Business leaders today frequently find their IT team knocking at their door or inbox with requests for new technologies. Oftentimes the conversations are in terms of features and services and laden with product names, rather than focusing on business objectives. So, let’s change that up and take a minute to have a non-technical talk about ERPs, and why it may be time for your organization to move to a cloud-based ERP.
The Advantage of a Single System ERP
First, if you don’t already have an on-premise ERP such as Dynamics GP or Dynamics SL, let’s get on the same page about what an ERP is, and why they are useful. ERP is Enterprise Resource Planning software, which integrates the various, and often siloed parts of your business systems including finance, inventory, sales, marketing and more into one centralized system. There are many advantages to this including improving operations, driving cost efficiencies, supporting rapid growth, and increasing visibility into your business functions with real-time reporting.
In the past, a company may have had dozens of applications running to do this and all of the information had to be fed into spreadsheets or similar tools, then poured over to get to any meaningful and actionable business insights. Times have changed.
How to Know if You Need a Cloud-Based ERP
ERPs have existed on-premise for several years, but now there is a big move from on-prem to cloud-based ERPs. The worst reason to choose to migrate to cloud is because everybody else is doing it. Your business is unique and so are your business needs. That uniqueness, however, is the best reason to migrate to the cloud where you can highly customize your systems and take advantage of sustainability, scalability and the cloud’s elasticity – with ever expanding features and services – so you have exactly what you need when you need it. And instead of paying for huge CapEx expenses, you can move to an OpEx model and pay for what you actually use.
But let’s make this decision even simpler than that. Answer this question: Can your current system handle your company’s business requirements successfully for the next 3-5 years? If you answered yes, then your company is probably not growing or engaging in new product launches, mergers, acquisitions. You are staying within the status quo. You may not need an ERP. If you answered “No, your current systems isn’t going to suffice in 3-5 years,” then you should be looking into cloud-based ERPs.
Primary Business Drivers to Cloud-ERP Migrations
Let’s look at three of the primary business drivers I see sending organizations to a cloud-based ERP, and how the ERP helps address those needs or pain points.
Driver #1: A Compelling Event
I’ve been seeing this driver a lot in the last two years with the uptick in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. These events cause a consolidation of financials and an integration of systems that can be costly and cumbersome if you’re doing it on-prem. You can end up with silo upon silo, creating an enormous amount of manual work, patching, and time away from achieving business goals. Compelling events create a need for a new integrated, scalable business platform and that’s a cloud-based ERP’s strength. There is also the huge advantage of visibility and forecasting. If you are a CFO and you want to create scenarios around M&A, the cloud-based ERP can give you visualizations and reports in a dashboard that makes evident – quickly and clearly – where your wins and losses likely reside based on various scenarios.
Driver #2: Fast or Significant Growth
I can’t tell you how many companies I speak with who are almost a victim of their own success because they grew quickly but didn’t have the systems in place to handle it. Cloud-based ERPs scale with you. Whether you are adding new data sets, new products or services, or whole new divisions into your business functions, they can seamlessly be integrated into one centralized system that literally connects the dots across your company, giving business leaders a holistic view into operations, costs, and spend.
Driver #3: Business Continuity and Agility
If you were in business in 2020, you felt this pain point. Who could have foreseen the pandemic and the way it would push us all out of our offices and server rooms into sudden remote work? With this came an onslaught of security breaches, largely driven by ransomware. Was your business planning to defend against an attack by Russian hackers? Most weren’t. The bottom line is you have to keep your business running, and pivot quickly, continuing to operate under any circumstances. With a cloud-based ERP all of your systems are securely available from any location, at any time, on any device provided the person has the right identity and access privileges. Additionally you know your documentation, reports, invoicing and sales sheets are all the current, up-to-date version, and they are available throughout your company in real time, rather than leaving people to search their inboxes or desktops for a pdf or spreadsheet that may or may not reflect real time updates.
How Not to Migrate to a Cloud-based ERP
Despite their many advantages, I have seen disaster from companies migrating to an ERP because of one recurring, simple mistake. They try to take migration on themselves and while they may be experts on their business strategy and outcomes, cloud migration of complex business systems into an ERP is not a DIY project. You could tie up an enormous amounts of your teams’ time and resources, increase costs and lose the advantages you went to an ERP for in the first place.
Quisitive takes the guess work out of cloud migrations and provides consultative services for ERP migrations that begin with understanding your business needs. We offer up multiple solutions, then handle the heavy lifting of migration and implementation so you can keep your team focused on daily operations. Companies that go DIY lose productivity and open the door to mistakes that the cloud-certified experts at Quisitive know to look out for and avoid.
Because we have multiple products, our team does not come in with a one size fits all solution. We customize each migration and build to that customer’s business objectives, whether a huge enterprise system or a smaller non-profit that just needs collaboration and accountability via shared cloud-based, real-time reporting. It is worth noting that many of the business leaders we work with are not digital or cloud-natives. We can bridge the gap in dialogue with those IT team members, making your communications around your change management initiative more effective.
And, we’ll stay with you in any capacity you need by offering managed services after the implementation to supplement your team’s resources and expertise, if you choose.
Imagine a single, scalable, real-time view into your business units whether multi-currency, multi-company or multi-location…as you grow. We can help.