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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

Cloud ERP is Quickly Disrupting Every Midsize Business

Rudy Lukez
Director, ERP Product Marketing, Oracle

Moving your business from an on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to a modern cloud applications solution delivers a continuous flow of modern and beneficial changes for your entire organization.

As an example, next-generation capabilities like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer “next” generation; they are increasingly available now with modern cloud business applications. These technologies deliver a fundamental and positive shift in how you conduct your operations with the added benefit, in the case of AI and ML, of automatic, rapid, and continuous enterprise systems learning.

Cloud solutions also free up time spent on daily IT maintenance, regular system support, and large (and expensive) upgrade projects. Plus, companies gain the ability to generate new and deeper business insights with comprehensive and consistent real-time data. Most importantly, the benefits don’t stop after an initial deployment project because SaaS solutions are very dynamic driven by rapid innovation across all aspects of business processes and capabilities.

Cloud providers are constantly improving and upgrading their applications, giving businesses an inside track on new capabilities as they’re developed. That simply isn’t possible with on-premise applications, which are upgraded much less frequently, often with years and even decades between upgrades.

With these and so many other advantages, it’s mission critical for any organization interested in its future to transition from its current on-premise ERP system to SaaS business solutions.

And today, cloud adoption is not just the baseline for new and established firms, its rate of adoption is soaring. Consider how Gartner research notes that spending for cloud-based offerings will be faster than on-premise offerings through 2022, making it “one of the most disruptive forces in IT markets.”

Cloud: Better Solutions for Business Problems

Think beyond a cloud ERP solution not just as an investment in a new tool. With any complete and comprehensive SaaS solution, you’re changing the trajectory on how you compete and operate. Cloud applications provide huge efficiencies and can solve problems with newly available and rapidly evolving business solutions.

Here’s an example of how this change works with a common commercial freezer; a capital asset that could also include other equipment, large-scale industrial systems, and back-office functions like expense monitoring.

Consider a freezer full of food that utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT), a popular and fast-growing, next-generation technology. In this example, the IoT sensors for this freezer are designed to continuously access temperature data without humans recording and analyzing information on a clipboard. In this scenario, instead of spending hours monitoring reams of data after the fact, a cloud-based AI system monitors reams of data in real time and alerts appropriate staff and other systems only when it’s too warm or too cold, or perhaps detects another critical anomaly. The freezer system continually collects large volumes of real-time information on the unit, but data patterns and exceptions are quickly analyzed by AI using only relevant information. Rather than analyze every collected reading, this cloud-based AI-driven system can suggest steps to perform less-costly maintenance for preventing problems or quickly alert employees of critical problems that can ruin the inventory.

With SaaS applications, it is becoming increasingly common for AI and ML to be woven into multiple points across the cloud solution, including applications and infrastructure. That helps deliver predictive and prescriptive analytics, and process automation. These next-generation technologies provide operational efficiencies that are quickly becoming the norm. They also are part of internal and external customer-facing operations. In just a few years, chatbots (aka digital assistants) are truly more ubiquitous, for example, and that form of AI technology is quickly becoming an expected standard component of any service offerings.

Technology Marches Forward. So, Cloud ERP Continuously Improves

With SaaS-delivered ERP, you’re plugged into a system that continuously improves—not only adding new functionality but improving capabilities already in place with regular updates delivered multiple times per year.

Every quarter, your access to rapidly advancing technologies and better user interface designs increases. As reporting modules start to auto-populate, what once took four clicks may now require only two—so now all you need to do is confirm data fields for accuracy.

Another key aspect of today’s cloud systems: No one is sure where the next big advancement is coming from. Think about your experience of typing a phrase into a search bar (commonly called “type ahead”). Predictive text is constantly getting more accurate, even for obscure searches. What’s the next advancement around the corner? Having cloud-based systems puts businesses in the position to benefit because there is a good chance the next advancement will be in the next quarterly solution update.

But often more important than regularly added functionality is the fact that cloud-based systems dramatically reduce expensive administrative and system management burdens.

Updating from on-premise software to a cloud-based solution lets you separate yourself from the realities of constant upkeep, periodic functionality and security updates, maintenance, and hardware management that is part of every on-premise system. Instead, the cloud vendor maintains contact and the system continually undergoes automatic improvements with little to no involvement from your business.

Legacy systems, because of their last-century historical roots, typically rely on expensive third-party vendors for reporting, analytics, and other ancillary requirements. With cloud-based business solutions, there is no need for additional parties to work with your system to supply additional intelligence or efficiencies. Leading cloud solutions are a single vendor solution.

Get on a New Track

The shift to cloud-based, next-generation technology has developed its own gravitational pull, which no modern enterprise can ignore anymore. Adoption today means midsize businesses can competitively and economically access benefits quickly and get on track for the continual and growing stream of product improvements and technology advancements.

It is difficult, and essentially becoming impossible, for on-premise systems to do what cloud-based systems already deliver. The more quickly any business, regardless of industry, adopts new solutions, the easier it will be for them to keep up as this technology revolution not only continues forward but accelerates exponentially.

Because when a company falls behind in any critical capability, the consequences are never good. So mitigate this real risk to your business by embracing all the current and future advantages of today’s cloud solutions.

For more insight on the expectations midsize and medium companies should place on modern ERP systems, download our newest Aberdeen report.

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