High on the priority list of every business leader is reducing costs, being more productive, and protecting the future of the business. As that relates to employing technology-based business enablers, Cloud-based ERP solutions are being looked at with a great deal of interest by business executives. Cloud-based software, in its purest sense, means the application, supported by the associated data center elements, are delivered over the internet and accessed using the Internet-browser on a computing device such as a desktop, laptop, notebook, or phone. Examples of this would be applications we recognize like Yahoo mail, Google GSuite, Outlook 365, and Salesforce.com, which many people already make use of. The most important distinction of a genuinely Cloud-based application is that it ONLY requires a standard web browser to access the ERP application, and not the historical need of having to load special “client-side” software on the computer accessing the application.
With all the advantages, Cloud-based ERP software is not for every organization. Locations with poor internet access or heavily regulated industries that mandate networks do not “touch” the internet, i.e., companies serving the DOD are the most common examples. However, applications accessed through a browser can still bring value to organizations subject to regulatory restrictions, as even in a closed network, browser-based applications again reduce the IT staff resources required to deploy and maintain. For the majority, software designed to operate in the Cloud and browser-based, solve many of the IT challenges associated with keeping staff connected and productive.
Top reasons business leaders are embracing Cloud-based/browser-based ERP solutions
Ease of Deployment, Support, and Maintenance
- Users (local or remote) can immediately log-in via any device running an Internet-browser and start working, simple as that, little or no IT involvement is required to set up and maintain. BTW, secure access is accomplished in the same technology that online banking uses.
Faster Time to Value
- Hosted Cloud ERP applications are offered in a SaaS (Software as a Service) model where the fee (annual or monthly), covers the software subscription and data center side infrastructure items required to run the ERP application. The hosting provider can “spin up a server” in a matter of hours and are ready for users to log-in.
- Little or no IT involvement is required for this phase of the implementation. IT staff can focus on the improvement of business processes and less on a more traditional focus of bits & bites.
Reduced Up-front / Ongoing Costs
- With a hosted Cloud solution, there are dramatically fewer demands for IT involvement and spend on data center infrastructure and “end-point” preparation, support & maintenance.
- The upfront investment requirement, with the use of a “month/pay a month” model of SaaS, is also attractive to many executives.
Protecting Business Continuity
- Professionally operated data centers, within the walls of physical commercial data centers, are generally architected with greater redundancy and fail-over protection, including backup data centers ready to take over. Additionally, they have a greater depth of staff resources to deal with related needs than most mid-market and small businesses can afford on their own.
- The BIG ONE – the ability to work from any device from anywhere at anytime. The Covid-19 virus threw many companies a big curve-ball with the, almost overnight, restrictions of employees having to stay home and preserving some level of productivity adapting was slow, very problematic, and costly for many. Interruptions created by severe weather events are another example where Cloud-based ERP can benefit. Many companies’ ERP systems were not designed for mobility. VPNs, in many cases, needed to be set up by a technician to allow a designated computer, operating remotely, to access the business network. Many stories are emerging around organizations working on a Cloud-based ERP platform, sending the employees home due to the virus and business processes hardly missing a beat. The nature of the business continuity interruptions is that it is never expected, but the setback can threaten the lively hood of the entire company.
In summary, more and more business leaders are finding value in a hosted Cloud-based ERP solution for essential reasons as it is helping them reduce costs, execute more quickly, and protect the ongoing interest of their organization.