Cloud Based ERP and Web-Based Software
The Cloud is everywhere. Almost every ERP vendor has announced some affiliation with or use of the cloud. In this article we describe how the cloud and web-based software work together to provide optimal ERP software solutions.
Cloud ERP software deployments
Deploying a software package to “the Cloud” can have several benefits. The two most obvious benefits are (1) scalability and (2) the ability to pay only for resources that you use.
Deploying on an external cloud also delivers benefits in the area of hardware outsourcing and pooling. An external cloud can shift capital expenses for organizations that prefer operational expenses from an accounting perspective.
So far, these facts are not new (they have been repeated in multiple publications).
Web-based ERP software deployments
When you utilize a web-based software solution, the benefits of the cloud increase exponentially. In addition to the savings that you achieve from the cloud, you eliminate client software to reduce deployment times and ongoing software maintenance. Web-based solutions also deliver centralized data that is always current and can be delivered to devices on any operating system.
In the case of ERP software, the benefits of web-based software greatly outweigh the benefits of a cloud deployment. Our previous article discusses the benefits of cloud, SaaS, and web-based software in more detail.
Vendor Caused Confusion
Many ERP software vendors are using “The Cloud” in marketing and sales pitches. This is good because it promotes technology and a new way of deploying applications that may benefit several organizations. This is bad because the Cloud means different things to different people.
The confusion has been introduced by vendors crediting the Cloud for advantages that are more accurately attributed to web-based software. As pointed out in an earlier article on cloud ERP versus hosted ERP, many vendors do not distinguish between web and cloud.
The Cloud without web-based Software
Several ERP vendors have announced cloud solutions that do not utilize web-based software. Infor, AccountMate, Sage, and others have delivered “cloud” software by deploying legacy software on a hosted virtual private server (VPS).
The best case scenario for this type of solution is one in which your ERP solution scales up and down during the course of a month – such as needing to add a server during a period of high usage. Unfortunately, this is a rare situation for most organizations. ERP systems experience resource peaks and valleys, but usually not to the degree which requires adding and removing server resources.
The other benefit delivered by “cloud” is case where an application requires only a small share of the resources on your casino online canada server. In this case a virtual private server can free up your hardware resources for other applications. Many IT departments deploy virtual servers to take advantage of this and reduce hardware costs. Most external cloud based ERP vendors deliver only the application, so the resource savings will only result in a slightly lower price or additional vendor profits.
The Cloud delivered from the ground up
Some companies developed new code to deliver a web-based cloud offerings. These include companies that started new product lines such as SAP ByDesign and Epicor as well as companies that started with web-based architectures such as NetSuite, Intacct, Plex, and Acumatica. These solutions provide the benefits of cloud with the addition of web-based benefits.
Why web-based is critical
Eliminating thick PC clients provides a huge savings both initially and with ongoing maintenance. Web-based software can deliver a rich user experience without client software so organizations can implement faster and pay less for maintenance. In addition, the web provides cross platform compatibility, simplified remote access, and the ability to add and remove users.
An ERP solution that is “on the cloud” by being hosted and accessed using a VPN or client software is benefiting from the cloud bandwagon but not achieving the true benefits of Cloud Based ERP. These benefits include remote access, ease of deployment, cross platform compatibility, and lower maintenance costs.