Businesses owners and managers are reminded every day by marketing messages and in meetings with partners, stakeholders, and employees that technology is the answer to all of their problems.
They are told it will transform their operations, improve productivity and keep them ahead of the competition.
All of this is, of course, true, but the complex and often-confusing reality of embracing specific technology solutions can be overwhelming.
This is particularly true when it comes to the challenge of adopting or upgrading an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Traditionally, ERP systems have been essential for large companies, allowing them to effectively manage production, order processing and inventory, among other tasks. They use it to monitor and administer business resources in every area: revenue, payroll, staffing, materials, customer relationship management (CRM) capacity and more.
But for small- and mid-sized companies, the power and potential of ERP was often considered out of reach due to its cost and complexity.
Today, cloud-based ERP solutions are changing the affordability and operability equations, and companies of all sizes are turning to web-based software solutions to save on upfront costs, simplify implementation and improve reliability. By adopting an ERP system, your company can streamline operations with a single solution that lets you analyze, track and move resources efficiently in every area.
By making that system cloud-based, you can ensure that it is accessible at all times from any location, and that it is easily updated to reflect the latest in software development.
Here is a rundown of some of the benefits of cloud-based ERP.
Because hardware requirements are minimized and there is no need to invest in a firewall, cloud-based systems generally reduce upfront costs. In addition, your company will be better able to forecast and budget, since a monthly subscription fee framework will be set in place when your system is launched.
While you will invest in the planning and design of your cloud-based system, you can carefully control set-up costs by working with technology experts who understand how to customize the platform for your specific business needs. By implementing only the software solutions that you need, whether it is inventory, revenue, payroll or CRM, you can create a targeted and cost-efficient program.
In addition, cloud-based systems require less maintenance — another avenue towards savings. They also can be constantly and easily updated to reflect that latest advancements, boosting ROI by removing the need to regularly purchase expensive software.
Flexibility and disaster protection
Cloud-based software can be accessed from any location, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Direct remote access means you can check and review important data on the go, giving you flexibility and options in the way you run your business.
It also affords a layer or protection in the event that your central business location is affected by a natural disaster. If you are located in a region that is prone to hurricanes or wildfires, for instance, you can be certain that your data is always backed up on the cloud, and you can arrange for your operations to move to alternative, temporary locations much more easily. You and your staff can work from home, or from multiple off-site locations; as long as you have an internet connection, you’re in business.
Along with the operational software, the security provided by cloud-based ERP is constantly updated. As a result, it always reflects the latest threats and protections.
A security breach can be costly for your company’s bottom line and its reputation; Symantec reports that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. By having the latest security resources offered by an established provider, you are locking in place long-term benefits for your company and your customers.
The move toward cloud-based software is gaining tremendous momentum with organizations of all sizes. In the next few years, it is likely that most businesses will be migrating to the cloud. Make sure to keep your company ahead of the curve – and in front of the competition – by exploring the benefits of cloud-based ERP today.
Tony Argiz is chairman and CEO of MBAF and Stuart Rosenberg is president of MBAF’s technology affiliate WhiteOwl.
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