What Is Cloud ERP?

image depicting computing on the cloud versus networked computers

What Is Cloud ERP?

Running a business requires the management of multiple systems, such as your inventory and your purchases. Your apparel business grows every day, but you may need new management software to stay up to date on coming changes and to keep all your information safe and accessible. It’s clearly time for new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software — but knowing where to start is another type of challenge altogether.

One type of software system that can help you effectively store and use your business information is known as cloud ERP.

So what is cloud ERP? Simply put, it’s an internet-based ERP system that allows for freedoms and flexibility not offered by other software systems.

Cloud ERP Is All Online

Storing information in a database is hardly a new practice, but developments in technology constantly make it more convenient and logical to create, change and store data on the internet.

You’ve heard of the cloud. Simply speaking, “the cloud” refers to online services that store or process. If you’ve ever used Google Drive or iCloud, those are cloud services that operate independently of your computer and save your work or information online for whenever you need it.

Using a cloud ERP system entails installing software and subscribing with an ERP vendor to use their cloud infrastructure. There are a few benefits to using a cloud service instead of on-premise ERP:

  • Easy information transfer: One of the beautiful aspects of the internet is the ability to send information across distances. With on-premise ERP, you may have a local network that allows your in-house employees to access data. But the cloud makes it easy for you to share documents and data with other parties outside your department or business within seconds.
  • Less focus on hardware and software maintenance: If you’re growing a business, you probably don’t want to have to focus your energy as heavily on IT problems. Local data storage means being responsible for all the challenges and glitches that may arise with your software. If you have everything backed up on a service provider’s cloud, you’ll still need to have some IT management, but the cloud will allow you to outsource rather than dealing with problems internally. This gives you and your employees more time to focus on the things that matter, like satisfying customers.
  • Stay current more easily: With cloud ERP software, you can stay up to date with new methods and technologies as they arise. Cloud ERP systems are likely to receive upgrades and new features over time. Your on-premise ERP may be new and shiny today, but it could become obsolete within a few years.

Cloud ERP vs. SaaS ERP: What’s the Difference?

Some people confuse cloud ERP and software-as-a-service (SaaS) ERP solutions. And it’s true that there are similarities between them.

Both cloud and SaaS ERP operate online and involve the use of a vendor or service provider. They also both tend to take significantly less time than on-premise ERP when it comes to performing the initial setup. However, it’s important to note that the cloud has a much bigger scope than SaaS and that their mechanisms differ greatly.

SaaS ERP service providers tend to be affordable and offer frequent upgrades. But unlike regular cloud ERP providers, they rent out their application to you for use on their terms. You pay to use their software, often by subscription, but they manage and retain full control of the program. This might not be the ideal choice for a company looking for software flexibility and the option to make functional changes.

Cloud ERP, on the other hand, offers more flexibility for you to customize your software as needed. It lets you keep full control of your information and work, simply giving you access to a cloud server for you to use as you see fit. This is one of the safest and most convenient ways to store and create business data.

What to Look for in a Cloud ERP Service

If you want to find the correct cloud ERP system that will help you with inventory, purchasing and customer relationship management, you need to know what to look for.

These are a few qualities of good cloud ERP services that you should be aware of before you make a decision:

  • Successful history: Before you commit to a service provider, find out what other people are saying about them. Find out if they have helped other businesses evolve in the past. Doing preliminary research on your potential ERP software is crucial if you want to avoid investing time and money in something that’s likely to let you down in the end.
  • Flexibility: Your business may require more software flexibility depending on your needs. That said, having the freedom and functionality to customize your software can be a valuable asset. If your business has unique needs, an individualized approach to your data organization and creation is probably the best one. Cloud ERP systems give you a measure of freedom that other types do not, but you should make sure you get the details before you dive in.
  • Mobile-friendly: A few years ago, having a mobile-friendly system didn’t matter as much as it does today. Right now, we live in a world where people access information from their phones and tablets almost constantly. If you want to maximize the accessibility of your data for employees and business partners, you’ll benefit from choosing a service provider that accommodates mobile devices.

Implement Cloud ERP Into Your Business Plan Today

Now that you know all about cloud ERP, are you ready to try it on your business? If you’re looking for a service provider that will work with you and help you personalize your software according to your company’s needs, FDM4 will start right away. Contact us now for a consultation!