As the offerings of cloud-service providers become ever more reliable, secure, and advanced, it’s worth considering if you should take your ERP system and other key business applications to the cloud. The cloud offers unparalleled advantages in application availability, collaboration, resource management, and cost control. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Business anywhere, anytime, on any device
One of the most valuable advantages of the cloud is its global and permanent availability. When you can access the internet, you can get into the cloud. Once your ERP systems and business-critical applications are in the cloud, any authorized user can access them anytime, from anywhere, using any connected device. Your business processes can run without needless interruptions. You can perform business tasks without having to go anywhere, wait for a company office in another time zone or region to open, or use a specifically prescribed type of device. Instead, you use the device you are most comfortable with at the time you want to accomplish your tasks. That, of course, includes mobile users and their devices. To-Increase is already developing and offering mobile solutions that use the Microsoft Azure bus to connect mobile workers through the cloud to the ERP infrastructure.
2. Flexible implementation model and cost structure
When you deploy software in the cloud, you change the cost model to your advantage—instead of software client licenses for a solution, you pay for the capabilities you need to access when employees require them. You can add functionality as the business requires. Modern, modular software design such as To-Increase performs is making it easier to support discrete tasks and processes, so businesses can reap the benefits of the capabilities they need and are not required to purchase functionality that is less valuable for them.
3. Scalable, flexible resources
Of course, software is only part of what you can reach through the cloud. There are many other resources available to you. For example, you can work with your cloud hosting service or other technology provider to extend your internal IT team with specific expertise in certain areas. You can also connect with companies that provide professional services or consulting, or that may perform special tasks you need for a certain time—campaign response and fulfillment, call centers, localization, and lots more. You can enjoy greater flexibility in your resource planning and can make changes in capacities and resource engagements with a very short turn-around, prompted by your business requirements.
4. Streamlined IT administration
Your IT department may well be the first business group to benefit from the cloud. Through your cloud-service provider, you receive software updates, patches, and upgrades as part of your contract. That is one task load you can remove from your IT team, freeing people for more valuable tasks. If your company is considering a major technology change, such as deploying a new ERP system, you can set up a pilot project through the cloud and closely evaluate a solution before you implement it business-wide.
5. Easy, real-time collaboration
By definition, the social media and collaboration technologies we access as we do business—such as Yammer or SharePoint within the company, or LinkedIn and Twitter outside of it—live in the cloud. When your ERP is also there, you can take advantage of the synergies and new integrations between the ERP system and collaborative and social channels. Employees and teams anywhere are having an easier time to share images and documents, discuss concerns in real time, and resolve issues. They can create more connected, more collaborative teams, and draw on intracompany expertise and innovative thinking that might otherwise be barred. Analysts have found that companies, when they take full advantage of the cloud in their business processes and communications, can invite innovation and shorten the time between defining a process and putting it into practice.
6. Substantial cost savings
Finally, the cloud is economical. As mentioned, you save licensing costs. But you also generate savings because you do not need to make the same investments in servers and networking equipment than if your applications remained on-premise. You also can cut much of the spending the company would have incurred to protect data, applications, and technologies from unauthorized access or disastrous events. Your cloud-service provider’s data center infrastructure incorporates multiple layers of data protection, redundancy, and physical safeguards in line with strict industry standards.
As To-Increase has developed cloud solutions that work on the Microsoft Azure bus and use the Windows 8 and HTML5 platforms, it will be fascinating to watch what our customers accomplish by means of the cloud and how they apply their creativity and innovation to it. We are interested to hear about your experiences and feedback, so please get in touch.
Do you want to get started today? Start your transformation into the cloud today with our free whitepaper.