Black Swans and Forcing Functions for Cloud Manufacturing Software

May 3, 2012
By Edmund Tee

ERP Security - Black SwanNobody likes a forcing function. But sometimes, it takes one of those to compel action.

In today’s blog, I wanted to touch on how a made-to-order manufacturer finally decided to commit to moving their ERP to the cloud after a black swan event that has shaken up the organization. This was a tip-off that we received from one of the Cloud ERP vendors that we partner with.

So – how is this manufacturer currently managing the many complex and distributed ways its business is running?

With pen and paper. Seriously. Good old-fashioned pen. And paper.

Could have, should have, gone with SaaS

Here’s the backstory. The manufacturer’s previous on-premise ERP system had been hacked, which disrupted its ability to function and exposed its business to significant risks. To add insult to injury, the hacker or hackers encrypted all of the compromised files and data, effectively locking the manufacturer out of them.

With no other means to continue operations, the company has had to resort to the technologically primitive stopgap measure of taking orders, managing manufacturing, and ensuring fulfillment with paper forms – and lots of legwork, calls, and faxing.

Starting over with SaaS

At the same time, its team has had to rebuild. So they are now reviewing a new SaaS ERP solution because in their minds, not only would this mean less work for their IT people, it would even be more SECURE than their previous on-premise set up.

And while they are planning a cloud ERP system from the ground up, they are also taking the opportunity to load up on a few extras.

On top of the accounting package with BOM, inventory control, OE, Purchase Order and payroll modules, they are also planning for future upgrades such as bar code functionality and serial number allocation to the BOM to minimize errors, as well as a way to create RFQ’s in the purchasing module that would convert the RFQ into a new PO.

Conclusion – Changing Views of Security

Perceptions around security and Cloud ERP and SaaS have come a long way. Four years ago, security perceptions were the number one reason that customers elected not to go to the Cloud. In a 2010 Aberdeen research survey, the desire to control upgrades surpassed security as the number one concern for ERP buyers. As more articles on cloud ERP security are published, customers are overcoming inaccurate perceptions of security. Advice to companies with on-premise servers – perhaps it might not be a bad idea to start planning for a transition to a Cloud ERP solution before a black swan comes a-calling!

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One Response to “ Black Swans and Forcing Functions for Cloud Manufacturing Software ”

  1. Brett Beaubouef on May 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you for the insight. I am excited about Cloud ERP, yet I like to take a balanced approach to determine potential fit.



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