The application of cloud computing to enterprise resource planning platforms is a popular topic for many different industries. The idea of eliminating the need for on-site information storage and reducing the burden on IT workers is attractive, especially for smaller businesses that may not have a full-fledged department to help manage the technological aspects of operations. While the future possibilities of the cloud are certainly exciting, companies shouldn't let the excitement over the cloud obfuscate the overall point of ERP software: reducing costs and improving operational efficiency.
Business 2 Community recently highlighted the developments in cloud ERP, with many major vendors beginning to offer such systems or working on making them a reality. The interest in such platforms likely stems from the agility that they provide as compared to more monolithic, all-in-one systems. Companies that have a wide variety of operational needs, such as manufacturing and warehousing enterprises, are always on the lookout for ways to improve their day-to-day and long-term functions. However, there's an option that's already been fine-tuned and offers the same advantages of adaptability and agility: modular ERP.
Consider function, not fads
There's no doubt that cloud ERP will provide plenty of benefits to organizations when it's been tested and implemented – after the bugs have been worked out, so to speak. The first generation of cloud ERP, especially all-inclusive systems where every function is handled through cloud computing and storage, may present the problems that face many new technologies, such as compatibility and unforeseen bugs, however. Companies that want to add or upgrade ERP should consider instead a component-based system that provides customizable functionality. The individual modules used can provide a variety of mobile functions, including work floor and warehouse inventory counting, without fully vesting into a new and relatively untested technology.
Research from Gartner discussed by consulting firm Culex points out the continuing development of ERP. Businesses that thought the large, end-to-end ERP systems were going to be the end of such software development were wrong, as modular and cloud-based solutions continue to take up more of a market share. Future developments will likely lead to more cloud functionality in component-based ERP, as individual modules or groups of them will benefit from the addition of remote information transmission and storage. In the meantime, Companies that want to become more agile should consider going modular.
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