No matter where you turn, you are likely to hear something about cloud computing. Unlike popular CRM systems and other SaaS applications, the ERP cloud market is evolving and while the number of proven ERP-in-the-cloud vendors is growing, the space is still not as well defined.
There is a notable advantage to cloud computing. Instead of using local computers to run applications, a network of computers comprising “the cloud” takes care of it. So how do you know if cloud computing is right for your business especially when it comes to ERP? As the market for cloud ERP continues to evolve, there are some key questions an organization must consider before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution. Ask yourself:
- How well does an ERP cloud solution complement my other applications? It’s vital to determine how the cloud-based ERP system will integrate with others in your application portfolio. If your primary goal is to create standardized, efficient business processes that are technology agnostic, the cloud-based ERP should enable, not hinder this effort.
- Will service levels lead to a “one-size-fits-all” solution? Once your ERP is dependent on a cloud service provider, you will gain a new appreciation for terms such as “availability” and “reliability.” A “one-size-fits-all” solution gives you very little leverage. Your company’s ability to adapt to a new standard of service levels may also be challenged by the solution-limiting configuration changes to meet your “unique” requirements.
- Am I comfortable being on the sidelines? A real concern for many organizations considering cloud ERP is the risk of poor performance with the inability to influence outcomes by “throwing more resources” at the problem. The overall nature of the cloud-based ERP service is to be dependent on the network and on the service provider. You need to understand how the service provider handles monitoring, escalation, troubleshooting, and resolution processes.
The main attraction of cloud-based ERP solutions is cost savings and a predictable level of cost on a monthly basis. Hosted ERP solutions give IT departments the flexibility to replace on-premise servers with a hosted equivalent, ultimately helping to reduce the costs incurred in managing their solution. Therefore it’s important that such an effort actually leads to cost savings.
By Roger Borek, Borek Business Solutions, an