Point solutions that work in the cloud are good at doing one thing. They fill one need. So as companies grow, they encounter problems along the way. In order not to derail that growth, they go out and find a solution―quick.
Problem solved. Or is it? What about the impact for the future? Will the connectors break as updates are pushed out? Does all the data residing in one system make it over to the other system? Do all your customer records make it from your cloud Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cloud system? Does that fact keep you up at night?
As you grow, the amalgamation of point solutions you have brought on begin to add less and less value. You need a connected set of solutions to bring the trust back and get some sleep at night.
The Trouble with Integration ERP Cloud Point Solutions
Integrating a variety of point solutions can be challenging. Keeping those integration points operable can be more challenging, making the idea of a connected system complex and difficult to achieve. Therefore, out comes the spreadsheets (and believe it or not calculators, pen, and paper).
At the root of the problem is how each point solution is designed. Each application has a way of interacting with other systems, and the skill sets required to manage different applications’ integration capabilities span beyond what most small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) can handle. Usually, a problem is only discovered when processes begin to break down.
That is far from ideal. No one wants to identify and address a problem after the worst possible scenario has come to pass. Therefore, here are three indications that it is time for your high-growth business to switch to a fully-integrated ERP Cloud:
- SYSTEM UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS ARE GETTING PUSHED TO THE BACK BURNER, DUE TO THE ASSOCIATED COST AND DISRUPTION. Many high-growth companies' on-premises systems fall short of what is needed to accelerate and sustain growth. Functionality that is needed now may not be available for another six months, and then there may be hesitancy about going through with the upgrade to access it. Upgrading on-premises systems or adding new users is disruptive and expensive, so many within your SMB may downplay the need to do it. Workarounds are developed. Spreadsheets are dusted off. Also, high-growth companies may not have the resources to implement and manage the new version, preventing both employees and customers from accessing the information they need.
- BACKUPS, SERVER FAILURES, MALWARE, AND DATA SECURITY ARE CONSTANT WORRIES. It is a significant business risk when financial data is housed in a single point solution on a single server, while supplementary information resides in other applications and/or spreadsheets. Your business would face a catastrophe of epic proportions if that one system failed or was breached. Other major concerns are malware attacks and data theft, which are not just a large corporation problem. How quickly could your business recover if a server went down and the company had to revert to a backup?
- THE TIME NEEDED FOR UPGRADING IS A DETERRENT GIVEN AN UNCERTAIN RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Most hardware has three to five years of useful life. Most software has one to three years of useful life. In today’s rapidly changing environment, it is recommended to use three years for both the hardware and software refresh cycle. So every three years additional time and effort are needed to reassess the core business requirement and restructure business processes. Only then can the upgrade of the infrastructure, hardware, and software begin. Funding these upgrades requires significant working capital, without any assurance that an acceptable return on investment (ROI) can be achieved. When this is the situation, it often feels safer to “embrace the devil you know,” and muddle along with existing systems and processes—even if everyone recognizes that they are holding the company back.
The cost to re-implement and upgrade to new versions of the application and underlying infrastructure is typically included in cloud service offerings, making integration not nearly as challenging as most small-to-medium (SMB) executives think.