Cloud solutions are increasingly gaining the attention of business leaders and quickly replacing legacy, on-premise solutions. In 2017, global cloud computing revenue topped $250 billion, and according to Gartner, by 2020, 80 percent of CTOs in leading organizations will facilitate the identification and analysis of emerging technologies to support their companies’ digital transformations.
Despite this growth, cloud computing remains in the dark for many business leaders, making it hard to evaluate benefits of cloud computing and the value of deploying Enterprise Research Planning (ERP) software within it.
Businesses build, sell, and support products and services that meet their customers’ needs. IT solutions that enable these tasks have existed for many years, but cloud versions increasingly offer faster implementations, a richer set of capabilities, and more rapid access to innovations. Additionally, given the real-time, always-on nature of the cloud, cloud-based ERP solutions can evolve more quickly than on-premise systems to provide the latest capabilities. Business leaders can expect this evolution moving forward to include industry specialization,and new and improved means to glean business intelligence from data.
For companies without an ERP solution in place, starting with a cloud-based ERP solution is a great choice. When you already have a legacy solution, the answer is more complicated, and should take into account existing investments in software (e.g., development and/or licensing), the cost of operating the software (e.g., data centers, hardware, networks, talent), and the value derived from gaining access to new features and functionality. If you review the investment over a longer time period, the more likely it is that the cloud solution will offer a significantly lower total cost of ownership.
Security is often the biggest concern for many considering a move to the cloud in the research cited previously, it was the leading perceived barrier to cloud adoption. You need to consider the security of your company’s information as well as your customers’ information. The good news is that cyber security solutions are continually improving, and cloud providers increasingly have the edge over internal IT teams when it comes to detecting and preventing cyber attacks, especially when compared to SMBs with little or no IT staff.
When you’re relying on a cloud ERP vendor to operate the software used to run your business and serve your customers, you need assurances that it will always be available. Look for Service Level Agreements that guarantee performance. 99.5% system availability per month is the lowest uptime percentage you should accept, and make sure the financial penalties for under-performance are a sufficient incentive for the vendor to deliver.
How cloud ERP vendors answer these questions will tell you a lot about their ability to meet your business needs. They’ve all heard these questions before, and you should expect credible answers delivered in easily understood business terms