Technology innovation is moving forward at lightning speed and companies that fail to keep pace risk losing their competitive edge. This is of even more concern for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that lack expansive amounts of IT and financial resources. The quickly changing technology landscape can be intimidating for businesses without the ability to adapt at the pace of competitors.
What should SMB’s do to remain competitive? Looking to the cloud can help such organizations respond to the demands of the day with modern technology that allows them to go nose to nose with businesses of like size, as well as larger corporations.
The New Normal
Today, SMBs are taking note! Cloud adaptation is the number one trend for these businesses — something that probably comes as no surprise. According to a recent study by the SMB Group, areas where SMBs are using the cloud the most are:
- Business intelligence and analytics (37%)
- Marketing automation (36%)
- Sales and contact management (31%)
Accounting and finance lags with a surprising 62% of those surveyed still using on-premise software. Concerns about data security and compliance are likely responsible, but with cloud vendors making major strides and building a new sense of trust, this is an area expected to explode. In fact, SMB Group reported 42% of customers surveyed cite better security and reliability as a top reason to migrate to the cloud.
What are SMBs looking for as they embrace the cloud? Topping the list are cost effectiveness, ease of use, and a better customer service record. A central theme among respondents identified that SMBs will be looking at new ways to use the cloud.
As of a 2017 SMB Group survey, 48% of all SMBs were planning to engage in activities that will help them adapt and transform for a digital future, while 36% were already implementing activities to support digital transformation.
The Value of Cloud ERP Software
A free SMB Group eBook gives an in-depth look at SMBs and what is driving cloud growth. As SMBs invest in the cloud and expand their business capabilities, they will be driven by key factors, such as:
- Cost efficiency (51%)
- Easier/Faster deployment (50%)
- More Flexibility (48%)
- Improved security (42%)
It’s essential for growing businesses to have speed and agility benefits that the cloud can offer, as well as having all their business-critical information stored in one database. When a company implements a cloud-based ERP system, employees are able to access real-time data and information from anywhere, anytime — driving better business decisions. A cloud-based ERP also provides visibility that can help to align messaging between different departments or areas, which in turn helps staff to present customers with informed and consistent service.
There are various cloud options available to businesses. This helps to meet a company’s needs now and into the future. SMBs are able to choose between:
- Public Cloud/SaaS: “Do it for me” approach
- Private Cloud: “Do it yourself” approach
- Hybrid Cloud: “Blended” approach
Whatever the choice, it’s essential companies select a true-cloud ERP. A native cloud solution will be built in the cloud from the ground up, multi-tenant, single code, scalable, and flexible. It will not be hosted on-premise and require manual updates.
Selecting the Right Solution
SMBs should do a thorough business assessment, specifically looking at business goals, what kind of resources the company has available, and the amount of customization that’s required. An incremental, yet integrated approach is suggested. Pay attention to reporting capabilities, including third-party providers’ integration solutions.
Reviews, analysts, and trusted advisors can help identify solid ERP vendors. Limit top picks to two or three, at max, and make sure they have a “successfully validated SAS 70 Type II audit” — this confirms the vendor has made security measures a priority.
CCS Technology is familiar with the top cloud ERP options available. Our approach includes getting a holistic picture of how your business works so we can make the right recommendation. We can also provide support during deployment, ensuring your new system is up and running without any glitches. Contact us today to learn more.