Should You Move to Cloud ERP? Find out why

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Today, businesses are impacted by relentless change and the constant need to stay ahead where adaptability, efficiency, and innovation have become paramount. Companies have been grappling with numerous challenges, from supply chain disruptions and fluctuating fuel costs to evolving customer preferences. Organizations require intelligent, automated processes capable of adapting to any scenario to thrive in this environment. They need innovative technologies that can support new business models. Most importantly, they need real-time and predictive insights to navigate these challenges successfully.

Businesses have traditionally relied on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to centralize and manage critical information across their operations. Such ERP solutions were installed on local servers and infrastructure owned by the organizations, commonly called on-premises systems.

While on-premises ERP systems have undeniably played a pivotal role in enhancing business operations and delivering substantial benefits, they have limitations, particularly in cost, agility, and maintenance.

The cloud ERP system is the common denominator among businesses that have successfully met these demands. This modern software solution drives super agility and digital transformation, offering contemporary businesses a broad spectrum of benefits. Cloud-based ERP systems have emerged as a solution that addresses many of these shortcomings while providing a myriad of advantages over on-premise ERP solutions.

Whether large enterprises or small and medium-sized businesses, many companies are discovering the advantages of embracing a modern cloud ERP approach to streamline their finance and operational functions.

Before diving deeper into cloud-based ERP systems, it’s essential to understand the crucial role that cloud computing plays in transforming modern businesses. Cloud computing is now a critical driver of digital transformation for organizations of all sizes. According to Gartner, recent forecast, global end-user spending on public cloud services is likely to surge by 21.7 per cent in 2023, reaching a total of $597.3 billion, up from $491 billion in 2022.

Pay-as-you-go Payment

Pay-as-you-go cloud computing (PAYG cloud computing) stands out as one of the compelling advantages of cloud computing. This innovative payment approach charges users based on their actual usage, much like the utility billing model we encounter in our daily lives. The key distinction lies in the efficient allocation of resources – there’s no wastage. This model, rooted in consumption-based pricing, ensures that organizations pay only for the cloud resources they actively utilize. It’s a departure from traditional enterprise setups where data storage is often over-architected to accommodate peak workloads, resulting in unnecessary expenses. In contrast, PAYG cloud computing charges organizations exclusively for the resources they store, provision, or actively use. This not only optimizes cost management but also offers the flexibility and scalability that cloud computing is renowned for. It’s a game-changer for businesses aiming to maximize the benefits of the cloud while maintaining cost control.

Greater Flexibility

One of the benefits of cloud computing services is scalability. In cloud terms, scalability means providing the right amount of IT resources precisely when and where you need them. This includes scaling up or down in terms of processing power, storage, and bandwidth based on your real-time requirements.

Improved Performance

Prominent cloud computing providers maintain a worldwide network of secure data centers that regularly upgrade their hardware with cutting-edge technology. This constant innovation leads to improved performance compared to traditional on-premise data centers. Cloud systems benefit from lower application network latency and economies of scale, ensuring faster and more efficient operations. Should your business require additional computing power for enhanced performance, it can be effortlessly acquired through cloud services.

Lower Cost

Cloud computing significantly reduces upfront expenditures associated with hardware and software. It eliminates the need to set up and maintain on-site data centers, which typically involve server racks, continuous electricity and cooling costs, and hiring IT experts to manage the infrastructure. This cost-effectiveness extends to cloud ERP systems, making them a more budget-friendly option.

Enhanced Security

Numerous cloud providers offer extensive security measures, policies, technologies, and controls to fortify your overall security stance and safeguard your data, applications, and infrastructure. This level of security is especially advantageous for small companies that may not have the resources to invest heavily in data security measures. With cloud computing, businesses can safely conduct their operations without hiring additional personnel for data security.

Higher Productivity

On-site data centers often require IT personnel to manage hardware configuration, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management tasks. With cloud computing, many of these tasks become obsolete. This frees up in-house IT staff to concentrate on more critical business goals, ultimately increasing overall productivity across the organization.

High Reliability

Cloud computing offers robust data replication capabilities across multiple locations within a cloud provider’s network. This feature simplifies data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity planning, making these critical processes more accessible and cost-effective. Even in the event of data failure at one location, data can be seamlessly restored from a different location, ensuring the safety and availability of your data.

Quicker Time to Value

Cloud computing accelerates the deployment of IT resources, enabling organizations to realize value from their investments at a much faster pace. Instead of procuring and configuring physical hardware, which can take weeks or even months, cloud services offer rapid provisioning. This means that businesses can swiftly set up servers, storage, databases, and other resources to support their applications and projects. As a result, companies can launch new products, services, or software applications more expeditiously, gaining a competitive edge in the market. This agility also extends to scaling resources up or down based on demand, ensuring that businesses can adapt swiftly to changing market conditions.

Continuous Innovation

Cloud providers invest heavily in research and development to stay at the forefront of technology trends. This means that organizations using cloud services can leverage cutting-edge technologies without the burden of managing and upgrading infrastructure themselves. Cloud providers regularly introduce new features, services, and tools, enabling businesses to access the latest innovations in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and more. Moreover, cloud environments encourage a culture of innovation within organizations, as teams can experiment, develop, and deploy new solutions more rapidly and with lower risk. Users of cloud services automatically benefit from these updates without having to invest time and resources into manual upgrades.

In this digital transformation era, embracing cloud computing is not merely a technological choice but a strategic imperative for businesses striving to stay competitive and thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. Before we delve deeper into cloud ERP, let’s briefly explore the evolution of ERP.

It is in the 1990s that the concept of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) emerged to label software designed for automating and overseeing end-to-end business processes, covering areas such as finances, sales, and manufacturing within a company. In its early days, ERP systems were implemented on-premise, on a company’s servers and data centers. However, in the 2000s, cloud ERP emerged as a game-changer.

Cloud ERP is known as enterprise resource planning software accessible via the Internet. ERP cloud solutions provide growing companies with access to mission-critical applications from any location, offering scalability and flexibility that traditional on-premise ERP systems often lack. With virtual offices and remote work becoming more common, cloud ERP systems are especially relevant today, as they enable businesses to adapt and grow in an ever-changing landscape.

The first generation of cloud ERP systems focused on speed of adoption. These systems offered businesses the advantage of quick implementation and accessibility. However, the new generation of cloud ERP takes things a step further. It’s intelligent, leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to anticipate and learn from data, providing next-generation agility in business operations.

Cloud ERP systems rely on high-speed internet networks and a combination of technologies to function. These systems are always online, and the ERP provider manages security updates. This not only ensures accessibility but also often results in lower ownership costs compared to traditional on-premises ERP systems.

Cloud ERP systems are typically accessible on various devices, including mobile devices and desktop computers. They offer various business applications, empowering your team to work efficiently and collaboratively from anywhere. This flexibility is precious in the post-COVID business landscape, where remote work has become the norm.

Key features of cloud ERP include access to critical business data, sales histories, financial insights, human resources management tools, live operating metrics, supply chain status, and more. These systems can seamlessly integrate with various other software solutions, catering to your specific business needs.

Cloud ERP is often delivered as a service (Software-as-a-Service or SaaS ERP), eliminating upfront Infrastructure costs. The vendor handles application maintenance, upgrades, data storage, and security, making it a hassle-free solution for businesses.

Intelligent cloud ERP takes things a step further by harnessing actionable insights through in-memory and predictive analytics, AI-driven automation, and digital assistants. This combination of scalability, security, and rapid updates drives productivity and innovation in your business.

To understand the advantages of cloud ERP, it’s essential to differentiate it from traditional on-premise ERP systems.

On-Premise ERP
Cloud ERP

Businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from migrating to cloud-based ERP solutions. Let’s explore the primary advantages:

1. Cost Reduction

Cloud ERP reduces upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing operational expenses. It eliminates the need for extensive hardware investments, server maintenance, and IT staffing, resulting in overall cost savings. For instance, a valued SAP client achieved remarkable outcomes by implementing one of the best cloud-based ERP solutions SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition. The company streamlined its IT landscape, resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in IT maintenance costs. Moreover, this transformation facilitated enhanced data accessibility throughout the entire organization, empowering agile decision-making. As a direct result of improved efficiency, the company experienced a notable 30 percent boost in production capacity.

2. Customization and Agility

Unlike traditional on-premises ERP software, which can be customized but often results in rigid integrations tied to the current software version, cloud-based ERP provides a more flexible and adaptable solution. It allows you to customize and tailor the system right from the start, and these customizations can also be modified and expanded as your business grows and changes. Moreover, a Cloud ERP solution can seamlessly integrate with other cloud-based products, fostering a harmonious ecosystem of interconnected tools. This enables companies to introduce new modules or functionalities to their ERP system with minimal disruption, eliminating the need for additional hardware or extensive downtime. As a result, organizations can pivot swiftly in response to industry shifts, evolving consumer trends, unexpected challenges, and other dynamic factors, positioning themselves to be proactive rather than reactive.

Cloud ERP offers the flexibility to scale resources as needed, enabling businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and demands. For example, SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a game-changer when it comes to enhancing flexibility in financial operations. By harnessing its advanced financial closing capabilities, organizations can experience a transformative shift in planning, executing, monitoring, and analyzing financial closing tasks for various entities within their group.

3. Improved Security

Cloud ERP vendors invest in comprehensive security measures, often surpassing what an individual company can achieve. Moving to the cloud can enhance your IT infrastructure’s security and protect against cyber threats.  Security in Cloud ERP is a paramount concern for organizations entrusting external vendors with their critical business data. However, the advantages of cloud-based ERP solutions should not be overlooked. These solutions often provide a higher level of security and compliance compared to what many companies can achieve on their own. Cloud ERP offers continuous data backup and robust disaster recovery procedures, ensuring data integrity and availability. Additionally, cloud ERP systems employ advanced security measures such as multi-layered firewall testing, in-stream packet scanning, frequent vulnerability assessments, and robust authentication and role management, enhancing overall data protection and threat mitigation.

4. Reliability

Cloud ERP providers typically guarantee high uptime percentages, minimizing downtime and data loss risks. This reliability ensures that your business operations run smoothly. 

Unlike traditional office servers, reputable cloud-based solutions can offer higher data security, minimizing the risk of data loss during emergencies. In-house servers lack guaranteed uptime and recovery time, leaving businesses vulnerable to disruptions. In contrast, cloud-based ERP systems provide failsafe recovery options in a short span, ensuring uninterrupted operations. With the ability to back up and restore data from any device, be it a computer, laptop, or mobile device, these systems greatly reduce the likelihood of data loss, providing businesses with peace of mind and uninterrupted productivity.

5. Faster Implementation

Cloud ERP systems can be up and running faster than on-premise solutions, reducing business downtime and accelerating time-to-value. Oracle Soar, recognized as one of the world’s first automated cloud application upgrade offerings, combines established cloud methodology with cutting-edge innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This powerful tool empowers businesses currently relying on on-premises systems to migrate to the cloud with remarkable efficiency seamlessly. With Oracle Soar, organizations can experience up to a 30 per cent reduction in both time and cost during their cloud migration journey. Oracle ERP cloud solutions translate into faster time-to-value, decreased risk, and heightened transparency throughout the entire migration process.

6. Eliminates Worries Over End-of-Life Concerns

Embracing cloud ERP brings a sense of relief when it comes to end-of-life concerns. Bid farewell to worries about aging hardware and software. Cloud ERP vendors consistently prioritize updating and upgrading their services, guaranteeing that you remain equipped with the latest and most advanced capabilities.

7. Enhanced Efficiency

The adoption of cloud ERP systems brings about a notable increase in efficiency for businesses. By transitioning to the cloud, IT teams can redirect their efforts towards strategic initiatives, freeing them from the burdens of daily maintenance tasks. One such example is Dropbox, which recognized the potential for rapid scalability while minimizing costs and risks through automation. By leveraging Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), they streamlined their financial operations, implementing a secure and straightforward invoice consolidation process to manage their extensive monthly transactions. The results were remarkable, as Dropbox achieved an impressive 80 per cent reduction in processing costs, thanks to invoice consolidation and the automation of data delivery facilitated by Oracle. This underscores the transformative impact of cloud ERP systems on efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

8. Seamless Maintenance Management

Upfront hardware expenses are not applicable, and the vendor assumes responsibility for application maintenance, upgrades, innovations, data storage, and security. This relieves your IT team of these responsibilities while ensuring system security and currency.

9. Scalability

With cloud ERP, the intricacies of adding additional servers to accommodate more users, locations, or subsidiaries become a thing of the past. The system seamlessly scales as your business grows, eliminating the need for cumbersome hardware investments. This flexibility allows organizations to commence with essential core functionality and gradually incorporate more features and resources as required, all without the complexities of expanding physical infrastructure. The cloud ERP’s agility shines for companies experiencing growth through mergers or acquisitions. New units can swiftly be brought online, unburdened by the complexities of establishing local servers. Cloud vendors, with their global presence and data centers strategically positioned worldwide, ensure that each customer’s data is meticulously safeguarded in multiple locations. Cloud ERP enables businesses to leverage emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics without significant additional costs.

10. Easier Collaboration

Cloud ERP facilitates seamless collaboration among employees, regardless of their geographic locations. A cloud ERP system can seamlessly integrate with virtually any computer system your organization demands. Key functionalities encompass access to customer information, sales histories, financial data, human resources management tools, real-time operational metrics, supply chain status, and various other capabilities. Tailoring to your specific business requirements, you can opt for different deployment models with modules and configurations finely tuned to suit your company’s unique needs. This ensures that your team remains aligned with the relevant metrics and workflows essential for achieving your company’s objectives.

Cloud Migration

Cloud Migration

Legacy Systems

Legacy Systems

Legacy Systems

Migrating from legacy on-premise ERP systems to the cloud can be complex and time-consuming, especially for larger businesses with extensive existing infrastructure.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance

Companies with strict regulatory requirements may face challenges in fully realizing the benefits of cloud-based ERP solutions. However, many cloud providers comply with various regulations, addressing data sovereignty and security concerns.

Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change

Companies with large IT and administrative teams may face resistance from stakeholders who are accustomed to on-premise processes. Moving to the cloud means relinquishing some control over certain operations.

Legacy Systems

Legacy Systems

Migrating from legacy on-premise ERP systems to the cloud can be complex and time-consuming, especially for larger businesses with extensive existing infrastructure.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory Compliance

Companies with strict regulatory requirements may face challenges in fully realizing the benefits of cloud-based ERP solutions. However, many cloud providers comply with various regulations, addressing data sovereignty and security concerns.

Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change

Companies with large IT and administrative teams may face resistance from stakeholders who are accustomed to on-premise processes. Moving to the cloud means relinquishing some control over certain operations.

The decision to migrate to a cloud ERP system is a strategic one that can significantly impact your business’s efficiency, agility, and overall competitiveness. As the business landscape evolves, embracing cloud technology may be the key to staying ahead of the curve and thriving in an increasingly digital world. “Regardless of whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, the benefits of cloud ERP are evident, making it an enticing option for businesses of any scale.

As a trusted strategic partner of top cloud ERP solutions providers such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, Nsight is well-equipped to revolutionize your business processes by adopting cloud ERP solutions. Our team of experts excels in harnessing the full potential of these cutting-edge platforms, allowing us to provide tailored solutions that drive efficiency, agility, and innovation within your organization. By partnering with us, you gain access to a wealth of experience and expertise in implementing cloud ERP systems, enabling you to expedite your digital transformation journey.

As a leading ERP solutions provider, we understand that it’s easy to be overwhelmed by several modules, features, and functionalities Cloud ERP systems offer. Nsight experts can provide you with an overview of different Cloud ERP systems (NetSuite, Oracle & SAP), their key features, functionalities, and benefits. We can also offer a no-obligation Cloud ERP evaluation workshop to assist you in discovering the right solution that meets your business requirements. If you’re keen on availing the opportunity, connect with me to take forward the discussion.

Confidently Navigate the Complexities of Cloud ERP Adoption and Propel your Business to a more Digitally Enabled Future

Cloud ERP is hosted on remote servers and accessed via the internet, while on-premises ERP is installed and maintained on a company’s own servers and infrastructure. Cloud ERP offers greater accessibility, scalability, and typically requires fewer IT resources for upkeep compared to on-premises ERP.

Cloud ERP offers several advantages, including accessibility from anywhere, reduced IT maintenance, scalability to adapt to business needs, and often cost savings in the long run. It allows businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest features and security measures without extensive manual updates.

Cloud ERP systems enable a modern customer experience by providing real-time data access, streamlined processes, and enhanced collaboration. This allows businesses to respond quickly to customer inquiries, offer personalized services, and deliver a seamless and efficient customer journey.

Cloud ERP systems are superior to on-premises ERPs for several important reasons. Cloud ERP systems are accessible from anywhere, are nearly always online, and don’t require the same company IT resources for maintenance and upgrades. In the long run, cloud ERP solutions may offer cost savings and better performance. Cloud ERP systems are arguably the most secure, efficient solution to enable your team to access critical company data and systems to best complete their work.

While both ERP and cloud computing use digital resources, they serve different purposes. ERP systems provide a suite of applications to run various aspects of a business, such as finance, HR, and inventory management. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is primarily focused on delivering computing resources and infrastructure over the internet, allowing users to access and manage applications, data, and services in a scalable and flexible manner. Cloud ERP leverages cloud computing technology to provide ERP functionality in a more accessible and efficient manner.

Customers often have concerns about data security. A reputable cloud ERP provider implements robust security measures, including encryption, access controls, and regular security audits, to safeguard your data. Understanding these measures can help assure customers of the system’s security.

Knowing how your data is backed up and what disaster recovery mechanisms are in place is essential. Cloud ERP systems typically have redundancy and backup systems to ensure data integrity and rapid recovery in case of unforeseen events

About the Author

Sudhakar Jha

Sudhakar Jha has over a decade of experience and expertise in helping clients across multiple industries adopt emerging technologies. As an enterprise architect, he combines his expertise with a keen understanding of business needs to enable enterprises to leverage cutting-edge technologies to achieve their goals. Sudhakar is an experienced solution leader and certified in multiple ERP, CX, and cloud technologies.

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