If you’ve been running an on-premise legacy ERP system for a number of years now, you’re no stranger to its inherent limitations. It might be on “version lock,” or your data may be in silos. Perhaps your employees can’t quickly access their software from their smartphones for real-time insights. That’s because yesterday’s technology simply wasn’t built for the way we work today.
That’s not to say an IT developer can’t program your client-server software to meet your needs, but today’s best-in-class cloud-based solutions are built for integration, mobility, and most importantly—flexibility. This often makes them the “better” choice for both established businesses that want to upgrade or replace their existing ERP technology and for growing companies who are ready to invest in next-step software.
Cloud ERP systems simply offer several distinct advantages over their on-premise counterparts that make a difference at decision-time, and here are 3 of the most relevant to today’s business user:
1. Maintaining vs. Innovating
On-premise systems are relatively resource-heavy, requiring sizable IT hardware investments and personnel support to keep them operational and up-to-date. And as legacy software begins to show its age—that is, it becomes unsupported or can’t connect to other business systems—both IT and business users are inconvenienced with any number of often-manual process workarounds that take time away from more strategic tasks.
Cloud ERP systems, on the other hand, are maintained by the software vendor—not your internal IT team. That means upgrades are automatic, making your software essentially “versionless” and always reflective of the latest and greatest features, bug fixes, and accommodations for any new compliance rules. Aside from the software itself, you vendor handles user support and is always on-hand to help you introduce new pieces of the software suite, integrate your data with new or existing systems, or embrace whatever innovation ensures you’re always making the most of what they have to offer.
2. Scaling-up, With Ease
If your company has an on-premise ERP system, you may be coming up against some road blocks to growth. Perhaps you have expansion plans and are concerned about transferring ERP functionality to new locations or new users. It’s possible that doing so is cost-prohibitive, considering the IT developer and/or consultant hours (time and budget) required to “right size” your system for growth. It’s also possible that your legacy system, lacking processing speed, data integration and real-time data access, presents opportunity costs that are preventing your business from moving forward in the first place.
You’ll experience more agility and fluidity with a cloud-based system that’s purposefully designed for growth. Cloud software is built on technology platforms that are ready and waiting for expansion—to accommodate changes to business structure and to integrate new functionality, including user access to real-time reporting tools, as business needs evolve. SaaS pricing models are flexible as well, adding a benefit of affordability to the equation, especially when you consider that cloud technology enhancements don’t always require adding to head-count—and they never require purchasing new software licenses.
3. Enabling 24/7 Productivity
Legacy ERP systems were built for the way people used to work: in a traditional office setting, where users accessed their software from desktops that tapped into data housed in on-premise servers. While this worked for many years—and still works best for some businesses—it’s not conducive for today’s mobile world. Not only are people more geographically dispersed, working from the road or in an office located across the country, but they’re working from multiple internet-connected devices. They interact with their software tools in new ways.
Cloud-based ERP solutions deliver a consumer-like experience—what employees are coming to expect in every corner of their digital lives: on-demand content, self-service, intuitive user interfaces, always-on accessibility, and more. These expectations seep over into the realms of vendor and customer relationships, too, and failure to rise to the demands can impact your company’s performance and competitive edge.
Learn more in The Factors Driving Cloud Adoption and Digital Transformation in 2018—and Beyond.
Is a cloud-based ERP system right for your business? We can help you assess your needs relative to your existing IT environment, budget, and goals. Contact us to learn more!
Additional ERP Resources
4 Tips For a Painless ERP Solution Replacement
The 5 Risks of Using an Outdated ERP Solution
How Executives Can Avoid ERP Project Pitfalls