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ERP Vendor Bender: How To Manage Vendor Relationships

ERP Vendor Bender: How To Manage Vendor Relationships

Managing ERP Management from Selection to Upgrade 

Your business is not alone. Manufacturers and distributors operate in an interconnected web that is often as expansive and elusive as the internet, or even the galaxy. Add constant digital connectivity to this already complex network of relationships, and you are in need of a strategy for managing the people behind the technological world you’ve created by implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and its supporting third-party applications. 

ERP Software Vendor Relationship Management

Your ERP world begins with your original ERP vendor, the publisher of your enterprise resource planning software. Due to updates to the ERP system itself and also to the expectations of implementation and ongoing support, your ERP vendor relationship is key to the success of your implementation. 

With the weight and breadth of your ERP system in mind, are you on a vendor bender? Read on to see how an independent ERP consultancy (like EstesGroup) helps manufacturers, distributors, and other businesses running robust business applications manage vendor relationships.

Relationships that Bring Value to Your Business

You strengthen your business every time you add a valuable relationship to your network. EstesGroup begins every relationship with PAIR (Passion, Accountability, Integrity, Respect), our core-value approach to business consulting. We nurture this core system to build and support our partnerships with companies like yours, and some of these relationships span decades. We also apply our value system to ad hoc projects, so if you choose to work with our ERP or IT consultants, you’ll experience our core values, even if all you need is a free dark web scan. 

P is for Passion, an energy-based value.

Passion gives your software or technology project life from selection all the way through to deployment and ongoing support. Here are a few traits that you can nurture in your business culture, in order to promote passion in your project:

  • Positivity: Culture is everything in ERP implementation. Happy users result in happy customers, happy budgets, and a promising future.
  • Reciprocity: Your vendor relationships particularly should never be one-sided. Two-sided relationships create the strong bridge that allows your ERP system to close gaps.
  • Competitiveness: Passionate teams win. While your ERP software project might not feel as exciting as the Super Bowl, it unfolds in similar drama, regalia, and celebration. Hopefully, you’ve chosen an ERP software vendor that will be along for the entire journey, including every win.

A is for Accountability, a value of action.

Think of how public you are as a business owner. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had someone on your right, and someone on your left, who would improve your reputation every step of the way? Here are three things to ask if you suspect that your ERP vendor doesn’t want to be accountable for any failures in your project’s future:

  • Does your software vendor fully support your ERP system at every level, from purchase to replacement?
  • Does your vendor provide resources and training materials beyond introductory materials that promote the software sale?
  • Does the vendor take time and care to help you establish goals that meet your expectations and budget requirements?

I is for Integrity, a value with vast repercussions.

Do you trust your ERP vendor? Does this same level of trust apply to the consultants you’ve chosen to assist you with the implementation? Here are some things that your software vendor and your ERP implementation team should share:

  • Helpfulness 
  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

R is for Respect, a value of resourcefulness and resources.

Respect creates an extended network of resources, since it’s the moral ground of community-building activities and outcomes. There shouldn’t be false hope here. You should respect your vendors because they are known experts in the field and because they sincerely want to help you achieve your goals. 

In ERP, Strategy Comes from Strength 

Strategic partnership is key to survival in today’s competitive world of manufacturing and distribution, especially in regard to vendor relationships. Talent can feel sparse when you’re struggling through an ERP implementation and deployment.

A good vendor provides a roadmap for your software use. Recommendations should include deployment options. If an ERP vendor only offers a SaaS (Software as a Service) option, then you know advice is weighted with vendor profits in mind. Sadly, many ERP buyers are swayed to sign up for all services a vendor is trying to sell. A good vendor relationship begins with open communication, honesty, and customer-focused interaction.

The Vendor to Buyer Connection

There may come a day when you realize that your vendor was a bad decision or a necessary evil. If you do have conflict with your software vendor, then you might need relationship management techniques that promote a healthier relationship with the company that sold you your ERP system. An independent consultancy can provide the skilled mediation required to strengthen your vendor partnerships. Here are a few of the ways your relationship can go from sweet deal to buyer’s remorse:

  • Vendor negativity toward how you choose to implement and deploy your enterprise software
  • Buyer remorse as you venture into the fine print of your contract
  • Vendor favoritism toward other customers
  • User-level disappointment in the ERP project and management

An ideal vendor will give you the best price on the software, and might even throw in a flexible payment plan or a loyalty discount. An ERP system is a large investment that will influence how your company operates for years to come. A good vendor will help you manage your immediate cash flow and guarantee your future profits. 

A vendor should provide wealth and resources that you wouldn’t otherwise have available to your business. Hopefully, your investment comes with access to materials and resources that include best practices, project roadmaps, and user-focused activities that help you find the support you need throughout your ERP implementation.

After the Software, the Software Vendor Relationships

Good relationships result in good business. Many business owners looking to buy an ERP software, like Epicor Kinetic, Epicor Prophet 21, Sage, or SYSPRO, need guidance. Advice is needed when it comes to the business application, and it’s also necessary when it comes to the people behind the software. 

Do you need help getting on the same page as your vendor? Contact us, and you’ll find the most helpful consultants in ERP, managed IT, and cloud services for businesses. Are you in a business application deployment or cloud migration dilemma? Click here to watch a video on public vs. private cloud ERP deployment options. EstesGroup has been trusted for nearly two decades by businesses throughout North America. With the experience that has come from our own relationships, we’ll help you build and manage yours throughout your ERP or technology project. 

How ERP Deployment is an Environmental Decision

How ERP Deployment is an Environmental Decision

Have you wondered if your business is making sustainable decisions when it comes to choosing and managing the hardware and software systems that maintain your enterprise? Let’s look at enterprise resource planning (ERP) deployment options to see why hosting your application in an off-site data center is a green decision. Have you seen an environmentally-friendly on-site server lately?
In today’s world, businesses that ignore sustainability are making a mistake. This is especially true for manufacturers and distributors. At the end of the supply chain, consumers value eco-friendly products and services more than ever. The younger generations that grew up on technology and hyper-connectivity are getting older and taking on more leadership roles in corporate America, and 6 out of 10 millennials are willing to pay a premium for sustainable purchases.
Green Cloud ERP Deployment

Green ERP Deployment, Sustainable Environmental Impact

There are many ways to make your products greener. Popular options include reducing energy consumption or donating to an eco-friendly cause. What you might not realize is that your approach to how you deploy and manage the technology that supports your business can boost your reputation as a business while also saving you money.

How is your ERP deployment strategy hurting or helping the environment? A migration to a managed hosting solution in a premium data center will quickly help your business become more efficient. EstesGroup’s ECHO (EstesCloud Hosting) platform is a great example. Efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. What’s good for your profit margin is also good for the planet. Keep reading to learn why choosing EstesGroup for ERP hosting is an environmental decision.

Modern Supply Chains and Your Carbon Footprint

Enterprise resource planning, also known as ERP, is a type of business software that demands complex technological infrastructure. ERP manages business processes such as supply chains, manufacturing, accounting, services, and more. Enterprise resource planning systems should be tailored to your business and implemented by trained professionals.

Modern supply chains are often wasteful due to poor logistics. The rush to produce and deliver products causes excess. Waste contributes to environmental destruction through carbon emissions and unnecessary resource use. An ERP system can improve the situation by being the right software solution for your business, to increase productivity and streamline business operations.
When deployed and managed using sustainable technology, implementing a tailored ERP system reduces waste. It creates a more accurate supply chain. If you choose cloud hosting, your business system is managed in an environmentally-friendly data center by experts in your software. Effective ERP systems are an example of how technology solutions can reduce your company’s carbon footprint. When you implement with a skilled team of ERP consultants, you will achieve optimal productivity and efficiency. This means you’re making sustainable business decisions. The long-term management of your ERP system should be good for your business and also good for the earth.

Energy efficiency: ERP software results in cost savings and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Green-grid, energy-star processes: An advanced ERP system is an essential component of successful “green” manufacturing and distribution.

Here are some more green benefits of applying an ERP system to manage your company’s processes:

  • Matches supply with demand to cut waste from the supply stream
  • Sends information through the supply chain in real-time, continually optimizing processes
  • Reduces product transport distances and lowers carbon emissions
  • Eliminates excess production
  • Gives suppliers an idea of what you are going to need
  • Minimizes the need for storage space

Achieve Lean and Green Manufacturing

In terms of the supply chain, the ultimate goal of an ERP system is lean manufacturing. Pioneered by Toyota, it’s a method to get rid of waste without slowing productivity. Lean manufacturing eliminates steps that fail to add value.

ERP software achieves lean manufacturing by using real-time data to boost efficiency. Your supply chain becomes more flexible and easily adapts to changes in the market. Efficiency means better service for your consumers. Expect on-time deliveries, positive feedback, and customer loyalty.

Eliminate Waste From Your Processes

Common causes of supply chain waste are overproduction and over-purchasing of materials. Human forecasting errors can also leave you with a surplus of unused components. Transporting goods over long distances increases your carbon footprint for no good reason. All of these issues can be eliminated with an ERP system.

But waste isn’t limited to manufacturing materials and fossil fuels. Employee time is valuable and should also be used wisely. In-house installation and hosting of your ERP software are expensive and time-consuming, and it can be stressful to monitor and maintain cybersecurity standards and compliance.
Drop the need for internal servers, updates, and repairs with managed application hosting in a private or hybrid cloud. You will save your team from the headaches of on-site data management. Best of all, it’s cost effective and a green choice.

Best ERP Deployment Strategy, Better for the Environment

Your process management software will benefit from dedicated ERP hosting. An off-site hosting option is ideal for manufacturers and distributors because you get backup, disaster recovery, business continuity, cybersecurity, compliance, and support built into your platform from the beginning.

On-site hosting comes with significant costs and challenges. With EstesCloud managed hosting, you never have to worry because the responsibility is on us. There are no security breaches or technical difficulties to deal with. Our team is here to protect and support you at all times.
In-house servers are energy-intensive. You are sure to end up consuming more electricity than necessary. Our managed services team offers consumption-based application hosting in a private or hybrid cloud that’s built to fit the specific needs of your business, as they are, when they change, and as they change.
Instead of requiring an entire system, you can share with others. In consumption-based models, the customer pays based on their individual resource use. This eco-friendly approach incentivizes resource conservation and leads to energy savings.

PEAK ERP Implementation Methodology

Are you wondering about the process of implementing an ERP system with support from EstesGroup? We use our PEAK ERP implementation methodology to make things as straightforward as possible for you.

First, you will work with our experienced ERP consultants to identify the perfect software solution for your business. EstesGroup is your implementation partner and service provider for Epicor Prophet 21, Epicor Kinetic ERP, SYSPRO, and Sage. All are state-of-the-art systems built to support businesses as they grow and change.
For an ERP implementation or upgrade, we begin with an in-depth process review to understand your business and its specific needs. We consider how your processes can be simplified using an Epicor ERP product. A demo is provided to help you assess what you’d like to do with your software. Next, we train your team before the system is implemented. This ensures a smooth transition. Finally, we build, put in place, and stabilize the system. If extra training is needed, we provide it. Our goal is to leave your team feeling confident and satisfied with their new tools. After the transition, we are always here when you need us. Our managed hosting services offer application support, security, and access from anywhere.

Choose Managed Hosting for Sustainable ERP Deployment

Setting up an advanced ERP system for your business is a smart, green choice. By reducing waste throughout your business processes, you will protect valuable resources. You can also reduce your company’s carbon emissions. Other benefits include cost savings, employee efficiency, and customer satisfaction. You will be able to pursue new business opportunities with confidence. Your buyers will appreciate your efforts to operate sustainably. They might be willing to pay more for your products.

Our implementation process makes the transition to your new ERP system seamless. Add personalized application hosting for continued support and guidance from our experts. Contact us today to begin greening your business with the best ERP software support for the manufacturing and distribution industries. We can also tell you more about managed hosting services and how cloud services can provide an environmental data management strategy that is not only green, building a better world, but also profitable, creating a better business world. Our experts know the cloud and know your application. This means that if you need Prophet 21 consulting, you have access to the best experts in the industry, with the added support of P21 cloud hosting consultants. The same goes for Epicor Kinetic, Syspro, and Sage ERP.

Please fill out the form below or contact us now to schedule an ERP deployment consultation and get a cloud demo.

Doctor Who Regeneration for Digital Transformation

Doctor Who Regeneration for Digital Transformation

Regeneration as a Metaphor for Digital Transformation

As a Canadian living in the American diaspora, I’ve had fun, at times, playing with my adopted country’s misconceptions of my homeland. I once convinced a room full of Texans that I had a pet wolf back home, à la Jon Snow, and that I culled dinner from the nearby caribou herds with a hand spear. Easy pickings, they were — the Texans, not the caribou.

But as a Canadian, I’ve also fielded my share of awkward questions, most often in relation to my country of origin and its relationship with its ancestral United Kingdom. To summarize: no — we don’t send tax dollars to the queen anymore. And no — I couldn’t give a rip about Harry and Meghan. But when it comes to contextualizing Canada’s relationship with the UK, I often find myself quoting Robert Frost, who was himself quoting an Englishman, when he said, “Canada ripened off the tree — you fell off green!”

Digital Transformation ERP System Upgrades

Not to get too mired in post-modern discussions on post-colonialism, I will admit that I’ve long held onto my commonwealth membership card over the years, pulling it out whenever it was useful. One such case was the matter of Doctor Who. As part of my cultural inheritance, I was rather fond of that man of manners and madness. As a child, I remember wanting a characteristic Doctor Who scarf for my birthday almost as much as that red Michael Jackson leather jacket that was also popular at the time — the one with all the zippers… ah… the 80s…

ERP System Time Travelers

So when I heard that the latest rendition of the “The Doctor” was on the precipice of a regeneration into a new incarnation, it seemed fitting that my mind would wander into the dimension of digital transformation, and pluck a few parallels where they hung out in front of me. For all you time-travelers out there, the EstesGroup has helped countless companies over the years transition ERP systems that were 40+ years old — systems that go back to the Tom Baker era, if anyone is keeping track. For such companies, the shift from a character-based system to a contemporary ERP is enough to tear a hole in a company’s fabric of time. But what does that mean for a company facing such a change?

System Regeneration

Digital transformation is like a regeneration in the Doctor Who series. ERP systems are a new incarnation of the Doctor — they come into being, replacing their predecessors. They go on adventures, solve problems, and take their companion companies to unexpected places. And in so doing, they amass monumental amounts of experience and ingenuity, and ultimately encapsulate the worldview of the time in their rows and their columns.

The worldviews themselves amount to the business requirements of the organization, as they relate to the system in question. Worldviews are not fixed in time, and evolve gradually, as the system is further modified, fine tuned, reconfigured, and integrated with other systems. While this worldview continually changes, the changes are rarely as abrupt as a new body fitting an old suit. 

A migration to a new ERP system, on the other hand, amounts to a much more radical shift in worldviews. The challenges really have to do with the wisdom and knowledge that is bundled up inside the legacy system, and with finding a way to translate that information into the new ERP system without compromising the integrity of the new system.

Don’t blink — it’s no easy task. In this context, the question you must ask yourself relates to how you approach a regeneration, knowing that it must happen. This might be a good time to lean on the good Doctor for assistance. Fortunately, there are several of them from which to choose:

You might approach the needed changes in the spirit of the Tenth Doctor and simply exclaim “I don’t want to go!” That is, you can fight the new system and cling to the old, as it slips away, like breath on a mirror.

Or you might approach an impending regeneration in the spirit of the Eleventh Doctor, understanding that “times change and so must I.” That is, you can get ahead of the transition and maximize the time you have, to remember as much of the legacy system as possible, such that it is not forgotten in the new system. 

The truth is, regardless of your reaction, some form of digital transformation is inevitable. Any moment now, he’s a’ comin’.

I’ve had many customers migrate simply because the current state was no longer tenable: ancient hardware, out-of-date operating systems, applications lacking the faculties to keep up with the current needs of the business, much less lead them into the future.  

I‘ve also seen customers delay a regeneration until the 11th hour, or a minute before midnight, and have thus dragged into a transformation without preparation. When it comes to transformation, preparation is key. Good preparation allows you to understand the business requirements that underly your legacy system. This gives you a better chance of incorporating your requirements into your new system, without trying to forcibly alter the new system to mirror the old.

In working with system implementations, one comes to understand that over the course of a company’s existence, systems change. And that’s ok, that’s good. You’ve got to keep moving, so long as your system remembers all the systems that it used to be.  

We all wish that our digital transformations would have an orchestral accompaniment as the universe sings our legacy systems to their sleep. The truth is, you have to provide the soundtrack. And that soundtrack is a manifestation of the attitude you bring into your system’s story. The song of your legacy system is ending, but the story of your organization never ends — as long as time passes really slowly, in the right order, and the next season does not get cancelled.

Are you seeking an ERP system or technology update?

Talk to our consultants now to begin a conversation that will make your system sing. Get help now with business processes, ERP implementation, digital transformation initiatives and digital transformation strategy. Ready for digital transformation in ’22 style? Go cloud, and get ERP business consulting experts for time-consuming hard and soft digital technology upgrades. Create the ultimate user and customer experience with new cloud computing platforms, without losing historical data. Meet customer expectations by combining a new version of your ERP solution with cutting-edge technology and optimized control over both the data migration process and migrated data. Hoping to use a newer version of your software to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic? Use cloud hosting technology to compete with the best of digital businesses, incorporating third-party integrations easily, to maximize machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other cloud-based digital transformation services.

P21 Integrations: Best Practices & Lessons Learned

P21 Integrations: Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Epicor Prophet 21 System Software Integrations

The most challenging part of a Prophet 21 migration are the P21 integrations. For many companies, third-party integrations are a necessary component of their P21 ecosystem. Compared to many ERP applications, Prophet 21 has been highly reliant on third-party software to round out the functionality necessary to support the needs of many Epicor customers. 

With this necessity comes the challenge of integration. Third-party solutions differ in their integration strategies, and depending on the P21 version and the architecture of the bolt-on, one of many integration strategies may be employed.

P21 Software Integrations Futuristic Technology Retail Warehouse: Worker Doing Inventory Walks when Digitalization Process Analyzes Goods, Cardboard Boxes, Products with Delivery Infographics in Logistics, Distribution Center

Seamless Integrations 

Speaking of architecture, historically speaking, the P21 application traditionally possessed a two-tier architecture, with the P21 desktop application acting as a fat client, talking directly to the P21 database layer. In the absence of a Prophet 21 middleware or application server layer, third-party applications, out of necessity, interacted with the P21 application at the database level. 

Logical Business Logic

Only over the past several years has the Prophet 21 ERP expanded to include an application server layer, known as the P21 middleware server. This allows for a new layer of P21 integrations. These integrations can speak to the P21 application at the application server level, or even at the API level over the web. But for customers yet to migrate to P21’s three-tier architecture, or customers with legacy integrations that are not yet API-compliant, these new opportunities are still a work in progress.

The combination of a two-tier architecture and a “best-of-breed” approach to functionality resulted in a significant number of integrations speaking to the database directly. This was the case whether the applications in question were external applications conversing over a given communication protocol, installed applications functioning through Windows scheduled tasks or ongoing services, or installed directly into the Prophet 21 database, through a combination of SQL Server stored procedures and scheduled jobs. Add the middleware server, the web-based and hybrid clients, and the expiring legacy desktop application to this already-complicated situation, and the plot thickens.

Custom Development, Access, Control

Not surprisingly, access and control are critical to a Prophet 21 installation, if you intend to integrate your P21 ERP with a family of third-party applications. That is why our private cloud hosted architecture has been such a great fit for P21 customers, removing the challenges of on-premise installations while retaining the full functionality of the P21 application, and a hybrid cloud integration platform that can support third-party integrations at any level. 

P21 Software Integration Worries, Care

All said, customers come to us with many questions regarding their Prophet 21 software and its integration environment:

  • What is the best way to integrate an application with the P21 environment? 
  • How much programming is required? 
  • If my third-party vendor only integrates over the REST API layer, what do I need to do to make this work? 
  • If I’m implementing a solution that has multiple integration layer options, which layer should I choose? 
  • What about home-grown apps? 
  • Are there security concerns? 
  • How many holes do I need to punch in my firewall? 
  • With all these options, what are my best options for Prophet 21 server care? 
  • How bolted-on should a bolt-on be?

How EstesGroup Can Help

As a company whose specialty is the migration of the P21 customers into private cloud environments, and integrating their entire P21 ecosystems, we’ve learned many lessons in the trenches. On May 11th, at the P21 Midwest User Group meeting, EstesGroup’s Daryl Sirota and Chris Koplar will be discussing Prophet 21 integrations, and some of the best practices and lessons learned, as they relate to Prophet 21 integrations. Bring your integration questions and we’ll tell you everything we know when it comes to creating a seamless hybrid cloud environment.

Prophet 21 Midwest User Group Meeting – May 11th

The P21 Midwest User Group meeting starts on May 11th, at 9:00. The event will be held at the following location:

Lee Mathews, a Cogent company

4525 NW 41st St, Suite 400

Riverside, MO 64150

 Are you a member of the P21 Midwest User Group and interested in attending? If so, contact Joseph Babbit ([email protected]) and spread the word!

Need help with Epicor Prophet 21 or general ERP system management, business processes, supply chain management, customer relationship management, or other key P21 challenges? Chat with us now to get real-time help with your P21 system, or fill out the form below, and our ERP experts will be in touch with you soon.

 

Putting Your Software Testing Strategy to the Test

Putting Your Software Testing Strategy to the Test

Testing is the process that should use the most time in any software implementation. Why test? You selected this software and, of course, it should process transactions, shouldn’t it? Start testing, and some surprises will be exposed.

Software Testing ERP Implementation

Testing basics, testing methods

To begin, you’ll need a testing team and a test suite. Form small teams of people from each discipline. The team leader will be from your implementation team and the remaining people will be on loan from the various functional groups. Select those people with care. They will become your “super user” core of trained people who will help others in their groups use the new software.

Pick any single-step transaction. Accounting might try a simple debit – credit journal entry. Customer service might enter a new sales order. Document the transaction: what general ledger account will you debit and which one gets the credit and how much money? What customer will place the order, what product will they buy, what is their purchase order number, and how much money is the order for?

Go to the transaction screen in the software and enter the transaction. Then enter the results in a log. If the transaction works as expected, record a green result. If the transaction completely fails, record a red result and note why it failed or why you think it failed. Sometimes the result will be yellow as it completed successfully but you found some kind of unexpected caution that probably should be corrected.

Corrective actions

The failure of a test could be a problem in the data loading. Maybe the general ledger you wanted to debit was not in your system. Try to figure out why and ask the data conversion group to correct the situation. When they make the fix, process your test again and now you might get a green result.

An unsuccessful test result could come from a failure in your training. You thought you could enter that new sales order but you need to read the instructions again.

There are many configuration settings in any system and these will affect test results. That sales order test failed because the customer you chose was limited to only buying products in a certain line and you chose a product that customer was not authorized to buy. The data team might have made an incorrect assumption which can be corrected. Their assumption might have been correct based on some other condition you were unaware of. Often more than one setting can be adjusted to yield the results your business needs. Keep the conversation going until a satisfactory result is found.

Test again and again

You performed a test today and gave it a green result. Tomorrow the same test was not green. People from across your business are performing tests in their functional groups and you will find the change they requested to fix their test inadvertently affected your test. This is normal. Your business is complex and the relationships within are also complex. Work through these changes and find what works for your entire organization.

More complex testing

As the single transactions become successful, begin to expand the testing to a series of transactions. You can receive the purchase order, now can you also see the product adding to your inventory and then can you pay your supplier? Late-stage testing might go from receipt of a customer order through producing the order, shipping the order, and collecting the payment.

Automated testing

Manual testing might not be the more cost-effective use of your technology staff’s time. Fortunately, AI-driven types of testing are now available at low cost. Software that can robotically reproduce tests is available and affordable. After the fifteenth time a group runs the same test, boredom begins. The test robot never gets bored. You had nothing but green for those fifteen tests. But only after the 115th test was there a failure because someone made a change. The robot will keep testing all day and night until you turn it off.

Even setting up and monitoring automated testing tools can be time consuming. Begin to formulate the best testing strategy for your business by fully assessing any system software in use.

There are many types of software performance assessments available to your business. EstesGroup’s IT experts are available for everything from basic operating system testing to full audits of your system. Our software testers and project managers can provide continuous testing services and external support when you need it: functional testing, exploratory testing, integration testing, unit testing, system testing, and more. Schedule a software assessment today to begin a conversation about how testing, checking, and testing your software again can help your business.

Ready to test your software in the cloud?

Attend an EstesGroup “Cloud Stories” webinar to learn about customer software journeys.

Click here (or on the video below if the presentation doesn’t automatically play) to watch a webinar on cloud options for ERP software.

Cloud Migrations: “Lift & Shift” vs. “Build-from-Scratch”

Cloud Migrations: “Lift & Shift” vs. “Build-from-Scratch”

EstesGroup is excited to announce that we are sponsoring Third Stage Consulting Group’s Digital Stratosphere event on February 8th – February 10th, 2022. 

Digital Stratosphere Graphic Third Stage Consulting EstesGroup

“Lift & Shift” vs. “Build-from-Scratch” Cloud Strategies

Our keynote presentation at Digital Stratosphere 2022 is based on conversations with our customers who are looking for the best way to move to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure or from a different cloud environment. We hope to help businesses struggling to understand their future in cloud-based deployments of their applications and data. With our years of experience assisting complex manufacturers and distributors with IT infrastructure and cloud migrations, EstesGroup builds the best custom private and hybrid cloud hosting solutions for any business ready to take on the challenge of implementing new technology.

Moving How, Moving Where?

Are you wondering how to move your data, your history, and your business applications to a cloud computing platform? Or, are you wondering how to move from one cloud to another? Any IT infrastructural shift you take results in what is known in the industry as a cloud migration. The options in choosing a cloud computing service model are varied. You have to factor everything in, from the timbre of your cloud adoption culture to the state of your computing resources.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

In an IaaS environment, the customer procures resources from a cloud provider and is responsible for provisioning and configuring servers, and responsible for the installation, configuration and maintenance of the operating system and application layers. The provider maintains the underlying data center architecture and cloud infrastructure, and the customer assumes all subsequent duties. 

In an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) context, a customer purchases services from a cloud computing company, then uses these services to provision the necessary virtual machines to build out the cloud ecosystem.

Within this ecosystem, the customer would subsequently install the necessary operating systems, the database management systems and the ERP applications themselves. The customer is responsible not only for installation and configuration of their specific cloud ecosystem, but also for its ongoing maintenance and the maintenance of any third-party integrations.

As you can see, Infrastructure as a Service bears the most similarity to an on-premise data center in that it places the most responsibility for the management of the ecosystem on the customer, which would require the internal roles to administer the network, the database, and the application itself. But unlike on-premise installations, and their colocation counterparts, the resources benefit from the scalability of a cloud infrastructure, and are able to dial in their needs accordingly. 

Additionally, the customer would be responsible for constructing and managing any third-party integrations with the core enterprise systems in place. With this comes the cost benefits of a consumption-based model. From a control standpoint, customers benefit from the ability to define and manage their third-party integrations in a manner that is tailored to the needs of their organization.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

In a PaaS environment, the provider provisions and manages the underlying architecture, and this platform provides the foundation upon which customer applications are installed and operated. In an ERP context, a customer working with a managed hosting provider could provision virtual machines, install and configure the operating system and database management systems, and then install and configure the ERP system on the pre-established platform.

Cloud Migrations Estes Cloud Services

The maintenance of the platform is the responsibility of the provider, while the ongoing maintenance of the ERP solution may be the responsibility of the customer or the provider, depending on the relationship that has been established between them. As such, within the PaaS model variants exist which allow customers to control various elements of the cloud ecosystem while outsourcing other elements to the cloud provider. Depending on the support gradient, the provider may be responsible strictly for the management of the operating system and database, allowing the customer to control the installation and administration of the application.

In most enterprise system scenarios, the cloud provider will provide additional support, managing the application’s server-side administration, allowing the client to focus on the functional administration of the application, such as user access and permissions within the ERP system itself.

Depending on the capabilities of the cloud provider and the needs of the customer, the provider may also provide these functional needs. Additional administrative effort may similarly be divided across third-party applications that are integrated with the primary system. Given the different tiers of service, providers can tailor their pricing models to meet the specific needs of the specific customer.

In terms of scalability, the cloud provider addresses resource expansion and retraction needs, should they arise. This flexibility is often defined in the agreements themselves. In terms of seasonal usage changes, for instance, the costing implications of cyclical resource changes can be managed in a manner similar to an IaaS model.

Software as a service (SaaS)

In a SaaS environment, the customer consumes the application directly from the software vendor in most cases unless the SaaS code has been sub-licensed to others. The application is deployed to a cloud environment, and the provider is entirely responsible for the management of the entire cloud ecosystem.

In an ERP context, a customer could purchase a monthly license (usually based on “seats”) to a cloud-based ERP system and interact with the system through a web-enabled client, like a browser window. The customer never experiences the underlying infrastructure, or even the underlying application server itself, but only interacts with the application on a client basis.

Enterprise systems built upon a SaaS platform tend to have limited customization capabilities when compared to their on-premise counterparts. The emphasis here is on configurability in the place of customizability, with a customer bending its processes to fit within the parameters of the system configuration. Some customers benefit from a subscription-based model that bundles the cost of the application licensure and its underlying infrastructure into a single monthly cost.

Whose operating system are you sitting on? The most public of cloud-native platforms, SaaS applications provide a public cloud service. Amazon Web Services might come to mind as an everyday example of public cloud environments. An off-premises data center processes your business interactions in a park-like setting, with communication coming and going from businesses that are operating in the same cloud environment, which is supported by a large, and often global, corporation.

Types of Cloud Service are as Varied as Cloud Service Models

The choices are divergent, as are their implications to the implementing organization. Once a service model has been chosen, the implementation strategy can have a significant impact on the project’s timeline, budget, and scope.

That is to say, migrating to the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and most companies migrating to the cloud normally face a choice between two options. On the one hand, they can opt to lift their existing on-premise platform and shift it wholesale to a cloud instantiation. On the other, they can choose to rebuild and reconfigure the new cloud platform from the ground up. The differences between the two approaches are significant, and a company should carefully consider the implications when approaching a cloud migration.

Cloud Migrations and Digital Transformation: Rations and Reasons

Reasons for cloud migrations are also nuanced. Companies tend to focus on security and compliance, flexibility and adaptability, and pricing when planning for a move to PaaS, IaaS, or SaaS.

Digital Stratosphere is the perfect cloud-based realm to explore your business strategies. Digital Stratosphere is a free virtual event designed for organizations about to embark on any digital strategy or transformation initiatives. Cloud migrations are the ultimate transformation for companies of all sizes and in all industries, and Third Stage Consulting Group’s online events provide the space to freely explore future possibilities.

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