Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions offer significant benefits for businesses. For small businesses, however, ERP tools may seem out of reach. Despite growing data volumes and varieties, the “enterprise” nature of these tools often makes them time- and cost-intensive to integrate and operate. Cloud-based ERP can help bridge the gap by providing key functionality without adding complexity.
What Is Cloud ERP?
Cloud ERP solutions shift the functions of on-premise enterprise resource planning off site to streamline and centralize operations.
Where traditional ERP systems rely on internal networks and servers to help companies better manage customer relationships, inventory levels, supply chains, accounting and recruiting operations, cloud-based solutions allow businesses to decouple these functions from internal systems. This approach reduces stress on internal systems and makes it possible for companies to eliminate the common problem of data “silos,” since cloud-based data can be accessed anytime, anywhere, with the right user permissions.
How Does Cloud ERP Benefit Small Businesses?
While small businesses often lack the budget for large IT teams, the ongoing shift to digital-first frameworks means that they’re now processing data volumes more typical of large organizations. As a result, SMBs need ERP solutions capable of keeping pace with this data deluge — without breaking the bank.
Cloud-based ERP tools offer key benefits for small businesses, including:
- Ease of implementation: Cloud ERP solutions are deployed and implemented using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, meaning SMBs don’t need to worry about installing these tools across local desktops and mobile devices.
- Clear operating costs: Costs in the cloud are upfront. They typically combine per-seat costs per user with usage-based billing that reflects the number of resources used per month. This operating expense-based model means minimal capital expenditure is required to get clouds up and running.
- Improved accessibility: Because cloud-based services function as connected applications, users can access ERP tools anytime, anywhere, on any device. IT teams, meanwhile, gain the ability to set permissions on a per-user basis to improve overall security.
- Enhanced scalability: Cloud-based ERP solutions can be scaled up or down on demand to meet businesses’ needs. This doesn’t require any prior notice to providers — SMBs simply use what they need, when they need it and are billed accordingly.
- Streamlined upgrades: Software upgrades are handled automatically in the cloud. Instead of taking individual machines offline to complete and test upgrades, providers are responsible for functional, security and operation upgrade processes that offer minimal business disruption.
Making the Move
Considering the move to cloud-based ERP? From open-source solutions to fully managed systems and everything in-between, there’s no shortage of ERP options for SMBs.
As a result, finding the right provider is critical for ERP success. Look for companies with a track record of effective implementation and solid results backed by customer testimonials. It’s also worth partnering with providers capable of customizing your cloud ERP rather than simply delivering a one-size-fits all solution.
Bottom line, cloud ERP software may offer significant benefits for SMBs. With the right platform and the right provider, it’s possible for small businesses to boost operational impact without breaking the bank.