Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools are no longer an just an affordable solution for organizations with vast resources. Cloud computing in particular has made ERP a reality for more firms than ever before. The technology has accomplished this thanks to its immense functionality and scalability, allowing members of the workforce to remain productive anywhere, regardless of their physical location.

Compared to on-site infrastructure that requires companies to purchase solutions that may never be used to full capacity, the cloud is scalable, meaning that businesses can add additional storage capacity and computing power without buying more hardware or software. Add in the fact that the cloud is available through the Internet, so employees can use their personal smartphones and tablets to access work-related content, and organizations can function like never before.

Another added bonus of adopting a cloud solution in general is that users do not have to manage the system themselves because much, if not all, of the maintenance is handled by the vendors. Businesses that want to gain the functionality of an ERP system while focusing on more important tasks like growing their firms can kill two birds with one stone by implementing a cloud-based environment.

Other reasons cloud ERP shines
Writing for CloudTweaks, Samantha Hornby recently highlighted the benefits of cloud ERP, noting that businesses relying on the solution can quickly add more users when needed.

"With cloud ERP applications, businesses can slowly add individual users onto the system very easily one user at a time. A set 'cost per user' will get added to the monthly fees each time someone new is added. This set cost makes it easier to budget for new hires," Hornby wrote.

Hornby also explained that although each ERP launch will vary between companies, most include data migration, worker training, system configuration and the installation itself.

"Within these components, data migration costs are among the highest due to complex data formatting and the transfer of many years' worth of data from one system to another. However as a start-up business, there is often minimal, if any, historic data that needs to be transferred which significantly reduces the overall cost of implementation," Hornby added.

Hornby concluded that companies, especially startups, can benefit greatly from either an on-site ERP deployment or a cloud-based ERP implementation. Firms planning to adopt a new solution should make sure they weigh their options before jumping ahead, because any misstep will limit productivity and run up the budget.

Organizations far too often select ERP software because of an attractive pricing model, rather than the actual functionality of the tool itself. This is why it is imperative that business leaders choose a reputable vendor to avoid any mishaps. Otherwise, the firm will likely have to replace the ineffective software very soon. Infor solutions, for example, are used by tens of thousands of clients worldwide and blend the best of both on-site and off-site ERP.