Azzure IT is a Sheffield based IT company offering a range of awesome Microsoft solutions. We invited them to chat to us about ERP. Enterprise Resource Planning solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV are pushing the boundaries of business software and pioneering new ways to increase their usability and appeal in a better way. Companies invest billions of dollars into research and development of their business software, which has led to the pioneering companies taking their solution on to the cloud.
So, what is ‘The Cloud’? Well, the very definition describes it as: “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer”.
There has undoubtedly been a lot of buzz around ‘The Cloud’ in recent years, but can you really trust your entire business to be ran this way? We believe that you can, and probably should… and here’s why:
• Greater flexibility. A cloud-based ERP solution offers users greater flexibility in terms of how to use the product. Accessing the solution through any web-enabled device means that you can use the solution on the move, from anywhere in the world. We have received tremendous praise from sales personnel, for example, who are able to enter real-time data whilst out in the field. This not only saves on time, but also increases productivity. What’s more, the Cloud has facilitated easier transfer between ERP providers and even changing between ERP solutions.
• Reduced costs. When talking about costs, there are benefits to be seen both in terms of a lower upfront investment, as well as on-going operating costs, which is likely to be a priority benefit for SME’s who can now access cutting edge technology much more affordably. Lower upfront costs result by avoiding the need for initial hardware investment. As well, Cloud-based ERP lowers operating costs for energy, maintenance, configuring, upgrades, and other IT staff costs and efforts since there is no longer need for expensive in-house support. Since payments are made monthly, businesses can also better manage their cash flow and produce savings that can then be re-invested to fund business growth.
• Rapid Implementation. This is generally considered to be one of the top advantages of taking a cloud based solution. Traditional implementations can take weeks or even months for larger organisations. The advent of ‘the cloud’ has allowed ERP products to become more standardised, and rolled out in a much more efficient manner as bottlenecks are removed. Cloud hosted ERP solutions can be installed in just a few days, which in turn reduces the overall cost.
• Scalability. As well as a faster time to implement and a much speedier return on investment, a hosted solution is also inherently much more scalable. Thus, opening up the market even further to start-up companies & SME’s who would previously have viewed ERP systems as being something only the big corporations could afford. The ability to now add and remove users to the system on demand, as well as ‘packaging’ up the system into different areas of functionality mean that, for example, a company can start with a basis one user finance system, and then upgrade as the company grows without the need to continually change systems – the company gets the huge benefit of using a world-leading ERP software with all the functionality they could ever need, right from the very beginning at a reasonable price.
• More reliable & secure. Believe it or not, having your ERP system hosted elsewhere can result in an overall more reliable system (assuming your internet connection is just as reliable). Datacentres will back up your data daily, as well as having state of the art server technology to make sure things run as quickly as possible, and also have fail-safe switch overs to keep you up and running just in case your primary server should go down – a massive cost saving benefit. Not to mention the usual fire safety and security measures that are in place. Heavily secured datacentres will keep your business critical data as secure as possible, and much more so than an on premise server which could be corrupted, stolen or damaged at huge cost.