There's no question that small businesses have greatly benefited from today's technology. Ten years ago, many companies would not have considered placing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on a public cloud platform. But now it's a route that more businesses are taking.
Understanding Cloud ERP
Cloud-based computing utilizes the Internet to administer shared computing resources, like disk storage, memory, and processing power to run numerous software applications. Meanwhile, cloud ERP is software that is accessed via the cloud. It uses the Internet to connect to servers that are hosted away from a company's premises. This is in direct contrast to traditional ERP and business productivity software that is generally housed in the company's headquarters.
Benefits of Using Cloud ERP for Small Businesses
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Numerous businesses have turned to ERP solutions to automate their businesses, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular have discovered that cloud-based ERP provides multiple benefits.
- It's more secure: While some companies are admittedly still worried that cloud ERP can render their data vulnerable, more and more companies are placing their trust in cloud security. This is because companies have strict security requirements, which puts cloud ERP providers under pressure to ensure that their technology is always secure.
- It boosts productivity: Small businesses are often concerned that moving to a new technology will disrupt their work. But moving to a cloud-based platform is just a temporary inconvenience and will actually boost productivity in the long run. Cloud ERP is user-friendly and makes it easier for employees to collaborate in real-time. It also eliminates the need to get in touch with other employees just to ask for a single file since everything is accessible. And the less time is wasted on simple processes, the more time is afforded for innovation and improvement.
- Data flow is centralized: Small businesses often develop problems once they start growing and find that the various departments and their data are housed in different areas. For instance, inventory data is kept in one software program while financial information is saved in another. Cloud ERP ensures that every relevant data is in one area, giving all authorized users access to important files and data easily and quickly.
- It's affordable: When it comes to capital outlay, cloud-based programs and data storage cost less compared to implementation and maintenance of an IT system housed on company premises. This holds true even when taking into account the monthly service fee that a company would pay a cloud provider. By doing away with the yearly maintenance fees and just charging per month or per user, cloud ERP becomes more affordable than systems that demand expensive licenses and need constant software and hardware upgrades.
- Businesses become more flexible: Cloud ERP provides the accessibility, mobility, and flexibility that conventional ERPs lack. Since cloud-based ERP is managed offsite and on a system that's always available, management will find that ordering and delegating tasks become simpler and easier.
How to Ensure Cloud ERP Works
Using a new system in your business is admittedly tricky. To ensure that integrating a cloud-based solution will have a positive outcome, companies should start with a dry run before going live. This process includes testing the new cloud ERP system with select employees first and ensuring that they are well trained in using the new system. This will lessen any problems that might appear once there's a change in the infrastructure of the IT system. It also has the dual purpose of revealing which staff members will be free to manage other tasks. Company resources can then be reassigned or internal teams moved to maximize their potential.
Small businesses that are considering using cloud ERP will need a reliable cloud provider and the know-how to optimize the technology's best features. Once the transition to the cloud is successful, a company can enjoy higher productivity, enhanced business processes, and more success.[Featured image via Pixabay]