Countdown to AX 7: Top 10 reasons for cloud deployment

Aug 19, 2015 6:00:00 AM


What does the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX, launched in the cloud first, supported with industry-specific functionality and apps from To-Increase, mean for businesses? In addition to cost savings and efficiencies, improved scalability and security, extending ERP into a collaborative environment will open many opportunities for companies and their customers and trading partners. Recent reporting on the state of ERP confirms that more and more businesses understand that ERP in the cloud is to their advantage. Here’s a summary of the main reasons cloud-based ERP is a good thing.

Multisite ERP projects and cloud deployments on the increase

The recently released 2015 ERP Report by Panorama Consulting Solutions, the widely respected ERP consulting organization, provides a fascinating snapshot of companies’ experiences with their ERP systems. Manufacturers, by the way, represent 43 percent of the respondents to the survey that the report is based on.

85 percent of the companies surveyed implemented ERP systems at multiple locations, and almost a third of them deployed ERP across four or five manufacturing sites, offices, distribution centers, or other places of business. That would favor cloud-based over on-premise deployments. In 2014, 85 percent of the companies reported an on-premise implementation. In the current overview, that number has gone down dramatically, to 56 percent. 44 percent take advantage of cloud-based ERP, including software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

The companies deciding against cloud ERP indicated that, other than not being well-informed regarding ERP cloud solutions, they were mostly concerned about the risks of data loss and security breaches. Panorama points out that according to its experience, those are misconceptions, and that today’s cloud solutions are typically reliable and secure.

These findings highlight the opportunity for ERP providers and ISVs in delivering cloud-based solutions. The upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX, known as AX 7, will be available for public and private cloud deployments before the on-premise version reaches the market. It will also be designed for productive mobility, with a consistent application experience across mobile devices as well as standard desktop and laptop computers.

Cloud ERP’s greatest breakthroughs

Why do we think ERP in the cloud is such a good idea? Here are the main reasons.

#1. ERP everywhere, all the time

You can access ERP functionality and data from any device, any location, at any time. Responsive design enables consistent cross-device productivity.

#2. Cost savings

You don’t need to purchase software licenses or additional hardware, and you may be able to reduce your administrative overhead as well. If your line of business is manufacturing or construction and running a data center is not part of your mission, the cloud lets you focus on what matters most. The savings can be substantial. In the Panorama Consulting survey, 56 percent of the companies that went for cloud ERP reported savings of 41 to 60 percent compared to on-premise deployment.

#3. Ready for use

There is no longer a need for a lengthy ERP deployment of many months. When your ERP provider readies the solution, your users can access it. Your time-to-value is a fraction of what it might have been with a traditional, on-premise implementation.

#4. Simple upgrades

Solution upgrades and enhancements are similarly uncomplicated. Your IT team does not have to perform the testing and roll-outs. It’s part of the ERP service and, from the user perspective, takes place in the background. When the new software version or functionality is installed and configured at the ERP data center, it can be made available to users.

#5. Truly scalable

Compared to an on-premise deployment, the scalability and flexibility of cloud ERP is virtually unlimited. When you need to add individual users, new roles, business groups, or locations, your ERP provider can give them access to the solution. If you need additional functionality, turning on the right modules is a simple step. When an increase in workloads and transactions requires greater processing power and more data storage, the hosting data center can augment your allocations.

#6. Optimized for your industry

Along with Microsoft, To-Increase will deliver cloud-based capabilities for the industries and markets we support, including manufacturing, equipment rental, lease, architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies, and government contracting. In the cloud, it becomes very easy to provision your ERP environment with tested, reliable functionality that your industry and business processes require.

#7. Socially connected

Because social media are naturally cloud-based, ERP in the cloud has a great synergy with them. Users can enjoy the immediacy of drawing on their peers’ expertise or connecting with customers and partners, in the moment when it matters most.

#8. Safe

The security of your data and applications in the cloud can be both more stringent and flexible in accommodating different user groups than it might be on-premise. Because information protection is an overriding concern for most businesses, cloud providers commit huge resources to the security of their infrastructure and the integrity of data and solution. They also can incorporate your company’s specific security policies in the cloud. In any case, you gain enterprise-level security at a reasonable cost.

#9. Forum for collaboration

The cloud is the perfect vehicle for collaborating with your customers, vendors, and trading partners, especially when you can connect product lifecycle management (PLM) and other systems with your ERP solution. When you link ERP and the internet of things (IoT), much more becomes possible. The technology makes it easy to give the right parties secure access to, for example, IoT data that show how equipment and machinery perform under certain conditions, or how buildings and bridges hold up under use- and climate-related stress. People in different organizations can engage through cloud and social channels to improve architectural designs, co-innovate new products, or almost anything they set their mind to.

#10. Responsive to customers

The cloud makes it much easier to plan, build, and evolve systems of engagement that provide the high-quality, rich, digital customer experience your company may want to deliver. Without a huge drain on your budget and resources, you can connect, configure, and fine-tune the different technologies and data sources that are the building blocks of a system of engagement.

It wasn’t all good news in Panorama Consulting’s 2015 report. Only 37 percent of the included companies are satisfied with their ERP vendors, only 69 percent would choose their ERP software again, and only 58 percent of them consider their implementation a success. It’s unfortunate that companies still expend resources and efforts on ERP projects that don’t deliver for them. However, with more usable, flexible, and powerful ERP, optimized for specific industries and business models, and with the resilience and scalability of the cloud, we can dismantle those sad statistics.

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If you have any feedback or questions, or want to talk about cloud infrastructure planning, I’d love to talk with you. Get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.


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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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