5 amazing things you can do with cloud ERP

Cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is changing the business game. According to Forbes, “Cloud ERP is the fastest growing sector of the global ERP market with services-based businesses driving the majority of new revenue growth.”

They cited the increased flexibility and speed of cloud ERP as chief factors in the fast-emerging system’s success.

What does this mean for growing SMBs? In addition to the myriad advantages cloud systems provide over their on-premises counterparts, making use of cloud ERP opens the door to some interesting capabilities you might not have considered. The following are just a few examples.

1. You can go mobile

If you’re accustomed to using on-premise ERP, you already know you have to stay connected into the local server to gain access to it. This isn’t the case with cloud ERP.

As a cloud-based system, you can pull up information from your cloud ERP anywhere you have an internet connection, on almost any device. This increased availability translates to an improved ability to collaborate with your team and freedom to engage in critical business while on the go.

2. You can streamline your operations

As a function of cloud ERP’s accessibility and mobility, you can streamline your business operations and productivity. You needn’t wait for an onsite connection to perform critical tasks. You can perform those tasks wherever and whenever you choose.

Let’s use accounting as an example.

Working in tandem and on the go, you and your team can ensure that accounts are always accurate and current. This also grants a real-time look at your accounts/finances—an invaluable benefit in situations where every moment counts.

3. You can scale more easily

With cloud ERP, you aren’t “locked in” as restrictively as you might be with on-premise ERP. This means you can scale-up—adding new features and functions as they become necessary—more easily. You can grow at your own pace and improve your business more strategically than before.

4. You can stay up-to-date automatically

When using on-premise ERP, the downtime and scheduling woes of software updates are often a major hassle. You might have to shut down your system entirely to perform said updates, and may even lose some of the customizations you had in place.

With cloud ERP, you can perform updates automatically without affecting your business or losing integrations and customization. The process is quicker, simpler, and more conducive to allowing your business to continue moving ahead at full steam.

5. You can maintain tighter security

With cloud ERP, you can manage security concerns more easily than with on-premise ERP. The cloud-based solution mitigates the need for team members to save sensitive files to their devices. They can access what they need through portals and dashboards.

And in the event a device goes missing, you’ve reduced the likelihood of important information falling into the wrong hands.

A dual advantage here is that with most of your information stored in the cloud, you’re already ahead of the curve if disaster strikes at your place of business and you need to implement your business continuity plan to stay in action.

Keep the cloud in mind when selecting your ERP

The amount you can do with cloud ERP will often outclass what’s capable with an on-premise ERP system. Be sure to work with a provider who understands the finer points of cloud ERP implementation to maximize your potential benefits.

The beginner’s guide to cloud ERP

Keeping your company running smoothly is a big task. Each individual department needs to run effectively, and all departments need to interact efficiently with each other. Cloud ERP is an effective method of keeping all areas of your business running smoothly.

This one tool really can transform how your business operates.

What is ERP?

ERP is the acronym for “enterprise resource planning.”

ERP helps organize, oversee and manage all the individual processes that keep a company running effectively. This could include everything from human resources and finance to marketing and manufacturing.

ERP systems rely on a centralized database for keeping track of all the moving pieces. When used effectively, ERP enables better communication and collaboration.

How does ERP work?

ERP works by organizing and integrating a variety of data from several departments in your company. Traditional ERP software depends on a local server infrastructure. This would require an onsite server you’d have to manage and maintain.

The great thing about cloud ERP is that it’s just as effective as a legacy, onsite ERP, and it can work for a variety of industries. That includes finance, manufacturing, distributing and any other vertical that could benefit from ERP.

How does cloud ERP work?

Doing business in the cloud allows companies to harness unprecedented levels of flexibility and agility. In fact, a cloud-based application, like cloud EPR, give SMBs access to enterprise level technology.

Cloud ERP offers customers an entire system that can work more effectively in unison. Utilizing a cloud ERP has several advantages notable advantages when compared with an ERP housed in an onsite server. These include:

  • Less costly: Services are leased as needed instead of requiring an expensive upfront purchase that might include more options than you actually need. You won’t have to invest in the necessary hardware or hire a qualified technician for maintenance. This is ideal, especially if you have a small or mid-size company.
  • Increased security: Keeping data secure is crucial and requires expertise and advanced technology that most small companies simply can’t afford. This makes it critical to choose a vendor that has the ability to keep your data secure. When your sensitive company information is stored in a secure cloud ERP, you’re adding another layer of protection to your company’s cybersecurity plan.
  • Protection from disasters: Security doesn’t just mean protection from hackers. When you’re storing all your information onsite, you’re susceptible to fire, floods and power outages. Cloud ERP can be a crucial part of your disaster plan.
  • More flexibility: Your cloud ERP can be accessed anywhere there’s internet. You can work from a tablet, a laptop or your mobile phone. This makes collaboration with your entire team easier.
  • Easy implementation & access: When your ERP is in the cloud, it normally takes less time to implement the system. You also have access to all your data and business applications at all times.

How do you keep ERP working effectively?

While there are several advantages of using cloud ERP, there are a few challenges you’ll need to keep in mind.

Support, especially during the start-up phase, is crucial. You want to get things get off the ground smoothly. We advise including your managed IT services provider in the process right from the beginning. That ensures you have the support and guidance you need to make the most of cloud ERP.

Real-world examples of business intelligence

Software and technology play an ever-increasing role in the business world. One of the most important technologies in today’s business environment is business intelligence software.

Here’s what you need to know about the basics of business intelligence and how some well-known companies have put it to work in their day-to-day operations.

What is business intelligence?

Today, businesses of all sizes have access to mountains of data that were never readily available in the past. Business intelligence (BI) is a way to make sense of what these data points mean and turn them into insights that businesses can use in real-world decision-making.

Using analysis software, BI systems take raw data sets and use them to inform everything from marketing strategies to planning for possible future setbacks.

Want a few examples?

Lowe’s leverages BI

Though the concept itself may seem a bit vague, there are many examples of large businesses putting BI to work to solve concrete problems. One of the earliest examples you’ll find of a large enterprise using BI is Lowe’s, America’s second-largest home improvement store chain.

In 2007, the company started building a new data center in Texas specifically to expand on its already significant business intelligence capabilities. Like many retail chains, Lowe’s uses BI to optimize its supply chain efficiency and reduce the rate of fraudulent returns in its stores.

Starbucks gets in on business intelligent

The Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks is also a prominent user of BI technology. Through its popular Loyalty Card program, Starbucks is able to amass individualized purchase data on millions of customers. Using this information and business intelligence software, the large coffee company can then predict what purchases and offers an individual customer is likely to be interested in. The company informs customers of the offers it believes they will want to take advantage of via mobile devices.

This system lets Starbucks draw existing customers into its stores more frequently and increase its volume of sales. In this capacity, BI has a use similar to traditional CRM systems. In fact, many businesses choose to combine BI and CRM systems to get the most out of their data.

Amex is big on BI, too

One of the areas of business in which BI has been most effective is the finance industry. American Express has been a pioneer of business intelligence in this sector, using the technology to develop new payment service products and market offers to customers.

Rather impressively, the company’s experiments in the Australian market have rendered it capable of identifying up to 24% of all Australian users who will close their accounts within four months. Using that information, American Express can take effective steps to retain those customers who would otherwise be lost.

BI software also helps the credit card company detect fraud more accurately and thereby protect customers whose card information may have been compromised.

Amazon and business intelligence go hand-in-hand

Last but not least among the companies that use BI is the online retail giant Amazon.

Much like Starbucks, Amazon uses business intelligence technology to personalize product recommendations and market products, but it also uses its BI software tools for logistical business decisions. In fact, in-depth data analysis is what enables Amazon’s massive supply chain to run smoothly.

From optimizing shipping routes to allocating inventory among warehouses, data and BI tools influence practically every step of Amazon’s supply process.

The tip of the BI iceberg

Amazingly, these are just a few of the many uses to which modern business intelligence software can be put. From finance to retail and even in the public sector, BI technology is helping organizations glean useful insights from their data.

If your business has large amounts of customer data but isn’t using it to increase profitability, now is the time to invest in BI software solutions and the IT support needed to implement them effectively.

4 tips for securing your enterprise resource planning software

In the Oscar-winning drama The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin are two Harvard college students working to create what is now the most widely used social networking site in the world: Facebook.

There’s a scene from the film where a crowd of students cheer on five nerdy guys furiously typing on computers. Zuckerberg looks on while Saverin approaches him, asking what’s going on.

“They have 10 minutes to get root access to a Python web server, expose its SSL encryption, and then intercept all traffic over its secure port.”

Saverin replies, “They’re hacking.”

Turns out, these five guys are participating in a “hackathon.” One where, according to the rules, they take a shot every 30 or so seconds.

To these students, hacking is a game. Something fun to do at a party. In the business world, it’s anything but.

The possibility of a cybercriminal breaching your business network and gaining access to sensitive company data is very real. And very serious.

One of the ways a hacker can do this is through your enterprise resource planning software. We’re here to help you prevent that from happening.

Why is ERP security important?

Enterprise resource planning software has the potential to give an overview of your entire company-wide operations, including everything from customer and financial relationships to personal data, HR information and intellectual property.

A data breach that includes ERP records would have sweeping impact. Productivity takes a hit, your reputation suffers, and revenue could easily dip. And if your business is subject to compliance regulations, you could be looking at hefty violation fines, too.

The key to avoiding these headaches is a robust network and application security designed specifically to protect all your data, including the information managed by your ERP solution.

Here are 4 tips to help you better secure your ERP software.

  1. Update, update, update.

Forgive the repetition, but this first tip is just that important. Update your network security and upgrade your application software to the most current release. Due to ERP’s integration into nearly every area of your company, a breach into one are of your network can expose your entire system to hackers.

Patching your system will protect against new malware threats and fix bugs. Plus, updates can introduce new software capabilities unavailable in previous versions.

Since enterprise resource planning software is massive, performing updates will take longer. Scheduling them outside of business hours will help you eliminate update-related downtime.

  1. Control user access.

If anyone in your company can access all the information in your ERP, then in the famous words of NASA Mission Control, “Houston, we have a problem.” Allowing every employee to see every module’s information is a security risk. And, depending on the data, a potential compliance violation.

“66% of data protection leaders admit that employees are the weakest link in an enterprise’s security posture.” – Ponemon Institute

To prevent internal attacks or accidental data removal, define permissions for different features in your ERP and require employees to frequently change their passwords. If an employee doesn’t need access to certain information to do their job, they shouldn’t have it. An experienced professional can help you set up these permissions.

  1. Train your employees.

Piggybacking onto our previous point, it’s essential to acknowledge that employees pose a substantial security risk, so be sure you take into consideration segregation of duties when allocating permissions. Sure, your staff means well. But humans, by nature, have a larger predisposition for error than machines.

“60% of respondents believe employees lack adequate knowledge of cybersecurity risks.” – Ponemon Institute

That’s why it’s critical to train your team on cybersecurity best practices. If your team knows how to spot and report unusual activity in your ERP, you can greatly reduce a cyberattack’s damage.

  1. Use active reporting.

Visibility is crucial. If an issue occurs, you’ll need to know where in order to resolve it. Real-time, internal reporting can help by letting you see problematic user activity as it happens and trace data quickly and efficiently. Run frequent audit reports in your most sensitive ERP modules.

For example, if users try to access data without the required permissions, you’ll know. Once you’re made aware, you can address the issue immediately, minimizing potential damage.

Securing your enterprise resource planning software.

Taking a preventative approach is always the best way to approach network and application security. While there’s not a universal solution, these tips should provide you with a solid foundation for securing the sensitive data in your ERP.

Related Blog: The Advantages of ERP for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The advantages of ERP for small and medium-sized businesses

Imagine a juggler. He’s a showman. A talented performer capable of dazzling crowds by demonstrating a relatively simple skill with consistent dexterity.

He keeps things in the air, shuffling them from hand to hand in high, interwoven arcs. Sometimes he juggles basic things, like rubber balls, and sometimes more impressive things. Even dangerous things. Knives, for example, or chainsaws. It’s fascinating to see him perform because precision is beautiful – especially when the stakes are high.

Managing a business, particularly one focused on manufacturing or distribution, is not unlike juggling. Functionalities like production planning, procurement, inventory management, order fulfillment and shipping are balls which cannot be dropped. In order to maintain and align each of these complex processes across an entire organization, a comprehensive planning and tracking tool is needed.

The spotlight shifts to a new juggler. ERP takes center stage.

What is ERP?

In the time before ERP, businesses relied on manual processes to keep related departments in sync. Given the degree to which we utilize automated systems today, even in our personal lives, it’s a genuine mental exercise to envision literal memos and purchase orders passed from one physical inbox to another, snaking their way through a warehouse in order to facilitate fulfillment.

Describing it as “a different world” is not an overstatement.

The first system for organizing the manufacturing process dates back to 1913, courtesy of an engineer named Ford Whitman Harris. Harris’s model, known as economic order quantity, was focused on inventory management. It was, of course, entirely paper-based. For decades, EOC was the definitive means of organizing, planning and overseeing resources, even for large commercial organizations.

Pull Quote

Things took a significant step forward in 1964. That was the year Black and Decker implemented EOC principals in a digital environment, migrating the process to a mainframe computer for the first time. The resulting system was dubbed material requirements planning.

Like EOC, MRP became an industry standard. Its reign, however, was shorter-lived. In 1983, manufacturing resource planning introduced a new conceptual approach. Software modules were added to the underlying structure, allowing for the incorporation of manufacturing tasks outside the scope of material requirements. The new system was given the acronym MRPII to distinguish it from material requirements planning.

In addition to the introduction of modules, MRPII brought another innovation to resource management. Businesses began to see value in using their own internal data to improve efficiency and decrease waste. It was now possible to analyze performance and identify bottlenecks. Armed with this groundbreaking knowledge, organizations were able to overhaul their production processes, tweaking them to eliminate delays and capitalize on newly identified best practices.

Before long, companies operating in other verticals, like customer relations, human resources and finance, recognized the value similar analytics could bring to their industries. MRPII evolved beyond its manufacturing and distribution roots to include a host of other business categories. The bedrock of the technology – resource management across multiple departments within a single organization – remained the same, but the range of practical applications exploded. A new term was coined to refer to the resulting software: enterprise resource planning.

ERP has changed how multiple industries do business. Without the ability to track materials, orders, customers, billing and shipping in a single system, many of today’s powerhouse players simply wouldn’t be able to compete. How could Amazon, for example, make good on two-day delivery without this kind of system? The short answer is, they couldn’t. Not while maintaining their competitive pricing model.

When it comes to data management, automation is essential. The fewer the opportunities for human error, the better. When information flows from one department to the next in a live environment, everyone benefits. The increased efficiency lowers overhead, improves turnaround time, reduces mistakes, and creates a level of internal transparency that empowers the entire organization.

You’ve seen this in action if you’ve ever had to contact Amazon customer service. The representative on the other end of the phone is able to access all kinds of pertinent information about your order on the fly. He can tell you when you placed your order, whether or not the item is in stock, when it’s scheduled to ship, and when you can expect delivery. Without an ERP managing all this information in the background, none of that insight would be possible.

And the operational savings are real. By one estimate, real-time data can reduce an organization’s operational expenses by as much as 23%. However, the benefits of ERP innovation weren’t available to everyone until recently.

Initially, ERP implementation was limited to large organizations. The backbone of the software was static, covering the most needed bases, but it required extensive customization to be truly beneficial. And yet, even with highly individualized customization, it wasn’t unheard of for enterprise organizations to rework significant elements of their internal processes just to accommodate a new ERP system. An ERP rollout was a huge undertaking. The time and money needed to facilitate deployment made ERP packages thoroughly impractical for small and medium-sized businesses.

The SMB market was left to make due with manual systems that didn’t include the kind of cooperative, cross-platform convenience that ERP software makes possible. As a result, few SMBs even considered utilizing an ERP suite. The benefits simply didn’t outweigh the cost.

But that’s changing. New modes of ERP implementation have opened the floodgates, allowing businesses of all sizes to reap the rewards of top-tier resource management. We’ll explore those rewards in the next chapter.

How an ERP System Can Transform Your Business

In 2008, Michael Phelps already had the attention of the world. He went to the Beijing Olympic games with multiple world records under his belt. In fact, of the six individual events Phelps entered there was only one for which he did not already hold the world record: the 100-meter butterfly.

Phelps wowed the crowd during that event, pushing himself in the last 50 meters to make a comeback. The race concluded with a dramatic finish, so close that judges could not determine a winner based solely on the photo. Officials had to rely instead on the touch pads installed at the end of the pool, determining that Phelps won by a mere one-sixth of an inch.

Phelps’ victory is a fascinating study in the importance of efficiency. Had he swam with a little more drag or a little less power, he would have gone home with the silver, not the gold.

When a business is in growth mode, even slight improvements in efficiency have the potential to make a huge difference. For the small to medium-sized business, this is particularly true. The momentum generated by improved efficiency can push you into the lead while the competition stalls out.

– The Aberdeen Group

Recent research agrees. According to a 2016 report from the Aberdeen Group, 96% of the top-performing companies experiencing growth. These businesses are twice as likely to have access to custom reporting, enabling them to fine-tune performance in real time. As a result, their profits rose an average of 10% over the course of the last two years.

How can an ERP system make that kind of difference? Below are four key advantages of incorporating an ERP solution into your business process. This is not an exhaustive list. There are dozens of additional benefits. Consider these the high points.

1. Custom Reporting

The ability to create custom reports, on a schedule or on the fly, is powerful. Large corporations rely on reporting to track KPIs across the entire organization. If one department or functionality falls behind, you’ll see evidence in the numbers.

However, you can’t produce useful reports without a system for housing and compiling all that information. For example, there’s simply no way to know how long it takes for materials to work their way through the manufacturing process from start to finish if you aren’t tracking everything from inventory intake, through production, on to shipping and delivery.

An ERP solution provides a single environment for gathering and housing data, making it possible to generate reports that clearly show where you’re already efficient and where there’s room for improvement.

2. Cost Reduction

Effective ERP implementation will almost always cut administrative costs.

When employees have fewer manual processes to weigh them down, they’ll be free to take on more innovative, profitable projects. Not only that, but work flows more easily. Turnaround time decreases and your production capability goes up.

For businesses with inventory requirements, ERP solutions create the opportunity for another kind of savings in the form of inventory management. An ERP system can help forecast demand for specific materials, decrease overstock, and track real-time supply. When supply chain management runs smoothly, your entire organization benefits.

3. Automated Workflow

Human error is inevitable. It’s also one of the biggest efficiency gaps in most organization. The more often your business process relies on a human being to re-enter the same data, for example, the more exposed you are to potential delays and problems.

Automating data flow makes it far less likely that human error will result in missed orders, inventory mishaps or miscommunication. When your business operates like a well-oiled machine, customers get a consistently reliable experience and employee satisfaction gets a boost. The positive effects of both are exponential contributors to growth.

4. Scalable Production

Finally, ERP brings a game-changing level of scalability to business processes.

If a company relies on manual processes for order fulfillment, what will the employees do if there’s a growth surge? How will they handle twice the volume they’re accustomed to? How likely does it seem that important tasks will fall through the cracks as the team scrambles to cover all the bases?

While a significant increase in volume will cause growing pains for any business, ERP can greatly reduce the impact. The automation alone will take much of the burden off employees while guaranteeing a solid record of workflow. That frees your most valuable resource – your people – to handle everything else.

The advantages of incorporating an ERP solution are considerable. What’s more, cloud solutions make it more practical than ever for businesses of all sizes to harness that power.

In the next chapter, we’ll explore how the cloud is changing ERP solutions, and how small businesses can benefit.

How ERP Works With the Cloud

It wasn’t that long ago that ERP was strictly for the big players. Fortune 500 companies put it to good use, leveraging the power of these solutions by integrating them deeply into every facet of the business processes. By contrast, smaller organizations didn’t follow suit.

Why? For one simple, entirely pragmatic reason. Cost.

The software alone can be expensive. As are the servers, the staff required to maintain and support them, and the periodic updates. Additionally, the move to an ERP often means reworking internal processes. An accurate calculation of costs has to include the time it will take to reconfigure workflow, retrain employees, and compensate for delays while everyone adjusts to the changes.


Some of those costs can’t be avoided. Even small businesses with few employees will have to change how they work to make use of an ERP solution. But the overwhelming cost of the software and hardware can be mitigated significantly by utilizing a cloud ERP solution.

Cloud-based ERP offers all the functionality of an on-premise solution but are housed remotely. What does that look like? If you’ve ever used a web-based email or storage service, then you’re already familiar with the cloud. Like those services, cloud ERP solutions aren’t kept locally. You don’t have to purchase and maintain your own server. Instead, you access the cloud solution via a protected internet connection.

Because cloud solutions make use of secure remote servers, entry costs plummet. The numbers tell the story best.

On average, cloud-based ERP systems are about 30% less expensive than traditional on-premise solutions, and that’s just the initial cost. Cloud ERP is generally faster to deploy, which means you’ll experience fewer delays and less downtime while the new system rolls out. Additionally, support and maintenance are taken care of for you by the ERP provider, so you don’t have to hire additional IT staff, either.

Strategic small business owners can further their savings by being selective about the ERP solution they choose. One notable standout is Acumatic’s offering. Unlike most cloud ERPs, Acumatic doesn’t bill according to the number of users, but instead allows for unlimited users. This gives the small business unprecedented power, allowing for every employee in the organization to access the ERP setup without driving up the cost.

Another advantage of cloud ERP is accessibility. Not only can you login from any computer, but many leading ERP packages offer mobile access, as well. As long as you have a laptop, tablet or phone, you’re connected. That means you can get to critical data anytime, from anywhere.

Furthermore, the scalability of cloud-based ERP is even greater than that of on-premise ERP software. Your initial deployment doesn’t have to include every module you might want to use at a later date. If you feel you don’t need a module now, don’t subscribe to it. You can always add it later just by updating your subscription.

In the large business sector, there’s a lot of debate about cloud ERP versus on-premise ERP. That makes sense. The larger the organization, the less dramatic the cost difference. Many large corporations prefer the higher entry cost of on-premise ERP over the recurring cost of a cloud-based solution. Over time, a big businesses could easily save more money with the on-premise option.

But for the small business owner, the cloud-based solution is typically more cost effective in both the short and long term. On-premise options are so much more expensive to purchase and maintain that small businesses are nearly guaranteed better value by opting for a cloud-based ERP rollout.

Of course, cloud versus on-premise is only the first of many critical decisions to make when selecting an ERP solution. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss some key questions to consider when choosing how to implement ERP for your business.

Picking the Right ERP Solution

ERP implementation is a huge undertaking. Survey data on implementation outcome reveals an increase in the percentage of respondents claiming neutrality in regard to project outcomes – from 21% to 36%. That means 36% of respondents responded they “Don’t Know” if their ERP project was a success or a failure.

And yet, the benefits of utilizing an ERP solution are significant. Which begs the question, how does an organization take on the challenge of finding and implementing the right ERP the right way? In a word, strategically.

In a sense, there’s no such thing as an easy ERP implementation. By its very nature, the solution should be flexible, fitting your business in ways that work with you. While there may be a need to adjust some existing process, the end result should be a faster, leaner, more profitable version of your current organizational structure. If implementation exceeds budget, misses deadlines, or doesn’t add significant efficiency, why integrate an ERP solution at all?

Project Outcomes Stat

— Panorama Consulting

The good news is that your ERP rollout isn’t predestined to fail. If done the right way, implementation can happen on time and under budget. Not only that, but you really can lower costs while increasing efficiency.

The key is a strategic approach. In this chapter, we’ll cover five critical considerations for the introduction of a new ERP solution. If these bases are covered, you’ll be set up for implementation success:

1. Define Your Goals

Your ultimate goals are most likely identical to those of other companies: lower costs, improve efficiency and increase profits. That’s a given. However, it’s important to determine the specific targets unique to your organization.

In order to facilitate this, you’ll have to take the time to dive deep into your own processes. Where are the bottlenecks, for example? What manual processes do you currently employ that could be automated? What custom reports would give you the best picture of your organization’s overall effectiveness? How might data flow more easily through your company, especially between departments? And what might your people be able to do if they won back some of the time they currently lose to inefficiency?

When you have an idea of what’s not working, it’s easier to envision a better business process. Start by focusing on pain points. Be sure to engage your team in this process, as well. Your people will be able to provide feedback no report can match.

2. Identify Your Requirements

Now it’s time to shift gears and get more solution-focused. The guiding principle at this point is pragmatism. What sort of software features and functionality will actually work for your business?

No ERP solution is one-size-fits-all. As a result, you’ll need to determine the technical requirements for solutions that will and won’t work for you. Are there existing programs in use that you simply cannot live without? Does your organization have any proprietary software you’d like to maintain? Is mobile/remote access an important factor?

It’s also wise to give some thought to scalability. Don’t limit the scope of your consideration to your current operation. What if your company doubles in size? What if that growth means more employees? More stock? More orders? What sort of functionality might be necessary to maintain smooth delivery, even if you find yourself in an aggressive growth mode?

3. Determine Your Budget

Continuing the theme of practical concerns, you’ll need to establish a budget for your ERP. The budget should include implementation, maintenance and hardware upgrades, if needed. It’s also wise to take into account intangible costs, like slower turnaround times while the new ERP is brought online and as your people get accustomed to the new solution.

This is a good time to weigh the pros and cons of on-premise versus cloud ERP solutions. Both are valid formats with their own advantages. Most small businesses will find cloud-based ERP systems to be more cost-effective, while many large corporations are better positioned to take advantage of the long-term savings of on-premise solutions.

If you find yourself leaning toward a cloud-based ERP, be sure to take into account the subscription cost per user, particularly if you anticipate growth. While Acumatic, the ERP provider mentioned in the previous chapter, offers access for unlimited users, most cloud ERP solutions assess a per-user fee.

4. Explore Your Options

With a clear idea of your goals, your requirements and your budget, it’s now time to begin the daunting task of actually comparing different ERP solutions. There are no shortcuts here. While comparison shopping may not be particularly fun, due diligence will serve you in the long run.

There’s no way to know which ERP will work best for your organization without doing some homework. However, comparative analysis takes time, and that alone leads an alarming number of business leaders to short-circuit the process, going with the first ERP they find that looks good. As understandable as that impulse is, the stakes here are high. A solid fit can make a big difference for your company.

Even if you’ve already got your eye on a specific solution, it’s prudent to look at other options.

5. Develop Your Implementation Plan

The final piece of the puzzle is actually mapping out your implementation, including deadlines. Given the sweeping nature of ERP implementation, best practice is to make sure your entire organization is familiar with the project and has an accurate picture of both the scope and schedule of the project.

ERP Implementation With CCS Technology

The benefits of utilizing an ERP solution are compelling. Improvements to efficiency have the potential to lower costs across your organization, which in turn boosts profitability. As if the impact on the bottom line weren’t enough, the upside for employee satisfaction is another strong argument in favor of implementing ERP.

The process of selecting, planning and launching an ERP system requires a well-developed strategy. Too many companies embrace the idea of using ERP only to run into the brick wall of a negative implementation experience. The five tips in the last chapter will help you to avoid those pitfalls.

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Because ERP rollout is complex, many business leaders feel it’s an area that genuinely warrants expert input. Large enterprises and small businesses alike frequently partner with IT professional services firms to assist with ERP implementation. It’s a move that just makes sense.

The experienced team at CCS Technology has helped dozens of companies through the ERP onboarding process. We will walk you through the entire process, analyze your needs, identify the best ERP for your business, and ensure that your implementation is completed on time and under budget.

CCS Technology can guide you to the right ERP for your organization. If we can help, contact us today.

The 7 irresistible qualities of cloud ERPs

ERP tools are an understandably critical component for many businesses. Particularly if you focus on manufacturing or distribution, the benefits of utilizing an ERP are undeniable. And the introduction of cloud computing has revolutionized ERPs.

In recent years, industry experts have debated every pro and con of the cloud ERP. Over time, these newer cloud solutions have proven to be a viable option, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.

Whether you’re updating your current ERP or are considering first-time implementation, here are seven reasons to consider going with a cloud solution.

1. Budget Friendly Launch

If you’re interested in saving money, here’s some good news. 82% of companies save money by moving to cloud solutions. While on-premise ERPs typically come with hefty startup costs, cloud-based ERPs are much more budget friendly up front. That savings allows SMBs to seize the advantages of improved efficiency without wiping out their annual budget on a single tool.

But be sure to shop around. Most vendors charge by the user, and those fees can add up. A few, like Acumatica, offer unlimited user spots, which allows for on-the-fly scalability without a price hike.

Source: Acumatica

2. Quicker, Easier Implementation

Rolling out a new on-premise ERP can be rough. The server has to be prepped, the software has to be installed, and then there’s the daunting task of making sure the new system plays nicely with the rest of your network. Even if everything goes smoothly, it’s rarely a speedy process.

By contrast, cloud-based implementation isn’t as painful. There’s not as much to configure and typically nothing to install. As a result, cloud ERPs deploy faster and with fewer headaches.

3. Tried and True Reliability

Cloud computing still feels like new technology, even though it’s been a steady part of the business world for nearly 20 years. Still, reliability is a top concern for business leaders. Can a cloud-based application deliver the same kind of consistent performance as an on-premise solution?

Yes. The cloud ERP isn’t an untested technology. Rather, there are quite a few vendors out there with solid track records for stability. You can opt for a cloud solution without sacrificing the assurance of reliable service.

4. Powerful Performance

In addition to stability, savvy business leaders also understand the importance of performance. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that cloud applications came with pretty significant drops in speed and functionality.

However, better connection speeds and other advancement have reshaped the landscape of cloud computing. Today, it’s possible to get the same kind of performance from an ERP you access via the cloud as one would expect from an on-premise solution.


5. Frustration-Free Maintenance

On-premise ERPs require a server and local maintenance. When you host the ERP yourself, there’s simply no way to avoid managing its health and performance. Given the dramatic impact of an ERP going offline, maintenance is a serious business.

If you’re not prepared to hire additional staff to maintain a new server, then a cloud-based ERP is a great way to go. The ERP provider will handle all the maintenance. You just log in and get to work, no maintenance required.

6. Baked-In Security

The very same folks who maintain your cloud ERP will also take care of the solution’s security. Keeping your data secure is one of the fundamental requirements for any cloud-based provider. Accurate, safe record-keeping is a top priority, and includes high standards for certification, compliance, and data backup and recovery.

Your ERP vendor’s security measures aren’t an adequate replacement for your own cyber security strategy. Still, it’s reassuring to know their focus includes keeping your data backed up and safe.

7. Access From Anywhere

Finally, cloud-based solutions give business leaders a level of accessibility that was unheard of even a few years ago. All you need is a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, and you have a way to check in on your business, review processes, update critical workflows, and keep tabs on top customers.

That kind of flexibility sets business leaders free. Often, a few swipes can give you the information you need, allowing you to focus on the client sitting in front of you rather than micro-managing each individual process. That’s freedom that impacts your bottom line and your quality of life.

Make Your Move to the Cloud

If you’re ready to unleash the power of utilizing a cloud ERP, CCS Technology can help. We know what it takes to streamline process management for manufacturing and distribution, and we’ve helped dozens of small to medium-sized businesses improve their efficiency. What’s more, we can guide you to the cloud solution that meets your needs without breaking your budget.

Contact us today to find out more about how a cloud-based ERP can transform your business.


Star Wars is basically an ad for ERP systems

We’ve all seen the commercial where the entire concept is “Don’t do X or you’re totally doomed. Do Y instead.” Like, some guy picks up a can of generic beer and he’s lonely and depressed, but then he grabs a Bud Light and he’s surrounded by beautiful women and fancy cars. That kind of commercial.

Well, it turns out that the Star Wars saga is basically a cautionary tale for what happens if you don’t use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Here’s why…

1.  It’s an ERP!

Every time any jedi in Star Wars wants to get anything done, they have to hop in a starfighter and zip from planet to planet. You would think with an entire galaxy to protect, they might create some sort of proprietary ERP system to save the jedis some precious time and fuel.

Example: Obi-Wan needs to jet off to planet Kamino to check up on some poisonous dart and then finds that the Republic invested tons of money in clones. RED FLAG!

With an ERP system, all resources in your business are live. If $50,000 is spent by your clone recruitment department, you’re going to be able to pull that information on the fly and save yourself a trip across the galaxy – not to mention saving those funds for lightsaber components and blue milk.

Tracking live resources is one of the most important parts of any fast-moving business, and so is communication.

When you utilize an ERP system optimized for your operations and priorities, your departments have a vehicle for interdepartmental coordination, communication and efficiency. The reduced payroll hours and added transparency ERP delivers creates an immediate reporting channel and enhances efficiency throughout your business.

This can mean big savings and profits. Businesses using an ERP saw an average increase in profitability of 10% over two years in a recent Aberdeen study. Additionally, 96% of the top-performing companies experiencing growth rely on ERP solutions.

2. Use the ERP, Luke…

Arguably, the greatest tragedy in the Star Wars saga is that the friendship and guidance of Obi-Wan is not enough to save Anakin from joining the dark side of the Force. Obi-Wan, clouded by his good intentions, is unable to see the dangerous path his friend has followed. This, of course, leads to the death of Padme, the birth of Vader, and years of chaos and destruction for our favorite galaxy far, far away.

If you are fortunate in your business, you are probably so busy that you don’t have time to crunch numbers and run manual reports, or to update forecasts based on these predictions. The good news is that unlike Obi-Wan, you can make good use of an ERP system to keep your forecasts regular and current.

ERP systems gather live data for your reporting requirements, and it can predict future patterns based on this data. From anticipating office expenses to scaling workforce resources to predicting network traffic patterns, capturing and analyzing this information in real time according to your operational KPIs is priceless when planning for your business growth.

3. The ERP is strong with this one…

When you utilize ERP systems, you also benefit from scalability. Both the Empire and the Republic suffered from gross inefficiencies.

The Republic had a bunch of clones sitting on a planet working out and training, not knowing how many they would need. They then needed to rush production on hundreds of thousands more to fight the Empire’s drone forces.

With a proper ERP system, the Republic could have used forecasting to know how many soldiers they would need for each battle, and then they could have scaled quickly and efficiently to deliver the right amount and type of soldiers. Why send 20,000 to each planet when 200 would do?

Just shoot us a message or give us a call, and we can chat about how to support and optimize your business operations with the right ERP capabilities.

May the Force be with you…