Transferring an entire ERP to the cloud is a massive and challenging task. Here’s how to make the job easier and less risky.
Moving ERP to the Cloud-As ERP providers shift their focus to cloud-based Software as a Service models, a growing number of enterprises are evaluating their current ERP solutions and wondering if now is the right time to transition from traditional on-premise solutions to the cloud.
Businesses are considering a move to the cloud to leverage new functionality, lower operating costs, improve scalability and speed and to more easily adapt to business changes, explains Paul Gaynor, global technology and alliance consulting leader at business consulting firm PwC.
If your organization has decided that it may be time to elevate its ERP applications to the cloud, you can ease the transition by following these seven steps:
1. Consider the potential benefits
As businesses strive to reduce complexity and increase productivity, there is an obvious appeal to migrating to the cloud, notes David Krauss, global ERP evangelist for FinancialForce, a provider of cloud-based financial applications. “The agility of cloud-based ERP systems allows for accelerated deployment, which is a huge benefit for companies that are rapidly scaling or expanding into new and emerging markets,” he explains.
Cloud-based applications also enable enterprises to rapidly standardize processes and reporting within new acquisitions or smaller subsidiaries, where on-premises solutions would typically take months, Krauss advises. Additionally, a cloud-based ERP allows immediate and easy access to new application features as soon as they become available “without the burden of complex, lengthy upgrades and data migrations,” he adds.
2. Begin planning
The best approach to moving ERP applications to the cloud is begin with discussion, forethought and planning. “You’ll need to look at your overall business workflow and operations,” says Ryan O’Ramsay Barrett, founder and CEO of ORAM Corporate Advisors, an IT consulting firm. “Employees on the front lines in each department can offer insights into processes, procedures, regular deadlines and operations that may impact your transition plan.”
Work to achieve an organization-wide buy in. “There are many misconceptions about moving to the cloud, including fears about security, access concerns and so on,” notes Rick Powers, a director in the operations excellence practice of West Monroe Partners, a multinational management and technology consulting firm. Spend time educating your organization on the benefits of a cloud solution, he recommends. “Ensure you have management’s complete buy in, as they will set the tone for the migration effort.”
3. Set a course
It’s important to develop strong business cases for anticipated business outcomes. “Then you can work with your vendor and consulting partner to get ready for the cloud by looking at the existing spend and how to convert [those funds] to SaaS, focused on your key business outcomes,” Gaynor advises. Also factor in the changes the cloud will bring to staff performance and agility. “Consider the upskilling opportunity to modernize the workforce while modernizing the technology landscape,” Gaynor proposes.