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What are the top five cloud ERP benefits? A use case review

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Cloud ERP projects are not miraculous cure-alls. But looking back on the last year’s use cases, there are notable benefits across vendors and projects. 

There is still considerable debate about what cloud ERP means – both from a functional scope and architectural perspective. Many vendors placed under the “cloud ERP” umbrella rarely compete against each other. Some reject or downplay the term.

There are reasons to consider an on-premises ERP solution, not the least of which is functionality.

Still, there are cloud ERP themes worth exploring. Some criteria that could be imposed are:

  • Benefits must be from my use cases from the last 9 months (or so).
  • Benefits must surface across multiple use cases.
  • Some of the vendors mentioned are diginomica partners, one is not. I will keep vendor mentions to a minimum to focus on themes.

Top five cloud ERP benefits

1. Simplifying tools improves adoption – and streamlines processes. Many customers were using a collection of scattershot tools, making daily tasks complicated. Converging work onto a cloud ERP system with a practical – if not always beautiful – interface helps. From a panel of non-profit customers at Intacct Advantage, Mizmun Kusairi, Vice President, Strategy & Finance at GuideStar said:

We wanted to delay our audit and our 990 filing, because I thought our accounting and finance team needed a new solution… We were using a really outdated on-premise system that people had to take turns logging into. When someone was in it, someone else would say, “I can’t get that report to you Miz, because Terry’s using that system now”… It’s just having that real-time access in a cloud-based system, accessible from everywhere. (Non-profits speak to their mission, and why cloud ERP matters).

2. A single source of truth allows for problem solving rather than spreadsheet chaos. “Single source of truth” is an exaggeration for most. Usually a couple other systems of record are still in play. But “towards a single source of truth” is still a result.

Stacey Rohrbaugh and her team at Lendkey Technologies were in their own version of spreadsheet hell. LendKey’s homegrown system had served them pretty well, but growing pains exposed the problem. Rohrbaugh:

In 2014, it just became so clunky with everything being in spreadsheets. Download this, export this, marry it all here… We started getting investors who were asking for economic loan information. “What is your acquisition cost? What is your profitability on this asset class?” We simply couldn’t do that just by tracking everything in Excel. (How LendKey created a different kind of loan business – with a cloud ERP engine).

For LendKey, an Acumatica customer, cloud ERP put them on a better path. She credits the new system with landing some big clients:

The reason we’re able to do that is we now have fancy robust reporting, and we can tell [clients] their return on acquisition. We now have all the metrics with their portfolio performance, their borrower information. I think it’s helped us in the sales process of getting future clients.

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