What are the benefits of cloud ERP?

In recent years, cloud computing has been heralded as the next big thing in technology. With cloud ERP, it’s not only the small and midsize enterprise (SME) that can benefit from on-demand software solutions. Even large companies are jumping on the bandwagon to take advantage of the benefits of cloud ERP.

There are a number of factors that businesses need to consider when creating a strategy for transitioning from legacy ERP systems to next-gen solutions. While the solution’s capabilities and features/modules may be critical, it’s also important to take time to evaluate the deployment option itself.

Cloud ERP is a model of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software deployed as a hosted service over the Internet. This generally includes the use of cloud computing resources and is often delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

Cloud ERP is a cloud computing solution for ERP, used or accessed by users through a web browser. It is similar to SaaS ERP, except that SaaS is a subset of cloud ERP.

Cloud ERP can be thought of as a middle ground between on premise software and SaaS ERP.

By itself, the cloud doesn’t solve all of your company’s problems. But cloud ERP can reduce your up-front and ongoing costs and allow you to focus your technology resources on improving your business.

If you’re looking for a way out of outdated or underperforming legacy ERP systems, here are five benefits of cloud ERP for you to consider.

Lower capital requirements to access innovation

With traditional on-premises systems, when you invest in new technology, you pay for it up front. Then, as your company grows and requires more computing power, you often have to pay again to upgrade to more hardware.

The initial cost of cloud technology is lower than on-premise technology. Cloud-based applications can reduce upfront costs for companies that would otherwise have to invest in physical hardware and software.

Built in Disaster Recovery

Nobody wants to think about disasters happening to their businesses. But they can happen, and it’s smart to be prepared.

The latest cloud ERP software enables you to recover your business operations quickly after an interruption if your physical site is destroyed or suffers serious damage. That’s because the entire system operates on multi-geo locations, which means if one data centre goes offline due to an unexpected phenomenon, you’ll still have full access to your ERP system.

Scalability

 Scalability is a huge feature of cloud software: it allows you to grow without taking the risk of over-investing at the beginning. A lot of the time, small businesses don’t know what their future holds. They can be constrained by loyalty to an on-premises solution, which locks them into a certain number of users and upgrades that they might not need.

Automatic upgrades

Upgrading your software can be a complicated process. With traditional on-premises systems, you typically need to hire a team of IT professionals to perform the upgrades — a process that can take weeks or months.

With cloud ERP, your software upgrades automatically when new features are added. As a result, you can spend less time managing upgrades and more time growing your business.

 Fewer infrastructure costs (technical requirements)

Another benefit that keeps popping up is the non-reliance on infrastructure. As a cloud ERP solution is a web-based service, you don’t need to worry about installing and maintaining servers or software. You also don’t need to worry about setting up database connections and other technical requirements. That means you can focus more on improving your business performance.

In summary:

There are several benefits of cloud ERP with the primary benefits being scalability and cost.

  • The cloud provides significant savings in hardware, software and other infrastructure compared to on-premise software
  • Additionally, with hosted ERP, an organization can implement the vendor’s entire suite of applications. This minimizes the need to implement and integrate another application at the back end.
  • Cloud-based ERP enables greater collaboration, better communication and faster response times. Organizations can collect data in real time, which allows them to react quickly.
  • Hosted ERP moves the responsibility for maintenance and upgrades to the cloud vendor. This simplifies and streamlines IT operations.
  • With a cloud-based ERP strategy, an organization’s ERP environment has built-in disaster recovery, which means the organization can proceed through regular business operations, even during a disruptive event.

Looking for more information? Visit our dedicated SAP Business One Cloud page here

SAP Business One in the Cloud: Interview with Cloud Provider Ancar-B

What does SAP Business One in the Cloud have to offer your business? Find out from Cloud Provider Ancar-B in this short Interview.

Ancar B Technologies is a UK based supplier of IT Services and Solutions, ranging from business critical support to infrastructure and hosted solutions.

One area of Ancar B’s specialism is hosted services in the cloud.  Looking at how it does this for hosting SAP Business One business management software for SMEs, Richard Payne Ancar B’s Sales Manager tells us more:

 

Q: In brief, how does SAP Business One in the cloud work?

A: We provide the infrastructure for ERP providers like Signum Solutions to be able to offer businesses ‘Software as a Service’ packages.  This means that rather than buy expensive servers, we are able to run their IT infrastructure for them, for a much smaller monthly fee.

 

Q: What would an SME need to do to set this all up?

A: Just let us know how many users are required for applications. For instance, how many SAP Business One users there are.  We then factor in the cost of Windows, SQL and Remote Desktop licenses and send a quotation, which includes a Set-up fee.  If we get the go-ahead we set up the virtual server and send the user log-in details.  All that users then need to do then is to click on a desktop icon and log-in using a username and password.

 

Q: With SMEs in mind, what would you say are the top 3 benefits that SME businesses realise by hosting SAP Business One in the cloud?

A: Firstly a lower capital expenditure.  Money for IT infrastructure can move to the operational budget where it can be better spent!

Secondly, as a virtual platform, the service we provide is easily scalable – expand or contract users in line with business needs.

Thirdly would be remote working.  Users can access their data in the cloud absolutely anywhere that has an internet connection.

Fourthly I’d also say the type of server infrastructure that we use to run the cloud on.  Ours server/cloud infrastructure is located in a Data Centre that is ISO7001 certified, which means that we have extremely high levels of security, backup and fire safety.

Overall, I would say the top benefits are finance, flexibility, security and remote working access.

 

Q: What do SMEs generally worry about the most when considering whether to make the move to cloud or not?

A: Usually the security aspect.  However, our servers at Ancar-B are controlled by secure VPNs (virtual private networks) and have a very, very powerful Webscreen firewall to prevent hacking.  It’s far more secure than even a really good, in-house server would be.

Q: How does paying for SAP Business One in the cloud work?

A: There are charges for various licenses: SAP Business One licenses, remote access licenses, SQL licenses and Microsoft licenses.  We then factor in our support costs, which includes UK based, personalised high quality support from 9-5 and also out of hours if necessary.  Finally, we charge a nominal fee for the cost of resources used to host users’ data on the cloud, which covers things like electricity and bandwidth.  This is then all combined into one monthly fee.

 

Q: Do SMEs need to budget for anything else other than SAP licenses and hosting charges?

A: Yes, I’d recommend a decent business class router from the location that users will be connecting from, plus a reasonable internet connection using ADSL2, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Ethernet First Mile (EFM).  They would obviously also need to budget for PCs, laptops or tablets to use and connect to the cloud.

 

Q: What do SME users tend to think the negatives to working with the cloud are?  And how do you help allay these fears at Ancar B?

A: Connectivity is something that people are often a bit worried about.  At Ancar-B we don’t just give users a log-on, we provide a much more tailored service.  If a business was having trouble getting online we would diagnose any issues and recommend better solutions for getting online.  Alongside our UK based support teams, we are also slightly different to other cloud providers in the way that we are able to host lots of applications.  If a user has been told that they can’t host a certain application, such as SAP Business One, on the cloud then our bespoke solutions can help to make it happen.

 

Q: What would you say are the top 3 considerations SMEs need to bear in mind when choosing a cloud provider?

A: One would be whether the provider offers a personalised service.  It’s not as simple as giving a user a log-on and leaving them to it sometimes and it’s good to know that you will be well supported by professionals.

Where the data will be stored is also important.  We ensure that our data is stored within the UK and not in foreign countries to ensure avoidance of any data sovereignty issues or falling foul of any overseas legal regulations.

Thirdly, I would say whether the provider can work on a commercial level without blinding you with the technical side of things.  Business owners are generally interested in business benefits; is the cloud going to work better for them, will it work quickly enough and be available are the types of things they want to know.  We take care of the technical side of things without drowning our customers in jargon that they don’t need to know about, by finding out what will work best for them and letting them know just that.

 

Q: Is the cloud suitable for all SME companies?

A: I’d say most.  There are some where it will work, but it isn’t ideal.  Businesses such as architectural practices, where there are lots of CAD design drawings aren’t best to store them within the cloud because the files are large and cumbersome, so take up a lot of bandwidth.  It would be fine for them to use the cloud for email, ERP and CRM systems, but these types of businesses would be best to store high bandwidth documents locally.

 

Q: What would you say are the top 3 indicators that an SME should make the move the cloud are?

A: One would be if there are a lot of remote workers or branches, where money could be saved by not having separate servers, infrastructure and support and where workers could easily access data on the go or from home.

Secondly, if the business is a start-up.  It is a lot cheaper to choose a cloud solution, which can cost as little as £70 per month, rather than pay out for a standard £5,000 on-premise server solution

Thirdly, if a business is expanding steadily or quickly.  We can build a system up to meet the business’ needs really quickly and easily.  Having cloud users is so flexible and by adding more, it’s not going to slow processes down like it would do with a smaller internal server.

 

For more information about how SAP Business One in the cloud can add benefits to your business, contact Signum Solutions on 01244 676 900.