Modern cloud-based software offers significant value over installed solutions
Over the last few years, the media has been atwitter with reports on the exponential growth of the cloud computing market. A 2014 Gartner study revealed that an astonishing 47% of organizations surveyed plan to move their ERP operations to the cloud before 2020, while another revealed that organizations who had already moved systems to the cloud saw ROI within 6 months of adoption.
There’s no doubt about it: cloud software solutions can be a valuable tool in increasing productivity and managing growth in your organization.
To understand how the cloud can help us achieve our business goals, one must understand what the cloud is. In short, cloud computing simply refers to leveraging a third-party vendor’s central infrastructure (“the cloud”) instead of maintaining your own set of systems and servers in your office. If you use web-based software programs, outsource email or backups to a third party, your business is already in the cloud!
Nearly every leader in the ERP and accounting software market, including Bizowie, have either launched or announced their intention to launch a cloud-based offering within the last few years, primarily due to significant customer demand — from start-up companies to Fortune 500 firms. These are just a few of the reasons industry leaders demand nothing less than modern cloud ERP.
Access from anywhere with mobile-friendly systems
For today’s on-the-go workforce, the ability to enter and retrieve data from outside the office is imperative. Your C-suite needs to be able to keep tabs on real-time financial data, the sales team need up-to-the-minute information on customer and prospect activity, and access to KPIs such as process time and stock levels keep your operational management informed.
This is an area where on-premise systems consistently fail to deliver. Many installed solutions offer no connectivity from outside your network, and a surprising number of the ones that do offer an off-site solution do so using slow, unreliable VPN links or screen sharing. In short, a premise system is ill-advised for any business looking to provide reliable access to employees on the road or in off-site facilities.
Cloud solutions, however, provide connectivity from anywhere, via laptop computer, mobile phone, or tablet PC. And the robust security settings offered by many cloud solutions make it easy to ensure that offsite access is limited to only those who need it.
Increased security and stability
The data housed by your ERP system is among the most valuable resources your business has — including your full general ledger, customer lists, and HR and payroll records. Maintaining the security and availability of this data is critically important.
However, in-house IT resources are often insufficient to properly ensure that the ERP system is kept secure and stable — applying security patches to the software and server operating system, maintaining and verifying off-site backups, and ensuring network connectivity to the ERP server. One small oversight by your IT staff (who likely have many more tasks to perform than ERP management) could result in years of financial data being lost!
By virtue of the technical nature of their business, cloud ERP vendors maintain teams of technical specialists dedicated to the security and resiliency of their systems, and have well-tested internal controls ensuring that offsite backups and security audits occur with regularity. Allowing these specialists to manage your ERP environment allows you to rest assured that your data is safe, while freeing up your internal IT resources for other projects.
Software and infrastructure that’s always up-to-date
Your business isn’t the same as it was last year, and it won’t be the same a year from now. It’s constantly changing — growing, improving, and innovating. But installed systems simply remain the same — the same features, the same configuration, and the same user interface — year in and year out. And since updates come infrequently (if at all) and break legacy customizations, many forego updates entirely, leading to systems that don’t reflect the reality of how the business operates.
Because cloud ERP systems are managed by the vendor, it’s easy for updates and enhancements to be released on a weekly or even daily basis, ensuring you’re always up-to-date. And since most cloud systems are tailor-fit using robust administrative functionality instead of custom code, you don’t need to worry about bolted-on legacy enhancements getting broken by an upgrade.
Additionally, since cloud vendors leverage vast data centers worth of computing and storage, you have the ability to scale to nearly infinite growth, all without investing in new hardware and software. If you choose the right ERP, it will operate without missing a beat — whether you process 5 orders a day or 500,000.