Many of us remember the days when software came in a box you bought at a store. Inside were floppy disks and a booklet on how to install the software. We progressed to 3.5” disks, and then to CD-ROMs. Then came the day when you went to buy software for a new laptop, the cashier scanned something that looked like an oversized gift card and you entered a code into a website to download your new software. Now you simply visit the website and purchase a subscription for whatever programs you need for however long you need them.
The internet and cloud computing have made software as a service (SaaS) models the norm, extending so far as the ERP market. On-premises ERP systems are still available and in some companies are necessary for data storage requirements. However, businesses are becoming more comfortable with the cloud: An estimated 75 percent of businesses across the globe run applications from the cloud, and 13 percent of ERP systems implemented in the past four years have been cloud based.
If you’re considering moving to the cloud, you’re in good company. And, if you’re looking for a few tips on choosing the right cloud ERP solution, you’re in the right place.
Why Should I Move to the Cloud?
Perhaps one of the most readily touted features of cloud ERP is that it provides access to data across departments from any device you can connect to the internet. This is especially beneficial to sales teams on the road, executives who are traveling or need to show live data in an off-site board meeting, and companies with multiple locations across the country.
Using an ERP solution that is subscription based also allows greater options to scale along with the growth of your business without needing to go through another lengthy install and training. Maintenance and upgrades are also easier to come by because they don’t require your business to upgrade servers or other computer hardware. Cloud systems can be conveniently updated as often as every few months without necessitating a major release.
On the cloud, you’ll also find you have increased access to up-to-the-minute data and analytics. With mobile access to real-time data, you can have confidence in your numbers and not worry you’re making decisions using stale, weeks-old data.
Picking the Right Cloud Solution
Just like with on-premises ERP solutions, there are cloud ERP solutions that are good for your business needs, and cloud ERP solutions that are even better. Keeping these tips top of mind when you’re looking at cloud ERP options will help you narrow down to the best fit.
- Define your business requirements. The quickest (and first) way to narrow down the list of possible cloud ERPs is to list your business requirements and see which software’s functionalities match up. The best price and slickest interface mean nothing if the solution can’t do precisely what you need it to do.
- Evaluate the true cost. A newer cloud ERP solution might try to draw you in with an attractive price. Make sure you know precisely what is included for that cost. It may not include the specialized modules or add-ons that will enable the cloud ERP to work the way your business needs it to. The solution might also be too specialized to fit all your business requirements. The initial sticker price may not be what you pay, and you could find your business paying more in the long run to get what it needs out of your cloud ERP solution.
- Understand the full implementation plan, including training and data migration. Implementation and integration of any ERP is important to the long-term success of the solution. If your team needs a phased rollout but the cloud ERP provider prefers on initial implementation in all areas, this misalignment can result in significant stress on implementation, and even affect how well the solution is adopted. You’ll also need to define parameters around migrating your data to the new system; be sure you have a clear understanding of the integration protocols and data migration tools they offer.
- Make sure you’re comfortable with the security capabilities. Whether it’s the day-to-day guarding of your data, or disaster recovery after an outage, you need to know your chosen cloud ERP solution complies with local laws and IT infrastructure requirements. The better solutions will have strategically located data centers to ensure your data is secured and recoverable in the event of a breach or outage.
Those four tips will get you started on your cloud ERP transition journey. If you’re looking for even more information, download this FREE infographic to plan out your path to cloud ERP success.
Cloud ERP Partners: The Final Piece
The last piece of the puzzle for finding the right cloud ERP solution is finding the right vendor. Far from just being the company selling you the solution, your cloud ERP vendor is also your partner. The right partner has in-depth knowledge of the solutions they sell and can provide specialized problem-solving, integration, customization, and training.
ASI has decades of experience helping companies find the right business software solutions, from the original boxed disks to now with cloud ERP and other SaaS solutions. We’re committed to making sure you have the right technology products in place to accelerate your business growth and focus on success. Ready to move to the cloud? Let’s talk.