It can be easy to think of cloud-based enterprise systems as just light and fluffy versions of their heavyweight cousins—more like clouds on a pleasant summer’s day than massive, heavy thunderclouds. However, with cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, it is possible to have the best of both worlds—a lightweight, agile system that is easier to implement, mobilize and customize and a feature-rich enterprise system that is powerful enough to support every aspect of your business.
Legacy Enterprise Software is On the Way Out
Legacy ERP systems are waning in popularity, while cloud-based systems are growing. Gartner has predicted that at least 30% of businesses will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud by 2018. Traditional ERP systems have a reputation for costly, time-consuming deployments and maintenance, outdated user interfaces and inflexibility—the definition of a legacy system.
On the other hand, traditional ERP systems have helped businesses to grow and be profitable by streamlining the entire business from manufacturing, warehousing, sales and financial management. Many ERP systems have been customized to meet specific company requirements and have been entrenched in company processes. On-premises implementations were required for these critical systems because of the need from reliability, speed and control. Because of this, while many other business systems have moved to the cloud, ERP has been one of the last to do so.
Heavyweight Functionality is Available in the Cloud
Can cloud-based ERP really do what your business needs? Is it just light and fluffy or does it have substance?
You can have the best of both worlds. In fact, not only can you gain the efficiency and ease of cloud-based ERP, but you can also gain the full-featured functionality of proven ERP software. Detailed functionality available in the cloud include manufacturing, distribution, finance and more. If you are familiar with legacy ERP systems that required extensive customization, take a new look at what today’s ERP can do.
You might be surprised at the standard functionality that you can gain without customization and with the tremendous benefits of a cloud-based ERP. In addition to this functionality, cloud-based ERP can simplify the implementation process, increase business agility and reduce the cost of ownership.
Cloud ERP Eases the Pain of Implementation
ERP implementations have been the stuff of legends—major fanfare of a renewed, integrated business model, months of customization, implementation and training, and headaches as the system doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Implementing cloud-based ERP is easier because often these systems are more modular and provide greater accessibility. In addition, when companies choose to outsource the hosting of their ERP, they do not need to ramp up to accommodate, train and support new hardware and software platforms.
Cloud ERP Increases Business Agility and Transparency
When your business is growing whether through increased sales, geographic expansion or acquisition, cloud ERP systems can help your business be agile and flexible. By leveraging cloud ERP capabilities such as improved access and transparency, organizations transform processes to ease growing pains. Cloud ERP can ease the migration of shared processes and data, help move toward integrated systems and provide multi-location access.
An easy-to-use, mobile user interface is expected today which means that Internet and mobile offerings need to be provided. Cloud-based ERP software allows for much easier delivery of corporate data and information on mobile platforms allowing employees, supplier and customers access to critical data on any device and from anywhere.
Cloud ERP Reduces the Cost of Ownership
When ERP first became available, only mega companies could afford to implement ERP. The upfront software, hardware and implementation costs were a major barrier to small businesses. That has changed over time with ERP systems that are made for small to mid-sized businesses. With cloud ERP, the barriers in terms of time and cost got even lower.
A hosted cloud system reduces the cost of ownership as you pay by the user enabling you to scale up or down as your needs change. You also gain ERP functionality improvements much sooner as the vendor upgrades the system for you. Your IT investment can be redirected as you don’t need to manage servers, patch and upgrade software or hardware.
Cloud ERP systems are not just insubstantial fluff. They are the future of business systems with full functionality and new features that can help your business soar.