Today’s business environments are comparable to the old spinning plate trick on the Ed Sullivan Show from the 1960s. We all remember the famous scene, Erich Brenn running back and forth frantically keeping the plates spinning on each pole as the “Saber Dance” music plays in the background to enhance the drama. These plates in today’s parlance are the vast amounts of data that a business creates every day and keeping the entire engine running smoothly in terms of data analysis and security. ERP’s (Enterprise Resource Planning) were devised in recent years to tackle the running of day-to-day operations in the office in terms of data, hardware, and software used by team members.
Original ERP Methods
Traditionally, ERP’s were run in local servers located in a separate room under carefully controlled conditions. Fans were running non-stop to keep the servers cool under heavy load as IT members hoped the day wouldn’t come for a server failure. IT departments worth their salt always had a backup server running in tandem just in case of this very scenario happening. But what of the ones that didn’t? No backups meant that the entire engine goes down and all of the data along with it, truly a Defcon One moment.
Another issue with the old ERP methods with local servers and infrastructure was tied into system updates. When the system needed updating, the entire office had to wait until all the updates were completed before logging back in and finishing whatever they were working on. This can be maddening to experience when the team is busy and vital work needs to get done on a timetable. This slowdown also extended to new software being installed as the software had to be installed network-wide as IT members had to roll the installation out to each computer. Sometimes, IT techs had to manually install the software to each individual computer and we all know how much time and effort that takes up. Security was also a risk as IT members were constantly scanning for viruses and attacks to the system. To sum up the old experience with ERP’s, things were working well but there was always worry that something would slow things down.
Cloud services started showing up around 20 years ago and the rollout was quite small as cloud storage spaces were not adequate for ERP use. As the years have gone by, technological advances have made cloud technology a viable option for enterprises to use. What started out as extra storage space for users 20 years ago has evolved into a complete ERP solution in today’s enterprise environment.
Cloud computing services have entered the fray with ERP systems to handle most size companies and data load. The recent addition of fiber data lines has amplified internet speeds to stratospheric levels with ping times nearly non-existent. This fact coupled with the multitude of cloud service providers has opened the doors to cloud-based enterprise resource planning solutions.
Cloud services companies offer great security for data use and integration with some companies such as Google Cloud offering automatic encryption of all data that is stored on their cloud servers. This fact alone takes some of the onus off of the IT department as they can breathe a little easier knowing that the data is safe in the Cloud.
Storage In The Cloud
The great thing about using a cloud-based ERP is that it’s scalable to your data load. The company is looking towards an extremely busy quarter coming up? The company can scale the storage up to meet demand. The options for this are endless and instead of being stuck on a hard cap for data on a contract basis, you can scale up or down as the business sees fit.
The Cloud is always ON
Access to cloud applications and data are available almost instantly and it can be accessed from any device that’s logged into the Cloud. Remote access for team members on the move, whether it’s a faraway hotel or from home is a solid reality with quick access to pertinent data. This also extends to updates and software installations as both can be rolled out in the background with no disruption to the team workload. Data migration to the cloud from on-site servers runs extremely fast and is a simple process overall.
ERP Cloud Maintenance
The great thing about using the Cloud ERP as a service is that all maintenance is done by the vendor. They handle the hosting for the data, they maintain the hardware to run the ERP services, and can run data integration with API’s. ERP software maintenance is also handled by the cloud vendor which takes the load off of the IT department.
Downtimes Are a Rarity In The Cloud
Because of the Cloud architecture and always-on capability, it’s rare for the Cloud to go down for any reason. In the rare times that the Cloud does go down, the enterprise can simply use an on-site ERP with local servers as a backup just in case.
Companies that are still using the old methods of ERP are shortchanging their operational capabilities. The constant fear of having something go wrong is always there and the risk for possible failure or slowdown is too great to ignore. The added workload to the IT department in maintaining the old-style of ERP management takes their focus away from other issues that need addressing such as network security and maintaining system uptime. The Cloud renders most of these issues almost obsolete with the advantages that it brings to the table. Data security and integrity are a non-issue when using the Cloud and access to the Cloud is always-on and ready to go. Software updates and installations run in the background to achieve maximum uptime and minimal stress. Cloud storage can be scaled up or down as the business merits it and the IT department is freed up to focus on bigger issues and strengthened overall network security. As you can see, upgrading to a cloud-based erp system is a sound business strategy to implement.