Using the cloud is so common these days that most small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have at least one cloud service supporting their operations. An increasingly popular cloud-based service is enterprise resource planning (ERP). But what is it? And what are the advantages of using a cloud-based ERP solution? Here’s a quick and informative overview.
Define: Cloud-based ERP
ERP is management software, usually offered as a bundle of applications, that aims to help businesses automate the collection, storage, management, and interpretation of data from disparate sources like accounting, inventory, marketing, service delivery, etc. With ERP, business owners and managers can get an integrated real-time view of business processes, resources, and commitments.
Cloud-based ERP solutions are simply a suite of ERP apps delivered to users over the internet, usually accessed via a browser. The software usually does not need to be installed on computers and is offered on a per-user, per-month, flat-rate fee.
Companies using a cloud-based integrated ERP solution have experienced the following five benefits:
1. Decreased operating costs
An in-house ERP solution requires purchasing software and hardware to support it. Once you’ve built the solution’s infrastructure, you need to hire staff to install and maintain it. All of these will drive up the overall IT budget, something most SMBs cannot immediately afford.
But with a cloud-based ERP system, you normally only have to pay a flat-rate monthly fee, so the total cost of implementation will likely be far lower. Many providers can also manage the solution for you (i.e., they’ll take care of maintenance, upgrades, etc.). This will even out your operating costs, and if implemented correctly, will result in an overall decrease in expenses.
2. Increased ERP performance over in-house solutions
In-house ERP solutions require correctly configured hosting and proper maintenance to function at their most efficient. Your IT staff will be responsible for both, but if these are done poorly, then performance suffers.
With cloud-based solutions, the provider takes care of hosting the solution. You know that system maintenance is being done by experts, so you’re assured that your ERP software will be at peak performance.
3. Enhanced access to information
Companies that don’t have any ERP system will likely struggle to find the information they need, when they need it. ERP programs can help consolidate the relevant information in a more effective manner than, say, spreadsheets.
And since cloud-based ERP solutions are accessible via the internet, you now have access to the information you need from anywhere with an internet connection.
4. Continued support
Providers of cloud-based ERP solutions offer 24/7 support and can fix problems faster than if you leave them to your employees. They also make sure to keep their solutions updated. Hackers have been known to attack businesses that use outdated versions of popular ERP programs.
5. Increased security
ERP systems process critical business information, so you will want to keep your data secure from outside sources and unauthorized users within your organization.
In this regard, cloud-based ERP solutions have enhanced security measures that protect your data in storage and when it moves from your systems to the host servers.
And for internal data security, users will need an assigned account to access your ERP system. This gives you control over who is given an account or not. Furthermore, you can also limit who can access your system via central admin panels. All of these features make cloud-based ERP solutions more secure than in-house ones.
If you want to learn more about cloud-based ERP solutions, contact us. We’ll be glad to assist you.