More local companies are migrating their ERP systems to the cloud. But beyond cost and performance, what other benefits are to be had? By adopting the cloud as the environment of choice for ERP in a digitally connected business world, decision-makers can unlock even more value to become competitive.
By Dave Ives, digital advisory executive at Altron Karabina
With the regulatory environment determining how data is captured, stored, accessed, and used, companies are under pressure to ensure compliance. The alternative is facing hefty financial fines and significant reputational damage. At a time when data has been likened to the oil of the digital landscape, not safeguarding it is considered the most egregious sin.
Fortunately, a cloud-based ERP platform such as the one provided in the local Microsoft Azure data centres runs within a highly governed environment. This means decision-makers do not have to worry about their infrastructure or databases.
The cloud offers a fully managed environment for ERP. Therefore, companies can remain focused on meeting their strategic obligations while not having to be concerned about the back-end functionality. And, most importantly, the cloud service provider takes care of the regulatory requirements.
Of course, cloud-based ERP can offer so much more. Data availability and disaster recovery are two critically important elements that provide organisations with the peace of mind required that their sensitive information is safe should the worst happen.
Additionally, accessing this data in the cloud means users can search faster than slower, on-premise systems and the resultant insights can be drawn quicker than before. There is more functionality in the cloud to deliver capabilities such as advanced warehouse management, mobile device integration, and other mobile-centric solutions to access key data irrespective of physical location.
Furthermore, Azure provides the capabilities to hook into Office 365 and build PowerApps for the organisation. These apps can interface directly into the data and extend the use case of ERP throughout the business. Relying on an on-premise environment makes it difficult to develop apps around ERP with the cloud enabling a more efficient way to integrate solutions with data.
The high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities provided by local data centres will also enable organisations to benefit from innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
Advanced functionality brought about by cognitive computing empowers decision-makers to find better insight by applying these methods to data analysis. Product and purchase forecasting become more sophisticated and predictive maintenance becomes possible.
And it is in the latter where significant business value will be delivered. Predictive maintenance can assist organisations to manage their data better and extract more value from it.
Other features that cloud-based ERP can deliver include demand forecasting and planning. It really all revolves around accessing data faster, more effectively, and harnessing the power of HPC to deliver improved insights.
For employees, this environment sees them able to optimise their workspaces whether that be mobile or desktop-based. From a productivity perspective, being able to access data using mobile devices will result in not only a better experience, but a consistent one as well.
This means employees can focus on business value instead of maintaining ERP solutions. It is about leveraging ERP to deliver value and create a better customer experience. This can be done by integrating a customer engagement platform into ERP and delivering additional transactional capabilities for customers.
ERP in the cloud brings countless opportunities for innovation. Instead of having to worry about installing patches or updates, ERP is automatically maintained with new features released as they become available. This ensures minimum disruption on existing processes and result in the business always using the most up to date version of the software.
Ultimately, cloud-based ERP delivers significant business value. Its simplicity, usability, scalability, and dependability ensure an organisation has a platform to grow with the business.