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Business trends for 2018: Making the shift to cloud-based ERP

What type of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution are you currently using? If you’re using a legacy ERP solution with bolt-on business intelligence (BI) tools to assist you with better analytics and reporting functionality, then you’re not alone. This is the typical set up of many companies. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best set-up for your business.

Most ERP vendors, historically, build systems and solutions that are industry-specific. In this way they can offer their customers unique functionality that meets their needs. The downside, is that while vendors who do this are providing excellent customer service, this is not a sustainable solution. Eventually the customers will want to update their platforms, only to discover their legacy systems are only operational on the outdated technology and tools they want to replace.

Keeping up with technology should be the mandate of all businesses hoping to keep pace with their marketplace and remain competitive in their sector. But many companies and executives push against deploying a brand-new system. There can be a sound argument for this: often the migration to a new modern ERP solution is peppered with complications.

Focusing on the potential problems can cut off that business from far greater potential benefits. If your business is going to keep its competitive edge, it’s vital to use technology that adds value and makes processes as efficient as possible. But how do we know when valid reasons to keep one system, have become barriers to growth?

Common reasons for sticking with the legacy ERP system:

1. A new ERP system might disrupt the business

Implementing the new system takes up time and resources, and the staff will require training. The newly adopted ERP systems often lack the deep functionality found with the older systems, especially when the older system has made use of additional BI tools.

Business leaders can be reluctant to give up what feels like a reliable resource to inform and analyse their business processes. Yet, with the rapid pace of technology, it’s highly likely that a better solution already exists. Fear of the unknown and potential disruption during adoption of a new system are the real reasons to avoid change.

ERP vendors have already addressed these issues and have a solution ready to go. If your vendor is offering integration into an updated system, they may well have created a seamless migration plan to assist you.  

2. Reluctance to move to a cloud-based ERP

Currently, one of the biggest reasons companies’ pushback is because the newer ERP systems are cloud-based.

Cloud-based ERP solutions are flexible, scalable, quickly deployed and implemented and don’t require the training and planning as is needed when employing a traditional system. Yet cloud-based solutions still seem to scare off smaller companies, especially those worrying about data security.

This fear is unfounded. Your ERP vendor will roll out and install all necessary updates in the system as and when they become available. Most cloud-based ERP solutions easily and quickly integrate with your CRM (customer relationship management) solution which means your database remains intact, backed up and secure. And even though cloud-based solutions involve your entire company you can decide who has access to what, just as with a local system.

The benefits of a cloud-based ERP

Not only is a cloud-based ERP solution easy and quick to implement, it also offers some real-time monitoring, mobile accessibility, improved performance and ongoing upgrades and enhancements to the system. What’s more, the benefits of cloud-based ERP will continue to develop as technology advances.

In 2018 we will see trends emerge within the ERP space that will impact just about every aspect of modern business. Now is the time to update any system that you rely on for BI

Three ERP trends we think will be the game changers in 2018

1. ERP technology is going to become widely available to SMEs

ERP systems are traditionally used in major corporations. This has historically been reflected in their size and cost of set up and maintenance, keeping them out of reach for the SME market.

However, because the ERP solutions on offer are now cloud-based as opposed to on-premise, SMEs can more easily adopt these systems. Cloud-based ERP offers easier deployment, integration, scalability, increased usability and reduced cost – all things that are music to an SME owner’s ear.

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) will take over the ERP playing field

AI developers and product manufacturers are getting involved in many sectors. How to embrace AI in your business operation is a topic of much debate. Not many businesses are ready to enlist the advanced capabilities of Sophia, the humanoid robot, but AI chatbots are already replacing humans on help desks.

In the ERP space, AI-enabled ERP already exists and is proving its worth by showing off its capability of handling mundane, routine tasks, thereby bringing about more operational efficiency. These solutions have been proven to reduce cost and lessen the possibility of human error. This type of infrastructure is too good to pass up and is likely to develop further and possibly end up being the norm.

3. The world is mobile and your ERP must be too

Mobile ERP is set to become mandatory if you wish to keep your business relevant. Your employees will continue to embrace remote working options and immediate access to important data at the touch of a button will continue to be expected.

Of course, data leakage and device theft are of concern, but these obstacles are quickly overcome through developing data security measures – something all businesses operating in Europe will have to address as the deadline for the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) approaches. These new regulations will not stop our need to use data and adoption of mobile is only going to become more crucial to your business growth and success.

Don't let your legacy ERP prevent you from smashing your business targets

If you’re venturing into 2018 with major business goals and you rely on your, ERP it’s worth re-evaluating the current system you have running your operations. You will inevitably have to keep up-to-date with the trends to ensure you are running at maximum efficiency at all times or your profit margins might thin out and your competitive edge might soften. When assessing the ERP solution, you have currently implemented you should consider the following important questions:

  • Is it mobile?
  • Is it frequently upgraded and updated?
  • Is it best of breed?
  • Is the hardware scalable?
  • How much support do you receive?

If you can’t give a positive answer to all of these questions, it’s time to bring your ERP up to date.

To learn about how to evaluate suppliers during this site visit and how to get the most out of your ERP demo, download our eBook on how to buy ERP and accounting software.

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Topics: Cloud computing / SAAS