Companies using a cloud-first strategy have learned that the real value of the cloud comes from being able to delegate the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of an entire software solution, from infrastructure to application, instead of components. Integrated cloud suites also generally reduce complexity, increase reliability, and cost less overall. However, not all cloud providers provide an integrated offering. As a result companies must manage more of their cloud solution and software than they want to.
So then what is a “true” cloud ERP experience?
The best way to define a true cloud experience versus a “fake” cloud experience is to look at the ERP’s overall versatility. Answer the following questions:
- Is the cloud multi-tenant?
- Is it versionless?
- Is it flexible?
- Is it scalable?
If you answer “yes” to all of these things, then you have a true cloud ERP. If you said “no,” then you are using a “fake cloud,” otherwise known as a private cloud or a hosted/hybrid cloud.
But if everything is running fine for you on your “fake” cloud, why should you look at a true cloud platform?
True Cloud ERP Value Key Differentiators
The SaaS Model
A true cloud ERP uses a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. With SaaS, anyone can access the ERP and its various applications from anywhere, whether it’s via a web browser or mobile. In addition, SaaS users don’t have to manage the underlying cloud infrastructure. There is no fussing with the cloud’s network, servers, operating systems, storage, or application upgrades. SaaS includes all software upgrades as well as server updates. That’s one less headache for your IT team.
With a multi-tenant architecture, all users can access the same solution from the same cloud, meaning that all users have continuous and instantaneous access to the cloud’s latest software and hardware upgrades. Multi-tenancy also allows users to customize and configure the software to fit how they individually use it. If they need certain applications on their ERP home screens, they can set it up to do that without affecting other users.
Scalability and Flexibility
One of the nice features of using the SaaS model is the ability to scale the cloud ERP usage based on your needs. If you’re a small business now, you can scale back your solution use to fit your business. However, there is always the possibility your business will grow, and thus the number of your employees/users will grow. You can scale the number of users easily without buying extra licenses. On the same token, you can scale back the number of users easily without wasting money on those extra licenses.
The same goes for scaling functionality of a solution. It’s just as easy to add and remove features or applications without purchasing additional licenses and possibly losing money when those licensed applications are no longer needed.
None of these value bullet points even touches the costs value. However, without getting into specific numbers, you can easily see all of the costs saved from the points listed above. But here are these costs saved laid out anyway:
- Costs of server, network, etc. ownership and maintenance;
- Costs of individual software license purchases;
- Costs of upgrading to new versions;
- Costs of server security; and
- Costs of hardware upgrades.