The efficiency and efficacy of today’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are constantly on the rise. Only a few years ago, most companies employed on-premises solutions that required continuous hardware and resource investments plus on-site IT teams to upgrade software and resolve issues. Thankfully, those days are in the past and the vast majority of companies have already made the switch to cloud-based ERP solutions.
What Is Cloud-Based ERP?
The first step to finding a cloud ERP solution that fits a company’s unique needs is to get a better understanding of what this technology is and how it works. Cloud-based software, sometimes called SaaS or software as a service, allows users to access all of its components remotely via a dedicated desktop client or mobile operating system. With cloud-based software, there’s no need for on-site servers or maintaining teams of IT professionals to deal with problems as they come up.
Cloud-based ERP software vendors don’t just sell companies the software and then disappear. They provide help with everything from the initial deployment to ongoing system upgrades and more. Software updates are automatic, as is data backup, which makes it easier to maintain effective disaster recovery and loss prevention protocols. All of these benefits far outweigh the hassle of switching to a new ERP, so let’s take a look at the key factors to consider.
Start By Evaluating the Current System
The best place to start isn’t by evaluating new cloud-based systems but by taking stock of the existing platform and how it could be improved. Stay future-focused during this process instead of simply replicating the company’s current processes. Think about both the potential for growth and the threats facing the business. The right cloud-based ERP solution should:
Eliminate pain points not covered by the current ERP
Protect the business against future data losses and other threats
Grow with the company as it expands to different facilities or modes of operation
Business leaders need an idea of what those pain points are and how the company might change in the future before they can determine what’s most important in a cloud-based ERP.
Focus on What Matters Most
While the eventual goal should be to resolve any issues that are impeding the efficiency of the company’s workflows, experts recommend focusing during an initial ERP upgrade on critical business functions first. A good ERP system will offer plenty of opportunities for customization, expansion, and integration. Those factors will make it relatively easy to deal with minor problems in the future, but only if there’s a solid foundation from which to start.
Find a Partner
One of the biggest advantages of making the switch to a cloud-based ERP system is that it gives businesses access to ongoing services. That’s why decision-makers should treat the choice of a vendor as though they are seeking a partner. The cloud-based ERP service provider should have a solid knowledge of not just how to create and maintain relevant software solutions but also the specific industry in which the company operates. Otherwise, it will be difficult to collaborate on finding solutions for future problems.
Make Full Use of Available Tools
There are hundreds of ERP vendors out there, so it’s impossible to compare each one by hand. Make full use of available tools such as comparison charts, buyer’s guides, and consulting services. They can all help to ensure a company winds up with the right cloud-based ERP solution.