Cloud ERP: The Key Benefits and Leading Solutions for 2023
Looking for the leading cloud ERP software solutions for 2023? We’ve crafted the ultimate resource for you – this all-encompassing guide covers all the bases.
In this article we cover
- What is Cloud ERP Software? Let’s Break it Down for you.
- Best Cloud ERP Systems in 2023
- Benefits of Cloud-Based ERP Software
- Cloud ERP for Small Businesses: Your Unparalleled Advantage
- Cloud ERP for Manufacturing: Empowering Your Production Process
- Cloud ERP Software Modules & Features: The Building Blocks of Business Success
- Head-to-Head Cloud ERP: Popular Comparisons to Help You Choose
- Cloud-Based ERP vs. On-Premises ERP
- Types of Cloud ERP Software: Choosing the Right Fit for Your Business
- Cloud ERP Pricing, Costs & Selection Criteria: Choosing Wisely for Your Budget
- Choosing The Right Cloud ERP System: Your Path to Success Starts Here
- Cloud ERP Implementation: Steps, Best Practices, and Unique Challenges
- Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning Software: Key Concepts and Considerations
- Cloud ERP FAQ
First, there’s some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that there has never been a more diverse and robust selection of Cloud ERP systems available than there are today.
The bad news? Well, it’s the same as the good news! With so many outstanding options, choosing the right one for your business can be overwhelming.
According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global cloud ERP software market is expected to grow from $64.7 billion in 2020 to $130 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 15% during the forecast period.
And with so many solutions, you might feel like pulling your hair out.
For 15 years, we’ve been the ERP software matchmaker for hundreds of businesses, big and small, connecting them with their perfect system. And now, we’re pouring all our expertise into explaining the most crucial cloud ERP concepts for you.
In 2023, most companies we serve preferred a cloud ERP System, ideal for many small and medium-sized companies. However, there are cases where an on-premises ERP system might be a better option. We will also address those scenarios.
So, are you ready? Let us be your co-pilot, navigating you through the cloud ERP skies.
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What is Cloud ERP Software? Let’s Break it Down for you.
In short, cloud-based ERP software is an all-encompassing software system hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed via a web browser.
Picture all your critical resources – finance, supply chain management, manufacturing, and operations – harmoniously managed and linked within one centralized platform, adapted specifically for your business, and accessible from any internet connection.
In contrast, on-premises ERP software is integrated into your company’s servers and computers locally, requiring costly physical storage and ongoing maintenance and accessible only in specific terminal locations. Generally, on-premises ERP software is paid through a hefty, one-time license fee. In contrast, cloud-based software is paid for on a per-user, monthly subscription basis.
How Cloud ERP Works
Cloud-based ERP systems work by hosting the software and data on a cloud service provider’s servers. This enables seamless access to real-time data and essential business tools from any device with an internet connection.
With cloud software, you’re free from handling hardware and server management, software updates, and other infrastructure-related concerns.
Say goodbye to physical servers and hello to flexibility.
Advantages of using Cloud-Based ERP software
Cloud ERP provides businesses with a cost-effective, scalable solution that enables remote access to essential data and tools. With automatic updates and improved collaboration capabilities, your team can work seamlessly from anywhere (including mobile devices). Moreover, robust security measures from cloud providers ensure your business data remains protected and secure.
In a nutshell, cloud-based ERP software streamlines your operations, offering convenience, flexibility, and cost savings. With these benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more of the businesses we serve at Top10ERP.org are moving to the cloud.
Best Cloud ERP Systems in 2023
Let’s explore some of the top cloud-based ERP systems we recommend to businesses.
Each system offers unique features and advantages that cater to different business needs. Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, we’ve got you covered with various software from cloud-based ERP vendors.
First up is Epicor Kinetic, a user-friendly ERP system designed to keep up with the ever-changing manufacturing landscape. Designed for manufacturing, here’s what makes Epicor Kinetic stand out:
- Industry-specific functionality: Epicor tailors its software to meet the unique needs of your manufacturing business.
- User experience: A sleek, intuitive interface makes navigating and using the system a breeze.
- Flexible deployment options: Choose from cloud, on-premises, or hybrid deployment to suit your preferences.
- Mobile access: Stay connected and informed with the Epicor mobile app, which grants you access to crucial data and processes from anywhere.
Epicor Kinetic is perfect for mid-sized manufacturing companies seeking a powerful and easy-to-use system, offering the flexibility to grow with their business.
Next on our list is NetSuite, a versatile and comprehensive cloud-based ERP system that caters to various industries. Here’s why Netsuite is the top-selling cloud ERP system:
- Scalability: NetSuite adapts seamlessly to your business growth with features and modules that can be added or removed.
- Real-time visibility: CFOs love Netsuite’s clear view of business data with real-time dashboards and reporting.
- Customization: Tailor NetSuite to your needs with industry-specific solutions and custom workflows.
- CRM integration: Streamline customer relationship management with a built-in CRM module.
- Global capabilities: NetSuite supports multiple languages, currencies, and tax regulations, which is perfect for businesses with international operations.
NetSuite is ideal for small and mid-sized companies seeking an all-in-one cloud solution that’s both customizable and scalable, allowing them to focus on what matters: growing their business.
Introduced in 2008, Acumatica ERP is a flexible and robust cloud-based ERP solution designed for mid-sized businesses across various industries, including distribution. Here are the reasons why Acumatica is the fastest-growing Cloud ERP system:
- Adaptability: Acumatica ERP can quickly adapt to your business requirements. Its modular structure allows for the seamless addition or removal of features.
- Real-time insights: Obtain a comprehensive view of your business through real-time dashboards and reporting, enabling data-driven decisions.
- Personalization: Customize Acumatica ERP with industry-specific solutions and configurable workflows to fit your unique needs.
- Mobile access: Access your business data on the go with Acumatica’s mobile app, keeping you always connected and informed.
- Integrations: Seamlessly integrate Acumatica ERP with other business applications, including CRM, eCommerce, and project management tools, for a unified ecosystem.
Acumatica ERP is perfect for companies looking for a customizable, flexible, and robust solution that helps them focus on growth and operational efficiency. It’s an excellent choice for companies wishing to replace their outdated premise-based system.
Meet INFOR CloudSuite, a feature-rich and industry-focused cloud solution that supports various business needs. Here’s what makes INFOR CloudSuite stand out:
- Industry-specific: INFOR CloudSuite offers tailor-made solutions for various discrete manufacturing industries, ensuring a perfect fit for your business.
- User-friendly interface: Navigate through an intuitive and visually appealing interface, simplifying day-to-day operations.
- Extensibility: INFOR CloudSuite can be easily extended and integrated with other business applications to create a cohesive ecosystem.
- Analytics: Leverage powerful analytics and reporting capabilities for informed decision-making and improved performance.
- Global reach: INFOR CloudSuite supports multiple languages, currencies, and regulatory requirements for businesses with international operations.
INFOR CloudSuite is an excellent choice for global organizations seeking a cloud-based ERP solution combining industry-specific features, an easy-to-use interface, and comprehensive analytics.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
A robust and integrated cloud ERP platform suitable for small to mid-sized businesses. Here’s what you can expect from Dynamics 365 Business Central:
- Seamless integration: Enjoy smooth integration with other Microsoft applications, such as Office 365, Power BI, and Azure.
- Comprehensive functionality: Manage finances, operations, sales, and customer service all in one place with Dynamics 365 Business Central.
- Scalability: Scale up or down with a flexible and modular architecture based on your business needs.
- Intelligent insights: Access advanced analytics and AI-driven business insights to make data-driven decisions.
- Customization: Personalize your Dynamics 365 Business Central experience with configurable workflows and industry-specific add-ons.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is ideal for all types of businesses looking for a cloud-based ERP solution that integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools and offers comprehensive functionality.
QAD is specifically designed for manufacturing companies by manufacturers. Here’s what sets QAD apart:
- Industry focus: QAD specializes in providing solutions for discrete manufacturing industries, ensuring your business gets the best support.
- Rapid implementation: QAD offers a streamlined implementation process to get your business up and running quickly.
- Flexible deployment: Choose on-premises, cloud, or hybrid deployment options to suit your unique needs.
- Global reach: QAD supports multiple languages, currencies, and regulatory requirements, making it ideal for businesses with international operations.
- Continuous improvement: QAD is committed to ongoing innovation, ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve.
QAD is perfect for manufacturing companies seeking a cloud-based ERP software solution tailored to their specific industry and requirements.
Plex Manufacturing Cloud
Released in 2000, Plex was one of the first cloud ERP systems on the market. Designed to optimize manufacturing operations and featuring all-inclusive pricing, here’s what makes Plex a top contender:
- Manufacturing focus: Plex is built for manufacturers, offering specialized tools and features to support your unique processes.
- Real-time data: Access real-time information on production, inventory, and more, enabling informed decision-making and improved efficiency.
- Shop floor integration: Plex connects your shop floor with your back office, ensuring seamless communication and collaboration.
- Quality management: Maintain high standards with built-in quality management tools that help you monitor and improve production processes.
- Easy integration: Integrate Plex with other business systems for a cohesive, streamlined IT environment.
Plex Manufacturing Cloud is an excellent choice for manufacturers seeking a cloud-based ERP software solution that optimizes production and promotes efficiency.
Oracle Fusion Cloud
Oracle Fusion Cloud is a comprehensive, highly configurable ERP software solution catering to larger businesses. As Oracle’s latest and greatest ERP solution, here’s what Oracle Fusion Cloud has to offer enterprise-level organizations:
- Flexibility: Oracle Fusion Cloud is highly customizable, allowing you to create a solution tailored to your business needs.
- Advanced analytics: Leverage powerful analytics and reporting capabilities to gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.
- Seamless integration: Connect Oracle Fusion Cloud with other Oracle applications and third-party systems for a cohesive and streamlined IT environment.
- Scalability: Oracle Fusion Cloud’s modular architecture ensures it can adapt to your business growth and changing requirements.
- Security: Benefit from Oracle’s robust security measures and compliance features, protecting your valuable data.
Oracle Fusion Cloud is ideal for larger businesses seeking a highly configurable and secure ERP solution that can scale with their growth.
IFS Applications 10
Introducing IFS, a versatile and user-friendly cloud ERP platform that supports businesses across various industries. Here’s what makes IFS shine:
- Comprehensive functionality: Manage finances, supply chain, manufacturing, and more with IFS’s extensive feature set.
- Industry-specific solutions: Benefit from IFS’s industry expertise and tailored solutions, ensuring the perfect fit for your business.
- Mobility: Access IFS on the go with mobile devices, making it easy to stay connected and informed.
- Customizability: Configure IFS to your unique needs with user-friendly customization tools and add-ons.
- Global support: IFS offers multi-language, currency, and regulatory support, catering to businesses with international operations.
IFS Applications 10 is an excellent choice for larger organizations seeking a solution offering comprehensive functionality and industry-specific expertise.
Last but not least, we have S/4HANA, SAP’s newest, most powerful, and most intelligent cloud ERP designed for businesses of all sizes. Here’s what you can expect from SAP S/4HANA:
- Real-time insights: Access real-time data and analytics, empowering you to make informed decisions and optimize business performance.
- Machine learning and AI: Leverage advanced machine learning and AI capabilities to automate processes and gain valuable insights.
- Integration: SAP S/4HANA integrates seamlessly with other SAP applications and third-party systems, creating a unified IT environment.
- Scalability: Adapt to your business growth with SAP S/4HANA’s modular architecture and flexible deployment options.
- Industry solutions: Benefit from SAP’s vast industry knowledge and expertise, with tailored solutions for various sectors.
SAP S/4HANA is an excellent option for small to large businesses seeking an intelligent and scalable cloud ERP platform with powerful analytics and automation capabilities.
Comparing Cloud ERP Systems
As you can see, there’s no shortage of fantastic cloud-based ERP software in 2023. But how do you know which is the perfect fit for your business? That’s where we come in.
We highly recommend trying out our Best Fit ERP comparison tool to compare all these top cloud systems and more. Use the tool to quickly narrow your options and identify the cloud ERP software systems that align with your unique needs.
You can also review the ERP white papers we have available for these vendors here.
Still trying to figure it out? Don’t hesitate to contact us for personalized recommendations.
Our team at Top10erp.org can save you time and help you find the ideal ERP solution to drive your business forward.
Benefits of Cloud-Based ERP Software
The shift of IT spending continues accelerating toward the cloud. A recent study by Gartner indicates more than half of Enterprise IT spending will shift to the cloud in 2025.
The benefits of cloud-based ERP software are numerous and can significantly impact how businesses operate. These are some of the main advantages and reasons we guide our clients to select cloud ERP software when it is the right fit for their business:
More Affordable Up-Front Costs
The initial cost of implementing cloud ERP software is lower than that of an on-premises ERP system because it doesn’t require additional server, infrastructure, or hardware costs. Though you may pay more over time compared with an on-premises system due to perpetual licensing fees, you can expect what you’ll pay over time. You get more flexibility should your system not meet your needs long-term.
Faster to Implement
Because these ERP systems are web-based and require no lengthy, space-hogging installations, they essentially offer plug-and-play functionality. You’ll almost always gain immediate access to the platform when you activate your license. It’s important to note that you’ll still need to spend time on training, customization, and data transfer once you’ve chosen an ERP system. Still, by and large, implementation is speedier on the cloud.
Because Cloud-based ERPs are hosted on the web, they are automatically updated. On the browser, changes can be implemented in real-time, so you always get the latest version of the software without the need for time-consuming updates.
Enhanced security is another crucial advantage of using a cloud-based ERP system. Cloud ERP providers prioritize the security of your business data, investing heavily in state-of-the-art infrastructure and employing strict security protocols to safeguard your sensitive information from cyber threats. By trusting a reputable cloud ERP vendor, your business can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your data is well-protected, enabling you to focus on growth and innovation without worrying about data breaches and cyberattacks.
More Flexibility and Access
Because most cloud-based software is paid via a subscription-based model, it offers more flexibility in terms of growth and access. Need to add more users? Upgrade your subscription to include new licenses. No new hardware or installations are needed, even if you onboarded several new hires. Need to access the software while you’re out of the office? Pull it up on any browser, mobile device, or desktop. Cloud services are always ideal for teams needing remote access and rapid scaling.
We all know that for a company to be successful in the current digital landscape, agility is required, not optional. When you opt for a cloud-based ERP — or any cloud-based software, for that matter — you get next-level flexibility and analytics. This means you can make faster changes in real-time to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your customers, clients, or employees. The software is agile and constantly evolving (often without you even noticing), much like your business.
Cloud ERP for Small Businesses: Your Unparalleled Advantage
Let’s talk about small businesses and cloud enterprise resource planning systems. They’re a match made in heaven, offering the perfect blend of power, flexibility, and affordability.
According to a study by Aberdeen Group, small and medium-sized businesses using Cloud ERP witnessed a 17% reduction in administrative costs and a 13% reduction in operational costs compared to their peers using on-premise solutions.
For small businesses looking to cut costs, cloud-based ERP solutions are a no-brainer.
With robust systems designed to cater to your unique needs, you’ll stay competitive and primed for growth.
So, let’s explore why cloud ERP can be your unparalleled advantage and what you should consider when choosing the right system:
- The impact of cloud ERP: As a small business owner, you know that efficiency and adaptability are crucial. Enterprise resource planning software streamlines your processes, boosts productivity, and gives you real-time insights, significantly impacting your performance. Plus, with remote access and seamless collaboration, your team can work smarter, not harder.
- Choosing your cloud ERP: When it’s time to pick, keep these essential factors in mind:
- Ease of use: Intuitive and easy to navigate.
- Affordability: Great value that pays for itself in three years.
- Integration: Works well with your favorite tools, such as Shopify and Quickbooks.
- Support: Help when you need it because we all run into issues.
- Features, reviews, white papers, and case studies: Do your homework to ensure the system meets your requirements.
- Top contenders: The best cloud enterprise resource planning platforms for small businesses include Netsuite, Cetec ERP, Global Shop Solutions, JobBoss2, Sage Intacct, SAP S/4HANA, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. These systems are user-friendly, affordable, and packed with features tailored to your growing business.
Investing in the right system unlocks opportunities for your small business. See a side-by-side comparison of the best cloud solutions for small businesses here.
Cloud ERP for Manufacturing: Empowering Your Production Process
For most manufacturing businesses, cloud enterprise resource planning will boost efficiency and streamline operations.
Key features: For manufacturing businesses, a robust ERP solution should cover these essential aspects:
- Production planning and scheduling
- Inventory management
- Bill of materials (BOM)
- Shop floor control
- Quality control and assurance
- Supply chain management
- Real-time data and analytics
Compelling benefits: Implementing cloud ERP in your manufacturing business brings a range of advantages:
- Optimized production processes
- Greater visibility into operations
- Enhanced collaboration across departments
- Efficient inventory management
- Improved cost control and resource allocation
- Quick response to changes in demand
- Better quality and compliance management
With these improvements and added efficiencies, your manufacturing business will reach new heights in operational efficiency and overall performance. Our manufacturing ERP guide covers all top manufacturing ERP systems, including on-premise.
Best Cloud ERP for Specific Industries: Tailored Solutions for Your Niche
Regarding cloud ERP, one size doesn’t always fit all. Different industries have unique needs and challenges, and some systems are built for specific industries, so it’s essential to find a system that caters to the particular demands of your business sector.
Let’s explore some top cloud solutions for various industries, including Steel & Metal Fabrication, Food & Beverage, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, and Distribution:
Steel & Metal Fabrication
An ERP system that supports robust material management, production planning, and quality control is vital for the steel and metal industries. A few top solutions are:
Food & Beverage
The food and beverage sector requires ERP systems with solid capabilities in recipe management, quality control, traceability, and compliance. The following options are worth considering:
The automotive industry relies on efficient supply chain management, production scheduling, and lean manufacturing practices. These cloud ERP solutions excel in meeting those needs:
Aerospace and Defense
For aerospace companies, managing complex projects, strict compliance requirements, and rigorous quality standards is crucial. These ERP systems are designed for this industry’s demands:
Chemical manufacturers need robust solutions to manage formulas, regulatory compliance, and track hazardous material. The following cloud ERP options are tailored to address these challenges:
Robust Distribution ERP software should include specific features for a distributor’s needs. These include inventory tracking and management, kitting and assembly functions, warehousing and logistics, and mobile-friendly access.
Choosing the right cloud ERP software for your industry will empower your business with the tools to excel and overcome challenges. Remember to thoroughly evaluate each option based on your industry’s unique requirements and make an informed decision.
Cloud ERP Software Modules & Features: The Building Blocks of Business Success
Cloud ERP systems have various modules and features catering to different business processes.
Here’s a quick rundown of some standard cloud ERP software modules and features you should know about:
- Materials Management: This module helps you keep track of raw materials, finished products, and inventory levels. Features include material planning, stock control, and procurement to ensure smooth operations and cost control.
- Sales & Order Management: Streamline your sales process with order management, pricing, invoicing, and shipping features. This module helps you manage sales orders, track customer interactions, and ensure accurate and timely fulfillment.
- Financial Management: Stay on top of your business’s financial health with features like general ledger, accounts payable and receivable, cash management, and budgeting. This module ensures regulatory compliance, improves cash flow, and offers real-time financial insights.
- Production Management: Monitor and optimize your manufacturing processes with features like production scheduling, work orders, and shop floor management. This module helps you manage resources, reduce production bottlenecks, and improve efficiency.
- Supply Chain Management: Stay ahead of the competition with better supply chain visibility and collaboration. Features include demand planning, supplier management, and transportation management to help you streamline your supply chain and reduce costs.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Nurture lasting customer relationships with CRM features like contact management, sales automation, and customer service. This module helps you gain valuable customer insights, improve sales, and enhance customer satisfaction.
- Additional Capabilities: Some cloud ERP systems offer extra features like project management, human resources management, artificial intelligence (AI), and business intelligence to provide a comprehensive solution for your business needs.
- Services & Support: Last but not least, look for cloud ERP systems that offer complete services and support, including implementation assistance, training, ongoing maintenance, and customer support, to ensure a smooth transition and maximize the value of your investment.
By understanding cloud ERP software’s various modules and features, you’ll be better equipped to choose the right system that aligns with your business needs and drives growth and efficiency.
Head-to-Head Cloud ERP: Popular Comparisons to Help You Choose
Navigating the world of cloud ERP solutions can be overwhelming. Still, we’re here to help you understand it with some popular head-to-head comparisons. Let’s explore three of the most notable matchups in the cloud ERP arena.
- NetSuite vs. SAP S/4HANA: Both giants in the ERP space, NetSuite and SAP S/4HANA, have their unique strengths. NetSuite shines with its seamless integration capabilities, ease of use, and scalability. On the other hand, SAP S/4HANA excels in areas like customization, advanced analytics, and industry-specific functionality. Consider your business size, industry, and future growth plans to decide which solution suits you best.
- Oracle Fusion Cloud vs. INFOR LN Oracle Fusion Cloud boasts powerful financial and accounting features, advanced business intelligence, and a strong focus on security. NetSuite, now owned by Oracle, is known for its robust suite of applications, user-friendly interface, and flexibility. The choice between these two will largely depend on your organization’s specific needs and priorities, including scalability, industry requirements, and available resources.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central vs. Epicor Kinetic: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers seamless integration with other Microsoft products, a user-friendly interface, and strong support for customization. On the other hand, Epicor Kinetic shines in the manufacturing sector with its deep industry focus, comprehensive features, and advanced analytics. When comparing these two, consider your industry and business size, along with factors like ease of use, integration capabilities, and vendor support.
These comparisons are just a starting point, but they give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of some leading cloud ERP solutions with direct comparisons. By diving deeper into your organization’s unique needs and requirements, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect match. And remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer — what works best for one business may not be the ideal fit for another.
Cloud-Based ERP vs. On-Premises ERP
When shopping for the best enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you’ll come across two deployment options: on-premise and cloud-based. Most vendors offer their system in both options. Understanding the differences between cloud ERP and on-premise ERP and their individual benefits can help ensure that you get the best possible solution for your business needs, no matter your industry, budget, or operational goals. Since almost all of the top manufacturing ERPs offer cloud and on-premise deployment, this will undoubtedly be a decision you must make when selecting new software.
The shift to cloud ERP is a prominent trend. In a 2017 Panorama Consulting study, most companies chose on-premise (67%). In 2022 the majority was adopting cloud ERP (65%). Another growing trend is for businesses with on-premises ERP software to upgrade to a new cloud-based ERP system.
Suppose you currently use a premise-based system and want to upgrade to a new cloud solution. In that case, it’s essential to understand the key differences between cloud ERP and on-premises ERP systems. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each:
- Greater control: With an On-premises ERP, you’ll have complete control over your servers and data, allowing for a high level of customization.
- Data security: Your in-house IT team will manage the security of your servers, giving you peace of mind.
- Higher upfront costs: Purchasing and maintaining your own hardware can be expensive.
- Limited remote access: Accessibility is typically restricted to on-site locations, which could hinder remote work.
- Lower upfront costs: Cloud ERP systems generally have lower initial costs since they don’t require purchasing and maintaining hardware.
- Scalability: Cloud ERP systems can grow with your business, allowing you to add or remove users and features as needed.
- Remote accessibility: Access your data and tools from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Automatic updates: Your system stays current with the latest features and security measures.
- Security: Cloud providers typically employ stringent security measures, but you must trust them to protect your data.
When deciding between cloud ERP and On-Premises ERP, consider factors such as your budget, the need for customization, the level of remote access required, and your need to scale over the next five years.
Types of Cloud ERP Software: Choosing the Right Fit for Your Business
As you explore cloud enterprise resource planning options, it’s essential to understand the different available types, as each has its own benefits and potential drawbacks.
Let’s break down the various types of cloud ERP software deployment models:
In a public cloud ERP, the software is hosted on a cloud provider’s infrastructure and shared among multiple users. This model typically offers lower costs and faster deployment times. Public cloud ERP is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses that seek an affordable, scalable solution with minimal upfront investment.
Private cloud ERP systems offer dedicated infrastructure only your business can access, ensuring enhanced security and control. While these systems deliver higher levels of customization and power, they also come with higher costs and require more maintenance than their public cloud counterparts.
Hybrid cloud enterprise resource planning combines the best of both public and private clouds. It allows businesses to store sensitive data on a private cloud while leveraging public cloud resources for less critical operations. Hybrid cloud ERP is suitable for companies that want the flexibility of both deployment models and have specific security, compliance, or customization needs.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
Cloud ERP is a type of software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS refers to software applications delivered over the internet with a subscription rather than installed locally on a user’s computer or a company’s servers.
You may run into the terms multi-tenant SaaS and single-tenant SaaS. It’s essential to know their meaning.
Multi-tenant SaaS and single-tenant SaaS can both be found within the three primary cloud deployment models: public, private, and hybrid clouds. Here’s how they fit in:
- Public Cloud: Multi-tenant SaaS is more common in public cloud environments. Multi-tenant SaaS applications running on public clouds allow various organizations to use the same application instance, making it cost-effective and efficient. Single-tenant SaaS can also be deployed in a public cloud. Still, each organization would have a separate instance of the application running on dedicated resources.
- Private Cloud: Single-tenant SaaS is more common in private cloud environments. This model provides greater control and customization options for the organization, making it suitable for single-tenant SaaS deployments. However, multi-tenant SaaS can also be deployed on private clouds, although it’s less common and might be used for specific cases where multiple departments or subsidiaries of the same organization need separate instances.
- Hybrid Cloud: In this model, organizations can deploy single-tenant SaaS applications in their private cloud for better control and customization while using public cloud resources for multi-tenant SaaS applications to leverage cost-efficiency and scalability.
Understanding the differences between these enterprise resource planning software types will help you decide which solution is best for your business. Remember your company’s needs, budget, and security concerns as you evaluate your options. We have an additional article to help you with this decision: Choosing the Right ERP Deployment Option for Your Business and Budget.
Cloud ERP Pricing, Costs & Selection Criteria: Choosing Wisely for Your Budget
In many cases, cloud ERP offers a faster ROI. In fact, a study by Nucleus Research found that cloud ERP deployments delivered 2.1x the return on investment (ROI) compared to on-premise deployments. The payback period was 50% shorter for cloud ERP implementations.
When searching for a cloud ERP platform, it’s essential to understand the costs and selection criteria to make an informed decision. Let’s break down some key aspects to consider in your search.
Cloud ERP software has various pricing models for different business needs and budgets. You’ll find subscription-based models (usually charged monthly or annually) and usage-based models that charge based on the number of users or transactions. Choose a pricing model that fits your company’s requirements and growth plans.
Total cost of ownership (TCO)
Don’t just focus on the upfront costs of the software. Consider the total cost of ownership, which includes subscription fees, implementation costs, maintenance, and upgrades. You should also factor in the cost of training employees and any potential downtime during the transition. Analyzing the TCO gives you a clearer picture of your investment’s long-term value.
Other factors to consider when selecting a cloud ERP
It’s not just the costs. You’ll want to weigh these other essential factors when comparing the suitable cloud ERP systems for your business.
Some key considerations include the following:
- Customization and flexibility: Can the software adapt to your industry needs and business processes? Does it require costly customization options to tailor the system to your requirements?
- Scalability: Will the software grow with your business, supporting increased users, transactions, and functionality over time? Will scaling up impact the overall costs of the system?
- Integration: Can the cloud ERP integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and tools, ensuring a smooth workflow and reduced disruption?
- Security and compliance: Does the software EXCEED your industry’s security and compliance standards?
- Vendor reputation and support: Research the ERP vendor’s reputation and the quality of their customer support. Are they responsive and reliable when you need them? Make sure they have many satisfied customers in your industry and sector.
By understanding the costs and carefully evaluating the selection criteria, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect cloud ERP that meets your budget and business needs.
Choosing The Right Cloud ERP System: Your Path to Success Starts Here
How to keep this all straight when making a selection? Selecting the ideal cloud ERP system for your business can be daunting, but with a well-thought-out approach and our help, you can find the perfect fit. We’ll walk you through the essential steps to ensure you make a wise and informed choice, and contact us for free selection help if you need more advice.
- Assessing your business needs: Begin by closely examining your organization’s unique requirements, goals, and challenges. This in-depth analysis will help you understand what you truly need from your cloud ERP software and set the foundation for your search. Include all departments, identify which problems need solutions, and determine what you need in the system.
- Identifying must-have features: With your business needs in mind, list the most critical features and functionalities you need in a cloud ERP platform. Keep the list focused on your core requirements by department to avoid being overwhelmed by endless options.
- Extensively compare systems: You mustn’t limit your list too early, but compare 7 – 10 systems that fit your needs, your business size, and your industry. Compare pricing, capabilities, modules, support, and case studies. We created Top10erp.org to support rigorous comparisons, so please use our decision tools to build and evaluate your shortlist.
- Talk to customers using the system: You must find a system already working for a similar business. Ask for customer case studies and referrals to see how the system works in your industry. Ask if customization is needed, and be sure they have used the system for several years.
- Evaluating ERP vendor support and services: Partnering with a reliable and responsive ERP vendor is crucial for successfully implementing and maintaining your cloud ERP system. Check out user reviews, ask for customer references, and engage with vendors to gauge their commitment to your success. If you buy the system through a VAR (value-added reseller), ensure they excel in support and services. This, too, can be verified by talking with current clients.
Too many businesses are talked into the wrong system for the wrong reasons. To ensure your list of systems to consider has the most reliable and appropriate contenders, use our “Best Fit” ERP comparison tool at top10erp.org to make your decision-making process even more efficient and accurate. By inputting your specific requirements, the tool will generate a tailored list of proven ERP solutions that align best with your needs. This means you start with only the best systems and can narrow further from a vetted list to determine the best ERP for your needs.
Cloud ERP Implementation: Steps, Best Practices, and Unique Challenges
While some aspects are similar to on-premise ERP implementations, cloud ERP has unique challenges and considerations.
Let’s explore the key steps, best practices, and distinctive challenges of cloud ERP implementation.
Key steps in the implementation process:
- Planning: Identify your organization’s specific needs and objectives for the ERP system, and select a reputable provider that offers the features, scalability, and support your business requires.
- Design: Assemble a project team, including IT staff, managers, and end-users, to collaborate on designing a cloud ERP solution that meets your business needs.
- Build: Develop a detailed project plan, set milestones, and monitor progress while building the system. Ensure seamless data migration, system integration, and any necessary customizations.
- Deployment: Train your team on using the new system, thoroughly test it before going live, and make any necessary adjustments. Deploy the cloud ERP and promptly address any challenges, such as user adoption. Assure each department has buy-in and is using the system successfully.
- Ongoing Support and Maintenance: Continuously refine the system to maximize effectiveness, provide user support, and ensure regular software updates for the latest features and security measures. Have all departments routinely meet to discuss how the system works and what adjustments are needed.
Our ERP Implementation guide is also a great resource to dive deeper into this topic.
Unique challenges and considerations of cloud ERP vs. on-premises:
- Data security and privacy: Cloud ERP systems store data in the cloud, making security and privacy concerns paramount. Ensure your vendor has robust security measures and complies with industry regulations.
- Internet connectivity and speed: A reliable and fast internet connection is crucial for smooth cloud ERP operation. Consider your current infrastructure and whether it can support your new system.
- Vendor dependency: With a cloud ERP system, you’ll rely more on your vendor for system maintenance, updates, and support. Thoroughly evaluate your vendor’s reputation, reliability, and support offerings.
By following these steps and best practices while addressing unique cloud ERP challenges, you’ll be well-prepared to make your implementation a success.
Embrace the journey, and soon you’ll reap the rewards of a more efficient, streamlined, and data-driven business.
Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning Software: Key Concepts and Considerations
Getting a handle on the essential cloud ERP concepts is crucial when considering a cloud ERP solution for your business. Being well-versed in these ideas can help you make informed decisions throughout the selection and implementation process. This section will discuss multi-tenancy vs. single-tenancy, data migration, business process re-engineering, security and compliance, and the subscription licensing model.
Data migration: transferring existing data from legacy systems to the new cloud ERP solution. Proper planning, mapping, and validation are critical to ensure a smooth migration and minimize data loss or corruption.
Business process re-engineering:
- Implementing ERP software requires re-evaluating and redesigning existing business processes to optimize workflows, eliminate inefficiencies, and align operations with the new system’s capabilities.
- A successful business process re-engineering initiative requires thorough analysis, clear communication, and stakeholder collaboration.
Security and compliance:
- Ensuring the security and compliance of your cloud software is vital to protect sensitive data and adhering to industry regulations. Understand your vendor’s security measures, such as data encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems.
- Compliance with industry-specific regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) and general data protection standards should also be a priority. Partner with a vendor demonstrating a solid commitment to security and compliance and staying up-to-date with the latest regulations.
- According to a report by Gartner, by 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. While cloud ERP vendors provide secure infrastructure, businesses need to prioritize security and compliance on their end.
- Subscription licensing has become increasingly popular for Cloud-Based ERP solutions, offering a pay-as-you-go pricing model. This approach provides flexibility and predictable costs and eliminates upfront capital expenditure. You’ll typically pay a monthly or annual fee based on your required number of users, modules, or resources.
- While subscription licensing can lead to cost savings and easier budgeting, it’s essential to carefully assess the long-term costs and potential price increases over time.
Cloud ERP FAQ
Below are several common questions surrounding cloud ERP that we hope to clarify.
Why is cloud ERP so popular?
Cloud ERP’s popularity stems from its cost-saving benefits, scalability, and ease of access. Subscription-based pricing, no need for expensive hardware, and IT staff reduction lower costs. Scalability allows companies to adapt to growth or fluctuating demands, while anytime, anywhere access enhances collaboration. Regular updates also ensure the latest features and security measures are always available. Cloud also requires less upfront financial investment.
What is the difference between SaaS ERP and cloud ERP?
SaaS (Software as a Service) ERP and cloud ERP are terms often used interchangeably. Still, there is a subtle difference between the two. SaaS ERP is a specific software delivery model where an ERP system is provided to users through the internet, hosted on a third-party’s servers, usually a cloud service provider. Users access the software via a web browser, and the provider handles software maintenance, infrastructure, updates, security, and data backup. On the other hand, cloud ERP refers more broadly to any ERP software hosted on a cloud computing platform, with access to the system and data via the internet. While SaaS ERP is always cloud-based, not all cloud-based ERP solutions are delivered as SaaS. Cloud ERP can include other delivery models, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), where customers may have more control over infrastructure, software customization, or management aspects. In summary, SaaS ERP is a specific delivery model within the broader cloud ERP category.
How long does it take to implement a cloud ERP system?
The implementation time for cloud ERP software can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your business processes, and the degree of customization required. On average, implementation can take a few months to over a year. Poor implementations can take well over a year. To ensure a smooth and timely implementation, it’s essential to have a well-defined project plan, clear communication, and collaboration with your chosen vendor.
How does cloud ERP affect data security and privacy?
Cloud ERP vendors take data security and privacy very seriously. Most reputable vendors follow industry-standard security practices and comply with global data protection regulations, such as GDPR. They often invest in advanced encryption, firewalls, and secure data centers to protect your data. However, it is essential to evaluate each vendor’s security measures and ensure they align with your organization’s requirements and standards.
What are the ongoing maintenance requirements for Cloud ERP?
One of the benefits of cloud ERP is that the vendor takes care of most maintenance tasks, such as updates, bug fixes, and system upgrades. This means your IT team can focus on other tasks, and you won’t have to worry about managing hardware or software infrastructure. However, it’s essential to work closely with your vendor to understand their support and maintenance services and to communicate any specific needs or customizations you may have.
How do cloud ERP systems handle customizations and integrations?
Cloud ERP systems often offer a range of customization options to suit your business processes and requirements. Many vendors provide APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and other tools for seamless integration with third-party applications, such as CRM, HR, or e‑commerce platforms. However, discussing your specific customization and integration needs with potential vendors and understanding their support level for these tasks is essential. Remember that excessive customization can sometimes make updates and maintenance more challenging and costly, so it’s best to strike a balance between customizing the software and adapting your processes to fit the system. The right system will not need extensive customization.
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