding too many of those ensures complexity, delays, scope creep and added costs. Be firm in your project parameters. Only adjust them if it’s mission-critical.

Embrace change. Prepare your team for new processes. Provide a simple communication channel and documentation process. Give business stakeholders and implementation teams approval criteria. Provide transparent updates on progress, setbacks and next steps to head off misinformation.

Empower a team of heroes. Give the right people decision-making power. Make it clear to your SaaS implementation team that they’re empowered to make decisions. Also encourage members to communicate bad news when it hits. They should notify the team if progress stalls or hits a roadblock without fear of reprisal.

Connect the company through a common language. Engage with and align every team involved before starting your SaaS implementation. It’s not enough to send a company-wide memo. You must understand what each group needs for strong cross-department partnerships. Partnerships are only forged through clear, consistent communication and a common language.

Plan and rehearse your go-live support. Repeat. Be ready for action at launch, including potential pitfalls during the go-live event. Successful SaaS implementation teams over-prepare in this area. It’s far more efficient to trim back resources rather than catch up from behind. Ask stakeholders for any possible problems that might arise during go-live. Then put support in place, with both strategy and people, to respond to those scenarios.

Grow Your Business With Cloud and SaaS

The industrial sector is changing—fast. Manufacturers, supply-chain operators, and others must evolve to keep up and grow. The advantages of cloud computing can help.

Cloud computing for business can help companies do more than just keep up, but expand. They can simplify and integrate data operations. They can also gain real-time supply-chain visibility and delight customers. And cloud computing can help create those growth opportunities.

Cloud computing also provides access to key growth potentials like SaaS. SaaS is ideal for small or mid-size companies. They can use it to cut costs and increase performance with a simple subscription plan. A successful SaaS implementation can add to your bottom line without adding to overhead.