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Is your company suited to ERP in the cloud?

If you're a startup with simple data and don't require tons of customization, the cloud could be a perfect fit. Here are a few other qualities of the most cloud-compatible companies.

Not all organizations should move from on-premises business applications to software as a service. But the ones that should share some of the same characteristics, industry watchers say.

They're new. Starting from scratch means no legacy. Switching -- even from a cloud app -- is where much of the risk comes in.

They're in emerging, highly competitive sectors. Such organizations tend to be more open to the cloud as a competitive advantage. ERP in the cloud wasn't an option when most older companies started out.

They have generic processes. Companies whose value isn't derived from a largely ERP-driven process -- the way, for example, a tech manufacturer usually is -- can do fine with plain-vanilla software as a service.

Their data is uncomplicated. Apps such as email can be easily moved along with their data. Others raise data migration and compliance issues that are best avoided.

They require little customization. Taking applications largely as they come is a hallmark of software as a service.

Their demand for data is uniform. Software that hums along 24/7 won't benefit as much from the cloud's resource variability and might be cheaper to run internally.

The country or industry in which they operate is lightly regulated. Some countries are strict about where sensitive data must be physically stored. SaaS might not have servers in the needed locations.

They're in the service industry. Products managed and, in some cases, delivered digitally can more easily move to the cloud than goods -- physical or digital -- produced on complex, customized infrastructure.

They have workers across the globe. The cloud makes it easier to connect a far-flung workforce.

They have merged with other companies. ERP in the cloud can help integrate businesses, especially if one is already in the cloud.

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