Companies across South Africa and the world are discovering that cloud computing is a pretty neat way to procure the services necessary to do business. Cost consistently comes up as the primary advantage of cloud solutions – but they have many benefits beyond the price tag. Not only do cloud services solve problems for businesspeople, they also address common gripes for those tasked with managing the IT department. When it comes to Enterprise Resource Planning in the cloud, it makes administrators’ lives (and those of users) a whole lot easier, writes Viesturs Zalaiskalns, channel manager at HansaWorld South Africa.
Check out these top five headaches for which cloud ERP is a handy aspirin:
* Automatic updates – Ask any IT administrator how much they love updating applications. The chances are great that you’ll get a scowl and potentially a few choice words, too. With cloud computing, updates are continuous, happen in the background and typically require no intervention from staff or administrators. That happens with nearly all cloud applications; HansaWorld Standard ERP takes it a step further with an exclusive technology which allows zero-downtime upgrades: users keep working as per normal and the next time they log on, they’re on a new version. Simple as that.
* System set up for new staff – A growing business should be good news for all and not the nightmare for IT administrative staff it once was with old, on premise systems. Adding more users is easy with a cloud ERP solution – just sign them up, provide them with services required and away ahead they go. Business shrinking? If it does, your cloud ERP system can adjust and scale downwards to accurately meet the new requirements.
* Remote, version independent support – Getting support once took quite some time, particularly if the vendor had to first establish just which version and customisation package your ERP system was on. This seemingly simple information routinely took hours or even days to convey, depending on how hands-on the administrator is with your ERP package. With dated versions, configurations can be difficult to ascertain particularly if the operating system used by support staff is different to that used by the customer. That’s out the window with modern cloud ERP systems: at the click of a button, the complete configuration information is made available to support personnel. The only limitation is the speed of the internet connection.
* Automated resource warnings and allocation – Server running out of memory? Additional hard drive space required? Processing power under pressure? These are the sorts of things which would once spark a crisis for administrative staff. It would also mean business interruption and lead to potentially large and unexpected costs. Cloud computing puts additional resources within reach on demand; automated alerts provide early warnings and resources can be ramped up or down depending on your requirements at any given time. You can even access, for example, high speed disk for several hours to address a spike in demand – and go back to regular disk once it’s passed.
* No hassle, no cost access to new features – In the old days, what you bought was what you got, end of story (or at least, until the end of the contract). On the one hand, that meant features which it turned out you didn’t need, were there, bought and paid for, regardless of use. On the other, it meant if you were keen to try out business intelligence, or CRM, or any other module, you’d need to be pretty sure about it, because once bought, it stayed bought. With cloud solutions, you get to try things out for free. You also get to change your licensing on the fly depending on what is and what isn’t adding value to your business.
Cloud solutions are quickly becoming the de facto method of providing companies with the services they need to do business. More secure, more flexible and more affordable, it’s just a better way of doing things for these five and a great many more good reasons.