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Why Cloud ERP is Right for Your Business

Why Cloud ERP is Right for Your Business

Cloud-based computing allows users to access their software applications on shared computing resources, thus avoiding the costs of managing and maintaining their own data center. It’s an ideal option for those who need guaranteed up-time and want the most up-to-date software applications available. More and more business is turning to cloud ERP software as well, as it provides the anywhere-access of all cloud applications and features a lower up-front investment.

What Is Cloud ERP Software?

ERP software integrates your business processes to foster automated workflows and provides you a full view of all of the various aspects of your business that make it work, including sales, finance, and production. The only major difference between cloud ERP software and on-premises ERP software is the physical location of the software. However, if that physical location is at the vendor’s data center and made available to you through the internet, you are able to access the software from anywhere.

The History of Cloud ERP

ERP software is now entering the phase where data is flowing freely across all aspects of a business and providing the ease and precision of automated workflows. It wasn’t always that way, however.

In the early 1960s, the original ERP was the pioneer computer system installed at a manufacturing plant in order to track materials. Two decades ago, business solutions were maintained on space-eating machines on premises of all types of businesses. ERP software was sold in large, cumbersome packages with questionable functionality.

Customizing that software required hiring someone to configure it through millions of lines of software code. If you had a problem, it would take a team of engineers to figure it out.

There were a number of issues that necessitated the progress of ERP to the cloud. The biggest of those issues is that the expense of the data center, the IT team, space for the computers, the computers themselves, the code writer and the engineers caused the powerful benefits of ERP software to be little more than a dream to everyone but the largest and most profitable companies. Further, the processes of inputting and accessing the information left little room for alternatives, and noncompliance with procedures was high as frustrated employees refused to conform to the system’s process changes.

Benefits of Cloud ERP

In addition to providing a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes, without the demands of on-premises deployment, cloud ERP offers many other benefits, such as:

  • No upfront software licensing fees
  • The vendor handles all software updates and upgrades, meaning you and your employees always have access to the latest versio
  • Access to your data wherever you are
  • You pay only for the cloud services you need and you’re easily able to add more as your business grows or your needs change
  • A fixed monthly rate for the software that you rely on
  • Data is backed up regularly and there is a disaster recovery plan in place
  • Your vendor provides data security and your vulnerability to attacks is diminished, as your data is not located on premises
  • A limited amount of time is needed for implementation, meaning you can take advantage of the benefits of your cloud ERP a lot sooner

Why Cloud ERP Is Right for Your Business

Is your business in the process of growing and, therefore, requires a scalable solution? Do you have limited funds to invest in hardware, software, and IT personnel? Do you want guaranteed up-time and the knowledge that your data is recoverable in the event of a disaster? Do you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly how much you’re going to pay each month for the business technology you require? Are you ready to start using your ERP system as soon as possible? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then cloud-based ERP is a great solution for you. Contact us for more information.

Cloud vs On Premise ERP

Cloud vs On Premise ERP

In-House Hosting Compared to Cloud-Based Hosting

When you hear about Cloud vs on premise ERP hosting, the conversation is about the server infrastructure on which your software applications run, and your data is stored. Both on premise (or in-house) and cloud-based options have benefits and downsides, so choosing between the two often comes down to costs, how much uptime you need, and the other specific needs of your company at this time.

What is In-House Hosting and Cloud-Based Hosting?

In-house hosting means that you house your infrastructure on-premises at your company. You have absolute control over your data, including how it is protected. Cloud-based hosting involves having your applications and data stored on a public or private cloud that is accessible to you over the internet.

The Benefits & Challenges In-House Hosting

Pros:

  • Physical control over your data and backup
  • Access to your data is not reliant on an internet connection

Cons:

  • Requires an investment in hardware and infrastructure, which depreciates rapidly — often within about four years
  • Requires dedicated space at your business, as well as a dedicated IT support team
  • Disaster recovery is difficult and there are no guarantees that your data can be recovered

The Benefits & Challenges of Cloud ERP

Pros:

  • A great option for small to medium-sized businesses who cannot afford the large investment needed to develop, maintain, and secure their data
  • Scalable, meaning that your solution grows along with your business
  • Backup, security, restoration, and support are all provided for you
  • You can back up your data as often as you’d like
  • You can access your data anywhere you are, as long as you have an internet connection

Cons:

  • You can’t access your data without an internet connection
  • You’re limited by internet speeds
  • Although your data is backed up, restoring large amounts of data may take some time, even with a fast internet connection

In Conclusion

When it comes to Cloud vs on premise ERP, there are good and bad points to either option. Cloud-based hosting is a good alternative for small to medium-sized businesses who wish to focus on all of the services that make the business great while resting in the knowledge that the data is monitored and secure. Cloud solutions remove the need to focus attention, time, money, and staff resources on building and maintaining your own personal data center that may “feel” safe, but actually comes with no guarantees.

For more information on our Cloud based hosting services – contact EstesGroup today.

The Unique Family Dynamics of a Successful ERP Implementation

The Unique Family Dynamics of a Successful ERP Implementation

Tolstoy famously remarked that “all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Reflecting on Tolstoy’s own relations and on the kindred lives of the characters in his novels, I’ve often wondered if Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations are like families, and whether such categorical statements could be similarly applied to successful and unsuccessful families of projects.  While every project has its own unique dynamics, I’m obliged to believe that roughly the inverse of Tolstoy’s statement is the case—that each happy ERP implementation isn’t alike, but rather is successful in its own way.

 

That is, I’ve seen successful ERP implementation projects that have differed from one another in surprisingly significant ways.  As such, it might be best to review successful ERP projects individually and try to understand what it is among them that made them successful.  Anyone can wax eloquent on the generic platitudes that lead to a successful implementation, but in practice, when the time comes to make tradeoffs between platitudes, it’s helpful to know how companies work through challenges and finally arrive at successful implementations.

 

One project that we recently completed fit such a mold.  While not free of obstacles, the end-product was immensely successful.  A number of key factors led to the ERP implementation’s success:

  • All of the team members were engaged and onboard.  Getting the team to buy into the project’s mission, and actively support that mission, was never a problem.
  • The project team did a large amount of their own end-to-end testing.  Unlike some projects, where the team only tests while the consultants are onsite, the team verified their system configuration and business processes whenever possible, leading to a rock-solid business process at cutover.
  • The team took ownership of issue resolution.  The team dug in, tried things out, and came to solutions.  This served to greatly shorten certain phases of the project.
  • The team made decisions quickly, collaboratively.  The project was rarely, if ever, waiting on a key decision, and nobody on the team could have been accused of analysis paralysis.
  • The team took responsibility for their roles and did the work on time, and on schedule.  Schedule attainment was a high priority, and the team put the necessary work in to make things happen.
  • The team displayed a culture of respect, staying respectful during difficult conversations and decisions.  The stresses involved in an ERP project can at times encourage dysfunctional or toxic behaviors, but this team treated each other with a high degree of respect, even when working through the toughest decisions.
  • The team’s project management was of the highest capabilities, displaying excellent collaboration and communication with the core team, and with the EstesGroup team as well.

The net result was a successful ERP implementation project on-time and on-budget, with the expected level of system capabilities.  The team experienced a clean and quiet cutover, and quickly stabilized.  Within a short time, the company had moved onto managing daily operations and planning for the future.

Every project has its wayward sheep, be they executive sponsorship, excessive customization, inadequate team investment, or challenges with data conversion.  No project ever checks all the happy boxes. 

 

But in spite of challenges, the best companies still manage to successfully implement their enterprise systems, keeping their team engaged, committed, and dependable—regardless of all the unique twists in their project’s DNA. 

 

Are you ready for your company to create its own exceptional implementation story? 

Come talk to us, and we’ll share some of the greatest success stories of ERP history—prosperous implementations similar in success, yet nuanced in achievement—stories that can inspire your own project to be a story with a happy ending.

Why Buy an ERP Software?

Why Buy an ERP Software?

Why Buy an ERP Software?

Businesses who are happy with the money they’re making and don’t wish to grow or to improve their relationships with their customers often don’t think about the need for ERP software. However, those businesses are few and far between. For the rest of us, the need for streamlined business processes has never been greater. ERP software helps businesses remain competitive by providing tools necessary for operating efficiently.

Why Do We Need an ERP System?

Gone are the days of companies have an employee or a department specifically devoted to manually entering information. Gone are the days when customers only had one choice when it came time to order the products they need. Today’s business processes must be done quicker and more efficiently than ever in order for a company to keep pace with its customers’ demands. An ERP package helps you to provide quick, accurate, and efficient service to your customers by providing a centralized hub in which all of the data from the various departments is managed.

The following symptoms show that your business is ready for an ERP package:

  • You’ve outgrown your business software and it is no longer capable of doing all of the things you need it to do.
  • Your existing business processes often result in missed deadlines, wasted materials, unused machines or labor, and other inefficiencies.
  • You need to track data across existing systems or in multiple departments and you’re unable to do so.
  • You don’t have the transparency you need in all aspects of your business to make informed decisions as to future opportunities.
  • Your employees are often tied up with tasks that could be automated.
  • There is little communication or information sharing between the various groups in your organization.
  • You’re spending too much on licensing fees, staffing, training, operations, and labor all for the sole purpose of integrating multiple applications.

Should Every Business Buy an ERP Package?

The simple answer to this question is: Yes. While small to medium businesses may be able to get by on a patchwork of different software, multiple systems are less effective for your business processes as they quickly become outdated and also require a lot of manual and duplicate entries. ERP systems streamline the various processes you use in your day-to-day operations, working off the same, shared database. This not only gives you a complete view of all of your processes and how they relate to one another, but also improve collaboration and provide you with the analysis you need to make decisions that will impact your bottom line.

Additional reasons why every business should buy an ERP package include:

  • Automated management of business tasks which free up employee time for other critical work.
  • Reducing errors that come with manual entry, saving your company’s precious resources, including money and time.
  • Increased productivity due to real-time coordination between groups within your organization.
  • Creation of a clear audit paper trail that can withstand the compliance regulations of your industry.
  • Reduction of labor costs and IT expenses.
  • Improving customer relationship management by allowing your sales department to have the information they need about the customers they deal with and the information they need to know about inventory and availability.
  • Flexibility to handle organizational growth and its impacts to each individual department.
  • Knowing that your software is up-to-date, secure, and maintained and that there is support available if you should have any questions.

We Can Help

EstesGroup is a certified reseller of Epicor products, including Epicor ERP and Prophet 21. We also provide ERP consultations, regardless of what system you select for your business. We will not guide you toward our own products if they are not a good fit for you. Contact us today for a free, in-depth consultation so that we may discuss your business processes with you and find a solution that will advance your company’s initiatives.

Are you looking for an ERP system, or have questions about what ERP is best for your business? Ask Us.