Studying clouds: Know what you're gazing at before an ERP move
Cloud ERP adoption is a slippery thing to gauge, let alone accomplish. It doesn't help that the cloud label covers a huge variety of deployment models that differ in critical ways. For example, multi-tenant SaaS is the purest form of cloud because it's generally the most standardized, the cheapest and the easiest to maintain. But it might be the worst choice for a manufacturer whose on-premises ERP customizations blend the secret sauce that its most loyal customers have come to expect.
Yet some cloud varieties are so alike on the surface that differences can be hard to discern. Single-tenant SaaS resembles private cloud in that it is fairly customizable and has much of the same data privacy and security features. Some ERP vendors, in fact, loosely refer to their single-tenant SaaS ERP as their private-cloud offering.
In such cases, a deeper dive is needed to find the differences that will make all the difference. CIOs might then have to weigh two closely balanced deployment options to decide, for instance, that the hassles of maintaining a private cloud on premises outweigh the partial loss of control in delegating responsibility for that infrastructure to a third-party cloud provider.
This handbook provides a workable understanding of cloud ERP options and trends that can help fine-tune your decision. First, we detail the three main cloud ERP adoption choices and delve into the thought processes of several ERP users. Next, we explore the special advantages of SaaS ERP during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for SMBs, which usually have modest IT budgets even in the best of times. Finally, we provide a short history of how cloud ERP adoption has progressed over the past two decades, beginning with the era of comprehensive -- and on-premises -- ERP mega-suites to the first SaaS ERP to the explosion in cloud infrastructure and application options that led to today's rich menu of choices.
Migrating ERP systems to the cloud has probably never been more urgent, yet current financial conditions are hardly ideal. Working smarter, not harder, with the necessary knowledge is the order of the day.