Practical steps to follow when running cloud-based ERP systems

Plan carefully before you implement a cloud ERP system

Manufacturing ERP systems have been slow to move to the cloud, yet an increasing number of manufacturers are feeling more comfortable with the idea of implementing cloud ERP systems.

Still, they have to exercise caution before moving to a cloud ERP system. The very nature of the cloud's ease of access leads many organizations -- deceived by cloud computing's apparent simplicity -- to adopt the cloud before fully vetting the issues. Instead, these companies need to prepare for cloud ERP system implementation the same way they would for an on-premises system. The most important step is to map business processes to see where they can be improved by moving to a cloud ERP system.

First and foremost, let's clear up some of the confusion surrounding available cloud options. The cloud is more than just putting on-premises applications on a vendor's data center; it's dynamic and based on next-generation services. Cloud options include public, private, multi-tenant (shared infrastructure), single tenant and hybrid (whereby some services move to the cloud and some stay on-premises).

The hybrid options can be among the most attractive for manufacturers that are wary of putting their entire infrastructure in the cloud. A hybrid system usually requires a primary cloud ERP system provider, while other tasks, including logistics, warehouse management and payroll, are kept on premises. The main challenge of putting together a hybrid system is data integration, which requires careful planning upfront before system implementation. Be sure you know your goals and the right way to get there.

This handbook by freelance technology writer Lauren Gibbons Paul provides the practical lessons you need to follow before implementing a cloud ERP system.