Cloud ERP and CRM are changing the way thousands of businesses manage their processes and customer relationships. Cloud technology cuts costs, improves flexibility and reduces maintenance burdens.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your ERP or CRM and moving to the cloud, it’s important to consider your needs, decide if cloud technology is right for you and then understand what kinds of systems exist. Know the landscape and make the best upgrade decision possible.
Does The Cloud Make Sense For Me?
If you’re thinking about moving to a cloud ERP or CRM solution, carefully think about your IT situation. What do you need to succeed, and what obstacles are you currently facing? You should think about moving to the cloud when you:
- Must reduce IT costs.
- Require collaboration across multiple locations.
- Need to manage a rapidly growing workforce.
- Need to reduce IT capital funding.
- Must replace dated IT infrastructure.
- Want off-site support.
- Don’t forget: Going to the cloud requires the same strategy, tactics and attention to detail as bringing in a new on-premise solution.
- While cloud solutions are usually easier and more cost-effective, complacency is always a recipe for disaster.
What’s Out There?
If you’ve determined that cloud ERP and/or CRM software is right for you, the next step is identifying a solution that meets your needs.
The cloud benefits ERP software immensely. Every day, more companies are switching from on-premise systems to cloud-based ones, taking advantage of greater flexibility, improved security measures and more accessibility.
Choosing a cloud ERP, however, requires in-depth research and a strong understanding of your organization’s scale, operations and needs. A single ERP vendor might offer multiple software versions, but chances are only one is optimal for your organization’s workflow and structure. Ensure that you are well prepared for the buying process by reviewing your systems, processes and challenges in detail and identifying priorities before researching your options.
For example, Microsoft’s popular cloud ERP solution, Dynamics™, comes in four different versions: AX, GP, NAV and SL. While all four share common user benefits – such as built-in accounting services, integration with other Microsoft applications and detailed reporting – each is designed with a specific type of organization in mind. A complex manufacturing company with hundreds of employees and multifaceted inventory would benefit most from AX; a more project-focused company might consider the leaner SL; and a company specializing in e-commerce and distribution should consider GP.
The cloud empowers CRM software by making critical information accessible at any time, from anywhere. Identify a system that provides real-time information that could affect a prospective or in-progress sale. Chances are your sales specialists require access to important customer or product information in the field, especially if they’re dealing with product stock that fluctuates highly or may be subject to recall. Look for a system that sends company-wide notifications to users’ mobile devices.
Ultimately, a cloud-based system that includes ERP, CRM, web capabilities and other management processes improves integration between all software services and drives efficiency. Find a comprehensive system that is built around a single customer record, incorporating sales orders, customer support, accounting, shipping and billing, and that reports critical data in real time.
If you’re interested in moving your ERP, CRM or other software to the cloud, do your homework and identify the solution that works best for you. If you think you could benefit from guidance, consider talking to an industry expert who’s capable of helping you make the best possible decision.
Want to learn more about cloud ERP and CRM solutions? Read our free guide, Enter The Cloud: A Guide To Industry-Changing Technologies, to find out how the cloud is benefiting businesses around the world.