What Is Behind Cloud ERP Momentum?
Experts like IT consulting company MintJutras report that two-tier ERP deployments, in which companies maintain some ERP functions on-premise while migrating others to the cloud, have helped clear the way for more extensive cloud ERP deployments.
While giants like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft were slow to offer cloud ERP, perhaps because of concern it could cannibalize their on-premise ERP solutions, they are now clearly on board with the cloud ERP trend. Oracle, for instance, has introduced a program called Customer 2 Cloud that is designed to help companies with cloud migrations.
The cloud hits a sweet spot for the areas that respondents to the Epicor survey tapped as their top criteria for future ERP investments: faster response time, enhanced performance, ease of deployment and scalability. These are things that providers of cloud software have preached about for years – and that many companies have experienced with their prior cloud initiatives.
That said, there is an important caveat for cloud ERP: Companies should not see it as a panacea for all of their ERP ills. As with any ERP initiative, companies must first carefully consider how they capture and manage data and look at ways to streamline and transform their workflows. They must also make provisions for change management and employee training.
Adam Stern, CEO of cloud service provider Infinitely Virtual, in an earlier interview with Enterprise Apps Today, said, “Companies must give their employees a thorough grounding in the system – not simply how it works at a high level, but what it means to the organization and why their active support is essential both to their success and to the profitability of business.”
Experts, including Stern, offered some cloud ERP buying tips in the same article. Among questions prospective cloud ERP buyers should ask:
- Is the underlying ERP architecture based on cloud industry standards like Java and SOAP-based Web services?
- Are configuration and customization tools available to change the generic functionality of the ERP system?
- What are the costs, including potentially overlooked ones like training, associated with moving ERP to the cloud?
- How does the cloud ERP vendor guarantee uptime in its service level agreements (SLAs)? What are the average uptimes for its customers?
- How does the cloud ERP vendor provide visibility into performance?
- How does the cloud ERP system satisfy relevant security and compliance requirements? Does the vendor have any certifications to help illustrate its ability to do so?
- Can cloud ERP data be accessed and moved at any time? How is this done?
- Who “owns” the cloud ERP data?
- How easy are cloud ERP upgrades and how exactly do they occur?
- How, if at all, will using cloud ERP affect other software systems?