It’s worth noting that both the article and infographic I reviewed don’t make much of cost savings in the cloud at all, but instead emphasize other benefits. That wasn’t always the case. When companies and analysts primarily discuss the productivity and operational advantages of choosing a cloud ERP solution, the focus expands to the overall value of the cloud. That’s more strategic and meaningful, and the savings are still possible.
Upgrades Without Disruption
One point worth noting about the cloud is that systems upgrades are automatic and you don’t pay an extra fee for them – they are included in your subscription. IT managers understand how much easier this can make their jobs, but CFOs and other execs may underestimate this advantage of cloud technology.
In an educational article, NetSuite states that cloud ERP systems “are continually upgraded by the provider so you can be sure you’re always using the latest, most advanced version of your ERP software. Because of the cloud platform today’s leading cloud applications are built upon, your previously implemented customizations and integrations automatically carry forward when the solution is updated without additional investment.”
As a presales architect at Sikich, I often see that companies make do with outdated technology rather than upgrading to a current version when their customizations are likely to make upgrades of on-premise software more complicated or disruptive. Sooner or later, that often means they cannot benefit from innovative, valuable features of the software, or they have to choose between upgrading or maintaining their customizations.
In modern cloud ERP, you can accomplish both. You get upgrades and fixes as soon as they are released, without distracting your IT team from the more valuable tasks they are working on, and it has also become much easier to adjust functionality and workflows to fit the way you work.
The cloud ERP conversation is changing rapidly. Quite recently, going to the cloud was seen as a cost-saving move, but today, businesses know better what they can accomplish in the cloud in terms of long-term productivity and competitive advantages. That also challenges them to set more ambitious goals for their move to the cloud.
IT No Longer Distracted, Users No Longer Stuck at the Office
The numbers in an infographic published by ERP Software Blog largely confirm what we find in our practice. For example, this overview notes that 60 percent of businesses moving to the cloud want to “free up IT resources to work more on strategic tasks.” That is certainly a realistic goal. When your ERP is in the cloud, IT is no longer kept busy with maintenance chores. Instead, your technologists can improve the user experience by helping people work more productively, resolve service tickets that might otherwise queue up, or perform development tasks. You can generate better returns from the IT skills in your organization.
Mobility with cloud-enabled access to ERP capabilities and data is critical in “increasing productivity outside the office,” and 93 percent of the businesses researchers talked to expect to reap the rewards of mobility. Today’s leading cloud ERP solution suites all include reliable, richly featured mobile apps. From transaction and item scanning in the warehouse, to work order processing by field maintenance engineers, mobile ERP has quickly broadened to enable a wide range of activities. It will become more powerful as devices and applications continue evolving together.
Why Would You Move Back On-premise, Really?
Sikich helps companies take advantage of Dynamics 365, Office 365, and other cloud solutions. In doing so, we provide what a lot of companies want – 67 percent of the companies included in the findings for the ERP Software Blog infographic “expect to purchase a wide variety of services from a single vendor.” That makes it easier to resolve any issues and make sure the cloud services work well together.
What I found surprising in the survey findings recorded in the infographic is that 74 percent of the companies “expect their cloud service provider to be able to move a cloud offering back on-premises if needed.” That seems very high, and hardly ever happens in our experience.
Once you take to the cloud, you no longer need all the servers, networking hardware, and other technology that enabled your on-premise environment. Many companies sell or donate those assets. There would be large costs involved in returning from the cloud to an on-premise scenario. Unless you or a major customer have specialized needs that cannot be met by an existing cloud solution, that would be hard to justify and, in any case, a challenging project.
Instead of considering such a drastic, expensive move, it’s probably better to plan beforehand which applications and processes belong in the cloud and which should remain on-premise. In a hybrid scenario between cloud and on-site, you can realize the advantages of both environments. Contact us and learn how we can help you move to the cloud easily and without losing your customizations.