Already being posed to us by many of our customers, given the current urgent demand for anytime, anywhere access for the entire workforce, answering this question will likely become a priority for all organizations.  To us, the short answer is overwhelmingly yes, for nearly every organization that might ask this question. Or at least the cloud must have a very clear role in the way you deploy your ERP. Technology trends are undeniable, customer demands are exploding, and flexible anywhere/anytime access available to a diverse workforce is increasingly critical for all businesses. The demand for a digital transformation, including moving business functionality to the cloud, isn’t discriminating by business type or size or age or industry. Whether SMB or enterprise, all organizations must become digital businesses and that means cloud-enabled application and data competencies. Given the pervasive role of ERP in many organization, the work often starts there.

Technology and Small Business

In What Is the Role of An ERP VAR in 2020? we wrote about Digital Transformation and the importance of ERP and ERP vendors in the process. Importantly, for most of our SMB customers, digital transformation is no longer a technology trend somewhere in the future or only for enterprise organizations. According to SMB Group 2017 SMB Digital Transformation Study shared by our partner, Infor, 73% of small businesses were planning to increase revenue around digital transformation initiatives and were recognizing technology’s role in driving differentiation and growth.

“SMBs often view IT as a cost center. In reality, however, technology solutions are a business enabler. The right solutions can help your business extend and strengthen customer relationships, streamline operations and get the insights necessary to fuel growth.” SMB Group 2017 SMB Digital Transformation Study

And in the 2019 version of the same study, 82% of respondents agreed to strongly agreed that “using technology effectively is key to our company’s survival and growth.”.

Cloud Adoption Accelerating

Whether small business or large, moving data and technology to the cloud is increasingly a question of when not if. In an August 2018 article, a team from McKinsey noted that “cloud-specific spending was expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending through 2020.” And in Why Cloud Computing is Ideal for Small Business, Susan Ward noted that “Gartner expected up to 60% of business owners will be relying on the cloud for hosting data by 2020, roughly doubling the number from 2018.”

The benefits of moving technology and data to the cloud have been well-covered and supported by an ever expanding number of proof points. A search of “cloud computing benefits” returns millions of articles, many offering up well-sourced reasons to move to the cloud including reducing costs, increasing security, streamlining the upgrade process, and improving ready access to new technologies. More important to these though may be the benefits yielded by delivering anytime/anywhere access for all, unifying a workforce around common operations, processes, insights and analytics, and fostering improved collaboration across the organization.

Additionally, for many of our customers in the industrial equipment rental and service space, we believe it will be increasingly more difficult for them to keep up with trends specific to their industry without moving to a cloud solution for their technology and their data. Whether SMB or enterprise, the response to field service trends such as mobility, automation, customer-driven care, and rapidly evolving technologies such as machine learning and augmented reality require cloud somewhere in the deployments.  Cloud solutions that foster innovation, deliver flexibility, and ensure anywhere/anytime access to operations, customer records, and business data allow organizations to focus on their product and service delivery with confidence that their vendors are keeping them up to date with stable solutions that maximize uptime and speed and deliver stability, redundancy, and security.

Moving Your ERP To The Cloud

The good news here is that most are just getting started as it relates to ERP and the cloud. According to The Impact of Cloud On ERP from Cloud Security Alliance, ERP movement to the cloud is still early in its adoption cycle. Sixty one percent of respondents had ERP applications that were still predominantly on-premise, but most were considering or already deploying Cloud IaaS, Cloud Paas, and/or Cloud SaaS applications. While benefits of moving ERP applications to the cloud are many and it seems an inevitability for most organizations, it is important to approach the project with a considered process, an ERP solution built for the cloud, and an experienced VAR as an implementation partner.

The commitment of our ERP software partner, Infor, to innovation is one of the reasons we’ve been working with them for more than twenty-five years. Rinnoecently named a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP,  Infor CloudSuite solutions are built for the cloud. Our customers also appreciate the field service and manufacturing specific functionality available with the two solutions we work with, Infor CloudSuite Field Service and Infor CloudSuite Industrial (Syteline). With Infor products that foster cloud-driven innovation and collaboration, deliver scalability and robust analytics, and support operations built for the future, we believe our customers are best set-up to meet the needs they have today and prepare for what their organizations and their customers will require of them tomorrow.

The software though is only one component to a smart cloud ERP deployment. Planning for a new ERP deployment in the cloud or converting an existing on-premise deployment to the cloud comes with concerns including organizational impact, new skill demands, and managing steps, scope and costs.  To ensure a considered and thoughtful process that delivers architecture, applications, processes, data, and security optimized for the cloud environment, we look to an experienced team and our proven Milestone Methodology process. Developed over the course of our work with thousands of implementations, Milestone Methodology is a framework for guiding integrated teams through the multi-phased work of implementing new or upgraded ERP software, cloud on or-premise.

Is It The Right Time For You?

Is it time for you to consider cloud for your ERP? While the answer is unique to each organizations and the many variables that contribute to your success, the most likely, yes. Regardless of size, business type, or industry, identifying how cloud fits into your technology strategy, including ERP, is now a must. A cornerstone of digital transformation, the cloud delivers direct value including cost savings, operational efficiency, and revenue growth as well as indirect value for customers, employees, and other stakeholders. With the demand for digital business, cloud adoption is taking off influenced by multiple factors including delivering anywhere/anytime access for a distributed and diverse workforce, addressing increasingly more complex security needs, and ensuring technology agility and scalability. Although cloud adoption is taking off across all businesses, ERP has thus far, remained an on-premise deployment for many organizations, but that is predicted to change. Keeping up with your industry, your customers, and your staff means yes, whether you are SMB or enterprise, it is likely the right time to define and deploy a cloud strategy for your ERP.

When the time is right for your organization, we hope you’ll invite Infor and Single Source Systems to join your Cloud ERP team.