Cloud ERP can deliver efficient IT

November 28th, 2013

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools remain some of the most important corporate applications available. One of the biggest questions companies must ask themselves when planning an ERP implementation is whether to launch an on-site deployment or cloud-based ERP software.

The two types of ERP solutions both have their advantages. For example, the on-site architecture allows businesses to have more control over data because it is not hosted in an off-site location. However, the cloud is available through the Internet, allowing employees to access work-related content with ease.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of the cloud over its on-site counterpart is in terms of affordability. Firms that adopt the cloud do not have to make an upfront capital investment for hardware that may never be used to its full capacity. Instead, companies only pay for the services they actually consume. Should they demand more computing power or storage capacity, such needs can be met without buying additional hardware or software.

A recent TechTarget report indicated that organizations that lean toward cloud-based ERP can streamline their IT infrastructures, rather than having disparate systems. Ben Barnett, vice president of IT, finance, accounting, purchasing, and HR at Principal Manufacturing Corporation, encouraged companies to always think about flexibility when planning to adopt an ERP solution.

"You want to find a system that fits your company well in terms of the way transactions are done," Barnett said, according to the news provider. "People spend too much time trying to make a system accommodate them when if they just changed their thinking and tried to do things the way the software does, they would probably gain a lot of efficiencies."

Mark Magel, business transformation director at Mitchell International, indicated that organizations should also identify the business requirements of ERP software.

"Whatever your top three systems are, make sure to get reference calls and talk to the customers of the vendors you're doing business with," Magel said, TechTarget reported. "It will give you a sense of day-to-day issues you may have to deal with and how these systems work in the real world."

Companies already experiencing the benefits of cloud

Businesses leveraging cloud ERP solutions have reported a number of operational benefits that may sway some others to try out the technology. A survey of Sage ERP adopters by YouGov UK found that more than half of respondents said the accessibility of corporate data through any device is the top benefit of migrating to the cloud.

Nearly 50 percent of participants indicated that the cloud also means they can always have the latest software in place. Others said they have achieved lower maintenance costs, timely system updates, and overall faster deployment times by relying on cloud-based environments.

Some decision-makers may believe that the cloud is all hype and has no substance. This may have been a popular mindset just a few years ago, but might no longer apply to the current landscape. Pete Daffern, president of an ERP service provider involved with the survey, asserted that the focus on the cloud among ERP users should not be solely geared toward the technology's role as an IT delivery model, but as a "complete business solution."

Corporate leaders that want the very best that ERP systems have to offer should do their due diligence when planning an ERP upgrade. Infor solutions are some of the most popular options on the market, and for good reason. Infor has made a concerted effort to support companies relying on the cloud, building a client base that consists of tens of thousands of customers operating throughout various industries.

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