How to Plan Your Strategic Move to Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning

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How do you know when a move to the cloud is right for your business? 

A huge amount of decision criteria and informative articles already exist on the topic of cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.  But any change away from your established norms and processes will cost you money and man-hours in resource time.  It will have a significant impact on your people, both in your technology group and the rest of the company.

For an established business the best route to cloud based ERP may be by taking stock of the critical affected people, equipment, systems and outcomes.  Then, determine what events and triggers will provide the best scenario for change. 

These are the triggers I'm talking about:

1. People

Your information technology group will feel threatened by moving the day to day maintenance and support for applications and servers out of their control.  They will immediately realize that jobs may be eliminated.   The right trigger for a move to the cloud might be when one or two of your key existing staff are retiring or moving to different positions either within your company or to a new company. 

Are you going to add a new product and the staff to support it?  If so, the addition of a new company department or product may put additional stress on your existing systems and trigger the need for changes.

 2. Equipment

If your existing server and network hardware is older and not as fast as it needs to be for efficient user response time and performance this could be the equipment trigger.  Are you running out of space on existing drives?  Instead of replacing or upgrading the existing equipment, review and compare the costs of a hosted server and a hosted, cloud based ERP application with room to grow and expand as your business grows.

Do your business finances need the addition of more capital equipment, or will your balance sheet improve with the reduction in equipment a move to the cloud would provide?

 3. Existing Software Applications

Are your users complaining about the old application interface, data input process flow, screen response times, or do you have a long list of enhancement requests in a backlog?  If these issues sound familiar, this may be the appropriate trigger to examine whether a new, hosted ERP software system provides greater user efficiency and includes those functionalities waiting in your request queue.  This might offset the resource hours needed for training on a new system.

If your current business systems are not integrated, need manual data manipulation or constant batch file extracts and uploads, a new cloud based ERP system with flexible integration tools might solve data inconsistencies and save significant man-hours of data file management time.

 4. Growth - Increasing Staff in Dispersed Locations

Has your business grown to include more staff located in more than one location, or more people working remotely?  Are they asking for better mobile access to their applications, communications and collaboration tools?  New cloud applications and ERP systems are designed for mobile access yet include all of the information security specifications needed by a growing company with proprietary data.

 Many established businesses will be best served if they walk to the cloud, instead of running.  Examine when your company may encounter 2 or more of these trigger situations in the coming years.  When do you see the converging paths meeting your overall business plans and goals? Take this approach now, and your move to the cloud will be based on strategic decisions, planned change and not based on a crisis scenario.

A hosted ERP solution may or may not be the right move in the long run for your company.  However, doing some proactive planning will help you start identifying benefits and costs if you opt to transition to a hosted solution.

If your business would like to assess your current trigger status and future needs for hosted, cloud based ERP - Call our expert consultants at (508) 983-1990 or via email at [email protected]  We can help you plan the right path to the best technology systems.

Competitive Edge Services is based in Massachusetts and is a provider of Cloud Hosted and On-Premise Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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