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. Using a cloud ERP system entails installing software and subscribing with an ERP vendor to use their cloud infrastructure. If you’ve ever used Google Drive or iCloud, you’ve used a cloud service that operates independently of your computer and saves your work or information online for whenever you need it.

The cloud-based model for ERP allows for freedoms and flexibility not offered by other software systems. In this guide to cloud ERP, we’ll explore some important benefits of cloud ERPs so you know whether it is the ideal solution for your needs.

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Benefits of Cloud ERP

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.

There are a few benefits to using a cloud service instead of on-premise ERP:

  • Easy information sharing: 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.
  • Remote access: With cloud-based ERP, you may also be able to directly access your business’s information using a personal device from anywhere. As long as you have the proper credentials to log in, it doesn’t matter where you are or what device you’re using. This means even if you’re on a business trip or vacation, you can still check-in if needed.
  • Simplified maintenance: 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 these needs. This gives you and your employees more time to focus on the things that matter, like satisfying customers.
  • Ongoing updates: 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 automatic upgrades and new features over time as the provider develops them. Your on-premise ERP may be new and shiny today, but it could become obsolete within a few years.
  • Data security: Cloud ERP software also offers an advantage in that cloud-based software companies are committed to storing and protecting your information in their advanced data centers. You may feel more in control when your data is stored on-site, but the reality is that data breaches or losses can be more of a concern in these instances.

 

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.

Who Should Consider Using a Cloud ERP?

Any business that is ready to upgrade their ERP should consider why using cloud ERP may be better than their current system. In addition to the many benefits cloud ERP will deliver right away, choosing a cloud-based service may even save you from having to find a new solution in the future when you’re ready for another upgrade. That’s because cloud ERP service providers can deploy updates to keep your system current, and you can customize your software to meet your fluctuating needs.

Cloud ERP is a strategic choice, especially for businesses that want to be prepared to scale. If you’re using an on-premise ERP solution, you may run into some serious challenges if you add business locations, departments or remote workers. Only cloud ERP can allow all authorized users to access vital data on your business’s operations, no matter where they’re located.

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.

 

Planning Cloud ERP Implementation

Fortunately, deploying cloud ERP is a simpler process than implementing an on-premise solution. This is because you cut out steps involved with putting the necessary infrastructure in place. Instead, you can focus on just a few tasks needed to successfully implement your new system. These tasks include:

  • Data migration: You want to make sure you have access to all your old data through the new system.
  • Configuration: You’ll want to tailor your software to your business by adjusting settings and inputting users.
  • Training: You will also need to train your employees on how to properly use the new ERP.

 

Implement Cloud ERP Into Your Business Plan Today

Now that you know all about cloud ERP, are you ready to give this solution a try for 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!