Overcome Post-Pandemic Challenges With Cloud ERP
Mario Baumgartner explores why ERP in the cloud offers the flexibility and agility needed for a post-pandemic world.
One of the surprise effects of COVID-19 was the need for businesses to develop, almost overnight, a new remote working model. The fact that so many organisations struggled to do this in a timely and efficient way has brought into sharp focus the benefits of cloud ERP. What was a frictionless extension of current working practices for those operating with flexible, cloud-based ERP solutions, became a major operational issue for businesses using legacy, on-premise systems. A complex and unprecedented situation became even more difficult, at a time when additional challenges were far from welcome.
So, just what is it about an ERP system deployed in the cloud that makes such a difference? For those businesses who are yet to make the leap cloud-ward, the experiences of their cloud-based competitors have only served to show the enhanced value that can be delivered, optimising the benefits that the software can bring and giving the business a head start when life returns to some semblance of normality post-pandemic.
Controlling business costs
Keeping costs down is a priority for businesses everywhere while we wait to see what the future brings for the economy. Cloud ERP offers lower upfront costs compared to traditional delivery models, as well as an overall lower TCO when you factor in the ongoing costs of managing solutions in-house. Cloud providers are responsible for upgrades and updates too, taking on even more responsibility if you opt for a managed service offering, reducing the burden on your internal resource further still and enabling your IT team to focus on more strategic activities.
Similarly, when it comes to home working, the benefit of a cloud solution is that all users need to access the full functionality of the system is a wifi connection and web browser. For the IT team, this means a massive reduction in spend and effort to facilitate effective home working and much less time spent on firefighting the inevitable issues that occur when teams work from home using on-premise systems.
Flexible and scalable cloud solutions
Systems are no longer restricted to desktop access either. Native mobile device functionality represents a key component of the best cloud-based ERP systems, and provides the ability to drill back down into the data ensuring full functionality whether at home, in the office, or elsewhere.
The scalability and flexibility of cloud-based ERP solutions have really come into their own during the pandemic. Cloud ERP systems can easily scale and flex to meet changes in demand. With on-premise systems, adding or reducing users and functionality can be both time-consuming and costly, two things that businesses simply can’t afford to accommodate at the moment.
From a security point of view, the cloud comes out in front. When it comes to home working, security is a top priority, ensuring the protection of potentially sensitive information that’s being accessed via a home wifi network. With a cloud-based ERP, you’re guaranteed much higher levels of security than it would be possible to achieve in-house, as well as enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities, two other issues that have been thrust into the spotlight recently.
Some businesses have opted for a managed service offering, involving the end-to-end management of these mission-critical systems. The outsourcing of the management of systems frees up the rest of the business to focus on navigating its way through the many issues and challenges that COVID 19 has caused. At the same time, it’s provided increased control when it comes to costs, with systems all managed in-line with precise plans and budgets, making for more predictable costs.
The right partner can add immense value when it comes to an ERP system, too, advising not only on the optimal type of deployment for your business but using their experience to ensure you use your chosen solution to its full potential. So quick are businesses to implement new systems that they often fail to explore its full list of features and functionality, something that the right partner can help you to exploit to derive optimum levels of value from your solution.
The global pandemic may have put the challenge of home working and the wider issue of system flexibility front and centre, but it looks like they’re here to stay. It’s too early to tell what the new normal might look like when it comes to the business world but, for those with a cloud-based ERP system, they already have the firm but flexible foundations in place to build an agile business that’s capable of adapting to the new normal, whatever that might be.