The recent Beyond ERP report from Price Waterhouse Cooper claims that investments in cloud based (Software as a Service) ERP solutions will double while traditional ERP implementations will fall by 30 percent. While some attribute this to the cost savings that often come with SaaS offerings, much of the increased interest is likely because people have come to understand that the software and data in the cloud can be just as secure as if it were hosted on-site. With the myth that the cloud is insecure having been squashed, companies without the resources to host and support enterprise grade software like ERP applications have found SaaS offerings to be a perfect fit. However, when the software implementation does not take place at your location how do you accurately measure success?
Know what goals matter
There are certain goals that you will strive for no matter where your ERP solution is located. However, when it comes to a cloud based application there are some goals that will change. Among these will likely be:
- Reduction of ERP related IT responsibilities
- Seamless integration across multiple locations
- Increased agility and sharing across departments and locations
- Reduction in manpower costs
- Reduction in infrastructure costs
There may be other goals that pertain to your specific organization. The important thing to remember is that you should gain something from moving to the cloud; it shouldn’t be a move just because others are doing it.
One of the greatest reasons to move any Software as a Solution offering is because it will scale as your company grows. With traditional implementations, you will need to purchase additional licenses and likely upgrade your infrastructure and support staff when growth is booming. With cloud based ERP offerings, your licensing is flexible and costs per seat can fluctuate to meet your needs even if growth is seasonal or temporary.
One of the most overlooked benefits of a cloud based ERP solution is security. If you have the staff, knowledge and budget to secure the large amounts of data your ERP solution will generate then you may need to question if the cloud is right for your company. If, however, your IT staff and your current infrastructure is not ready to adequately secure financial, personal and confidential data then it may be wise to let your cloud vendor handle that responsibility. Make sure, though, that your vendor has the right tools and the right people to keep your data safe.
Most enterprise ERP vendors provide a SaaS option for customers who need it. If you are unsure about how a cloud based ERP solution can help you, or how to make sure you are getting everything you need from your vendor, make sure to enlist the help of an expert. Implementation consultants who are familiar with cloud based ERP solutions will help to answer questions and make sure that you are making the right choice by moving to the cloud.