Why a cloud-based ERP implementation is critical to stay ahead of competition

By Bino George

Tougher competition in the marketplace and evolving customer demands are forcing companies across verticals to invest in R&D, buy new equipment, communicate more effectively with key stakeholders and stay compliant with new regulations, etc. In order to balance the costs of these initiatives with those that are IT and data driven, the temptation is to make do with existing software and supplement their limited functionality with spreadsheets and guestimates. The idea of shifting to a new ERP solution calls for major IT transitional investment – including time, money and resources. This, at any point in time, may seem too much for a company to take on.

In our experience of meeting with customers, we found that they most likely experienced an ERP implementation that took longer than expected, costed more than was estimated and ultimately required a number of modifications to meet their specific business needs. This pattern continued to manifest itself in regular hardware and software upgrades but the overall ROI didn’t add up.

The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of choosing enterprise software is outdated and has been replaced with ‘industry-specific’ software solutions and purpose-built ERP functionality to address unique needs and challenges and significantly reduce the need for customizations. In order to positively impact the company’s bottom line, modern businesses need these to rethink the way they operate and embark on bold new strategies. This calls for taking a fresh look at ERP taking into consideration some of these factors, among others:

Unification of operations

It is always wise to deploy a unified solutions suite rather than having to deal with numerous separate applications. This unified solution should be able to address all functionalities that are critical to a business. By having a comprehensive solution in the cloud, companies will enjoy enterprise-wide visibility that will help to streamline operations for greater efficiency.

Security is key

To protect data from compromise, companies should always confirm that the solution follows industry best practices. A changing regulatory climate adds another layer to the difficulty of procuring a new ERP system. Having a dedicated business unit that specializes in cloud implementation and deployment is a good indication of a vendor's commitment to security. It would also be a good idea for the vendor to have extensive experience with SaaS-based implementations.

Cost matters

Whether or not a particular industry is going through a lean period, companies will always try to cut corners and cloud adoption is a means to this end. Cloud solutions come with a major advantage of subscription-based pricing that helps companies avoid upfront expenditure or CapEx. It eliminates the need to establish expensive IT infrastructure and instead only pay for the capacity used. By freeing up capital expenses that would otherwise be devoted to implementing and maintaining an on premise solution, companies have more money available to support growth initiatives.

Moving to a cloud-based ERP implementation boils down to several benefits such as faster RoI, enhance efficiency through industry-specific functionality, and the advantages of functioning within a flexible IT environment that is scalable. All this helps meet business growth while being well placed to successfully complete on a global stage. There is no substitute for being prepared to face the odds, especially considering the evolving technology or business landscape. The time is ripe for businesses to ask ‘how’, rather than ‘why’, they should transition from rigid on premise solutions and embrace a more flexible, affordable and integrated cloud model.

The author is Head, Pre-sales, Infor.

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Updated Date: Jul 29, 2016 12:18:25 IST