In our previous blog, we elaborated on the idea that innovations around ERP and digital transformations are fashionable, but that it requires your business to have a stable digital core first. In this blog we focus on the value Cloud ERP can bring.
This core supports operational processes like financial accounting, supply chain processes, project management, etc.. We always advise our customers to select a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to support this. Though I am wondering if you can still talk about SaaS or cloud solutions as an innovation in 2020 (Gartner already listed Cloud technology in their top 10 technology trends of 2012), I still see many companies running their on-premise business solutions. Besides that, we still see IT advisories that prefer to implement less modern technology, like on-premise solutions on a cloud platform (PaaS), or even hosted on a company’s servers.
Saying this, I believe it is still relevant to write about why your company can save money, and migrate to a new Cloud ERP landscape while reducing risk. So let’s go back to basics first. What we mean by a SaaS solution is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection and a web browser. In this web-based model, software vendors host and maintain the servers, databases, and the code that makes up an application.
Some reasons why Cloud ERP make our lives much easier is that it no longer requires to invest in hardware and network capabilities. It avoids painful installations of software on local computers, and it doesn’t require you to deploy periodical updates and bug fixes. Instead you access your application via a web browser, and the SaaS provider ensures you can always work on the latest version of the code and make use of all new features and functions as soon as they are released. Instead of making a significant investment at the start, you pay a monthly subscription fee and allow you to scale according to the growth of your business, which will make your digital transformation budget-friendly.
Maybe we should have a look at some concerns about SaaS, to see why some companies and IT advisories still prefer to implement on-prem solutions. Perhaps you work at a company that operates in a niche and needs to support particular processes. Or maybe your company has invented a process optimization that allows you to work far more efficiently than your competitors, and you don’t want to lose that advantage. Will the solution be flexible enough to cover those needs? In my experience, the answer to that is definitely positive. Yes, you will be able to add sufficient flexibility to your platform. Modern solutions allow you to customize your user interface to change the look and feel of the applications. Workflows can be altered to comply with your organizational structure, and specific features can be turned on and off to fit your needs. And when you hit a requirement that really can’t go into the solution, you just don’t solve that problem in the problem in the core, but you develop an app that integrates with your solutions. This method will help you allot to keep your core as standard and agile as possible. API’s will allow you to integrate quickly, and the core remains standard and continues to be easily maintained by the SaaS provider.
So I genuinely believe there are no reasons to stop your company from winging its way to the cloud. Next to the fact that it will make your implementation cheaper and mitigates risks, SaaS doesn’t sit still, and it will help to make your company become future proof. As part of the continuous evolution of SaaS, both artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing their respective roles as they become an integral part of the SaaS landscape. The introduction of AI to the SaaS landscape is paradigm-shifting: it will enable never-before-seen business categories, hyper-personalized experiences, and additional possibilities that we can’t even dream of yet. In our next blogs, we will deep-dive into some relevant use cases, to see how these technologies can be used to boost your business.
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Being the best guide for your customers in the Architecture, Selection, Implementation and Customer Success Management field, requires to keep your knowledge up to date. As it is our goal to always provide the best fit for our customers, it means we need to keep track of many solutions of many vendors. Fortunately, most vendors make life easy and organize events to keep their customers, partners and all interested parties like us informed. So we took off to London and visited Oracle OpenWorld Europe.
When you do a Google search for innovation and ERP and digital core, you will most likely come across multiple websites that focus on innovations like Cloud, Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Apps, and Robotics. Is this focus on innovation just a strive for differentiation of the different vendors, or do these innovations deliver the promised value to your organization?