It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when businesses were suspicious of the Cloud. However, once early adopters of Cloud-based systems vouched for its advantages, and proved that hosting your data and applications remotely doesn’t have to spell disaster, Cloud solutions became a viable option for most technical solutions. Now, the Cloud has become so entrenched in many organisations that it’s not easy to find one that doesn’t use at least one Cloud system today. Out of these systems, one of the most popular is Cloud ERP. This is an explanation of what this solution actually is and the benefits of Cloud ERP.
Cloud-based ERP solutions are a suite of ERP applications that are delivered to the user over an Internet connection, usually through a browser. The software usually doesn’t need to be installed on computers and is offered on a per-user, per-month, flat-fee rate. This is in opposition to a traditional, on-premise ERP system, which is installed locally on an organisation’s own computers and servers. On-premise ERP is priced under a one-time perpetual license fee, usually based on the size of the enterprise or the number of concurrent users. There are recurring fees for support, training and updates.
On-premise solutions are usually considered a capital expenditure, as implementation involves one large investment up front. On the other hand, Cloud ERP is usually considered an operating expenditure, as it is an additional overhead cost the company will continue to pay. The low entry cost that Cloud-based solutions offer in comparison with a substantial upfront perpetual licence fee is a factor in the continuing growth of Cloud ERP. The cost of Cloud-based ERP is likely to remain predictable over time, and with no additional investments in hardware, such as server infrastructure. Since you are buying subscription from your SaaS provider, you don’t need to purchase new servers to hold the application or databases, nor do you have to hire staff to install, troubleshoot and manage hardware and software associated with your system, as this is all covered in the licencing costs.
A large part of the initial wariness of Cloud-based solutions was based on the idea that storing sensitive data outside of your company’s premises and in an external data centre was less safe than keeping it on-premise. It soon became clear that in most cases, cloud vendors could offer a safer environment. Most Cloud ERP provides enhanced security measures to ensure your data is secure, both at rest and when it’s moving from your systems to the host servers. ERP Cloud vendors are supposed to hire the right team to manage the tools and appliances keeping your data secure. They test weaknesses and fix faults in the system so that you don’t have to.
Scaling properly is important for a growing business. If you scale your business too slowly, you won’t be able to keep up with satisfying your customers and not fall behind your competitors. If your business is scaled too quickly, you can over-spend and squander your resources. By providing a scalable platform, Cloud ERP solves this problem, whether you have a startup or a fast-growing enterprise. You don’t have to purchase and install new hardware or additional software seats as more employees join your organisation. Instead, you can scale your Cloud ERP solution to facilitate an unlimited number of users without the aggravation of maintaining and replacing on-premise hardware and software. The opposite is also true; if your business is seasonal or needs to downsize, then you’re easily able to reduce your licence size to accommodate to your changing requirements.
The nature of Cloud ERP means that you can access it from anywhere with any Internet-enabled device. This means that you can offer Cloud ERP access to your staff if you have a remote office, a remote workforce or just someone who has to use the ERP system while away from the office. It’s also easier to share data across departments and locations, and as the data through the interface that everyone is interacting with is centralised, there’s less chance of misinterpreting data between functions, smoothing collaboration.
A common problem facing businesses that have implemented an in-house ERP is that it can require a lot of computer power for the system to function with the highest efficiency. It may be necessary for a small business in this situation to invest in separate servers, which of course need to
be set up and maintained. Your performance is determined by how well this is implemented, so if it’s executed poorly, your system won’t run with the efficiency it could have.
However, the only requirement Cloud ERP has is a stable internet connection, which many small to mid-size enterprises will have anyway. The resources needed to host the solution are dealt with by the provider, which allows Cloud ERP to perform better than many in-house systems. The data centres are often hosted and maintained by outstanding hosting environments such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, which are specifically designed to ensure that accessing your data is as fast, easy and secure as possible. They provide geographic diversity and back-up, and store your data in multiple locations for safety.
Better Access to Information
ERPs compile relevant information in a more effective way than other methods such as spreadsheets. Without ERP, businesses can struggle to find the information they need, which can lead to disaster if recovering certain information is time-sensitive.
Once you’ve decided that Cloud ERP would improve your business operations, there is still the problem of choosing the right system. There are a lot of different ERP out there that cater to a host of different requirements. Each organisation has its own unique needs, depending on many different factors including the size of the business and the industry in which it operates. Finding the solution that’s right for you requires spending a lot of time and money.
Software Advisory Service lets you bypass all that, and can find a software solution for you, depending on your needs. We offer non-chargeable advice from our team of experts, and can provide a shortlist of vendors tailored specifically to your requirements.