ERP in the cloud offers a low cost, high performance alternative to on-premise enterprise software – with less effort and risk. Today’s cloud ERP solutions securely and reliably deliver all the capabilities manufacturers need to improve response time, meet compliance requirements, increase customer satisfaction and drive measurable performance.

Cloud-based solutions and services are easy to deploy, integrate and upgrade — and they don’t require additional investment in IT infrastructure and staff. Cloud ERP offers high availability and predictable expense, helping you minimize your risk while maximizing return on investment. Bringing your business into the cloud can be especially beneficial for businesses that anticipate rapid growth, have limited IT infrastructure, seasonal spikes or multiple locations. Cloud solutions also free up your existing IT resources to focus on key high-value business initiatives.

Cloud ERP may not be a fit for every business – and on-premise ERP is not going away. Still, cloud is a key consideration in any ERP strategy. A cost-benefit analysis can help determine if cloud is right for you. Often, a guided analysis uncovers hidden costs that can be easily eliminated with a cloud ERP solution.

10 considerations Strategic recommends for your cloud ERP strategy:

1) Time to migrate or upgrade: When your system is at the point in the ERP lifecycle where you’re considering an upgrade or migration, it’s a great time to rethink your ERP strategy and consider moving to the cloud.

2) Industry-specific requirements: Recently, ERP SaaS adoption has picked up considerably in life sciences and other sectors that require strong compliance capabilities. Be careful though — not all cloud ERP solutions provide compliance capabilities. QAD Cloud ERP does offer a single tenant, private cloud solution that is unique in the industry.

3) Infrastructure tradeoffs: By limiting the need for extensive IT infrastructure, cloud ERP can help reduce network costs. Considerations include compliance, security and ensuring adequate bandwidth and Internet access.

4) Know your clouds: The two major types of clouds are: private, for the exclusive use of an organization, which is typically single tenant; and public, multi-tenant. Companies can only maintain change control of their cloud environment in a private, single tenant cloud environment.

5) Consider a hybrid approach: Another option is for companies to use a combination of on premise and cloud ERP. A recent Forrester survey of 2,403 IT decision-makers showed that 10% of planned implementations will use cloud ERP to complement on premise ERP.

6) Cost considerations: One reason cloud ERP is an economical solution for small-and-medium-size businesses or start-up companies is relatively low initial TCO. Implementation, consulting and overall acquisition costs are all more affordable.

7) Accessibility needs: Cloud ERP provides tremendous flexibility in terms of enabling user access anytime, anywhere.

8) IT resources: Even with all the right skill-sets, on premise ERP requires far more resources than a cloud deployment. For many, the convenience of cloud deployment helps the IT team extend their reach and capability.

9) Customizations: Industries where there are highly complex operations public multi-tenant cloud environments may not be a good fit due to the level of customization that may be required. Private cloud ERP, such as QAD’s solution, is best suited to enterprises that need a high degree of customization.

10) Fast time to value: Faster deployment means faster return on investment (ROI) from system and process improvements.