Tuesday, 25th February 2020

Three ways to maximise the value of cloud ERP

While there’s a general shift towards the cloud, when it comes to ERP many businesses are still reluctant. There’s still a misconception that the switch can be an overwhelming task that will be disruptive and costly for business processes. Indeed, a report from Gartner found that companies without a plan in place for managing the transition away from on-premise systems are sinking considerable sums, without enjoying the benefits. The good news is that with the right strategy and vendor, the switch doesn’t have to be an exhausting process. By Andres Richter, CEO Priority Software.

But in order to reap the full rewards of cloud ERP, it’s important that a cloud mindset is adopted throughout the organisation. This involves having a targeted approach to adopting cloud technology, ensuring everyone in the company is on board, and making sure processes are in place in anticipation of the new set of expectations the transition can usher in, such as the ability to work remotely.

Understand where it will have value

There can be a temptation to switch every solution used by the business over to the cloud, but this can be a misguided approach that ends up disrupting processes, and costing unnecessary time and money. Businesses should carry out a thorough, company-wide audit to identify activities and bottlenecks that can be improved by moving away from on-premise solutions.

Although this may take time, it ensures that any transition towards new technologies is targeted and strategic.

Make sure you have company wide buy-in

Once you’ve determined which areas will benefit from a move to cloud technology, it’s important to highlight the value to the wider organisation in order to ensure business buy-in. These benefits should be tied directly to the business so they’re tangible and easy to grasp.

Use the company audit to highlight where current bottlenecks lie, and showcase how a switch to cloud solutions will help. For example, demonstrating that sales can be closed in less time if employees have access to date anywhere, at any time, is a great way of showcasing a return on investment.

Illustrating how the transition can be cost-effective is also a great way of bringing people on board. For example, moving away from on-premise ERP solutions can allow businesses to reduce IT budgets by sidestepping the complexities of purchasing and managing hardware. These can range from purchasing the hardware system, buying licenses, maintaining it, and so on. Switching to a cloud ERP solution can be far friendly to the bank account, as it allows companies to create “bespoke” packages, where businesses are able to pick and choose the functionalities as needed. Opting for technology that’s unique to your business also makes it easier to scale resources up or down based on changing business needs. Furthermore, IT departments are freed from time-consuming maintenance tasks, allowing more time to build strategies, adopt technological innovations, and help the business run more effectively.

Have the right organisational structures in place

One of the main advantages of any cloud software is that it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. While this will have a major, positive impact on the way businesses are run and managed, it may also affect working styles and organisational structures, as employees will have the freedom to carry out their work away from the office.

Indeed, it’s expected that in the future, the internal structure of a business will become far less rigid, moving towards a model that more closely resembles a flexible network of satellites. Businesses will employ only a few full-time staff, assisted by a team of remote freelancers, ad hoc project managers, and part-time employees.

In systems such as this, embracing technologies like cloud ERP that support remote working and real-time data updates, becomes a necessity. It’s vital that users are given the freedom to access data from any location, giving them full visibility of the business whenever and wherever necessary.

The benefits for adopting cloud ERP are vast, which is no surprise given the numerous benefits it offers. But in order for businesses to maximise the value of the cloud, it’s important that transitions are strategic and targeted, with full company backing, and that structures are in place to keep up with any technological and social changes to how we work.

By Nick McMenemy, CEO & Founder Renewtrak.
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