For a long time, ERP has had something of a reputation for being the last thing organisations want to touch when it comes to moving their IT to the cloud. Whether for reasons of security, stability or integration, it’s something most companies have kept right where it is – even as the adoption of other cloud-based software becomes near ubiquitous.
As an example, a 2015 survey by Hitachi Solutions Europe found that fewer than one in three organisations (31%) had moved “all or part” of their ERP functionality to the cloud – and, of the remainder, just 30% planned to follow suit within the next 24 months.
Most ERP vendors see this as a major opportunity. Epicor, for example, used the recent release of Epicor ERP 10.1 to draw attention to its own cloud agenda and the growing “cloud-first” orientation of its software. Citing a Gartner report on organisations’ “growing confidence” in the use of cloud for core business applications, it said: “This is in line with the growth we see in our Cloud ERP profile across the board, and especially in the manufacturing sector.”
So, when the time comes for your next ERP upgrade, should you choose the cloud over on-premises infrastructure? Or should you continue to use your own internal resources? Epicor’s flexible delivery options make either route possible – all that matters is you choose the solution that’s right for your business.
Here are some of the factors you might want to consider along the way:
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of moving an application like ERP to the cloud is cost. There are several reasons the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a cloud solution is lower than on-premises infrastructure, including:
Capex vs opex: There’s an enormous upfront cost involved in setting up or expanding an in-house data centre. The cloud, on the other hand, is paid for on an opex, rather than capex, basis.
Running costs: With a cloud solution, the day-to-day costs of running your servers – including power, cooling, backup, rolling out software updates, repairing or replacing hardware – are absorbed by the cloud provider.
Scalability: The cloud makes it easy to scale capacity up and down practically in real time, saving you costs when you grow or are underutilising your hardware.#
There’s recently been a complete reversal in the perceived security of cloud solutions. Back in the day, one of the most common reasons for dismissing cloud was the notion that third-party and multi-tenant environments made organisations more vulnerable to data breaches. Now, there’s more of a tendency to see cloud as a security advantage, not a disadvantage.
Thanks to economies of scale, stringent SLAs and pressure from their customers to comply with various regulations and industry standards, many cloud providers can offer a higher level of security than organisations would be able to achieve alone. For some companies, this will be a key selling point for cloud-based ERP software.
Lastly, thanks to features like web access, a cloud-based Epicor ERP 10 implementation allows a higher degree of mobility and remote access than traditional on-premises ERP. This can be of enormous value in sectors like manufacturing, where shop floor and logistics staff might wish to access ERP data via smartphones and handsets rather than office-based workstations.
And, in The Top 10 Reasons Epicor Clients Choose the Cloud, Epicor notes: “Cloud deployment brings the opportunity to redefine many of your legacy business processes and workflows in a way that leverages these more open, connected, instantaneous integration paths.
“For example, employing inexpensive handheld technologies across the company can drive improved efficiency, enhanced insights, and increased accuracy to your decision-making processes.”