A Guide for Enterprise Department Heads to Align on Choosing the Best Cloud-Based ERP Vendor for the Business
According to market research, the global cloud ERP market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. When choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, it is important to consider factors such as industry fit, ease of use, scalability, and features and functionalities that are relevant to your business needs.
When looking for a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, the choices are endless. The ERP marketplace is packed with vendors that claim to be the best cloud ERP provider. However, it’s important that you determine which solution is the right fit for your business. Below, we will run through the criteria for determining the best cloud-based ERP software for your business needs.
The End of “Traditional” ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)?
Finance applications and microservices will challenge Traditional ERP
ERP will be put to the test by finance applications and microservices. Big vendors like Oracle and SAP will need to be nimble to avoid becoming roadkill on the highway of change, in order to keep up with companies who embrace digital transformation and now expect much more than what a “traditional” can deliver. ERP vendors have already adopted digital technologies like automation, blockchain, and cognitive tools into their products—but that won’t stop competitors from competing. As new players enter the ERP space with specialized applications and microservices that sit on top of—and integrate with—ERP platforms, anticipate a change in the landscape. Adopting Cloud-based ERP will help companies stay ahead. Deloitte states;
Finance is entering a golden age of technology. As cloud becomes the norm for ERP, finance applications and microservices will proliferate. You’ll be able to drastically reduce the complexity and cost of technology, without sacrificing functionality.
What is Cloud-Based ERP Software?
Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a type of software that is accessed over the internet and is hosted on a provider’s cloud computing platform. It is typically delivered as a service and can be leased on a subscription basis, rather than being purchased and owned outright. Cloud-based ERP software is designed to provide advanced functionality for core organizational processes and can be used in a variety of industries. As the IT backbone of a company, cloud ERP software provides advanced functionality for all core organizational processes.
Hosted on a provider’s cloud computing platform, cloud ERP is typically delivered “as a service” (software-as-a-service or SaaS ERP). Instead of customers owning software, they lease it on an annual or monthly subscription basis. Without upfront hardware costs, the vendor takes care of application maintenance, upgrades and innovations, data storage, and security.
With cloud-based ERP growing in popularity, now is a great time to invest in this software:
The global Cloud ERP market is estimated to grow from USD 64.7 billion in 2022 to USD 130.0 billion by 2027, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.0% during the forecast period.
According to Global Cloud ERP Market Report 2022 to 2027
What’s the ‘Best’ Cloud ERP software?
Every business will have different criteria for determining what makes the best-fit cloud ERP software for their specific needs. However, there are a few elements that every organization should prioritize evaluating. Let’s examine some success criteria below:
Cloud ERP Success Criteria
- Business Fit: Some cloud ERP solutions are good at general functions, like finance or HR management. But they’re often weak regarding supporting industry-specific processes. Therefore, choose a solution provider that understands your industry and can come up with solutions to improve your enterprise. An industry-specific ERP application is also more efficient at handling your processes with little to no customization. The results? Faster, more affordable implementation.
- Ease of Everything: Your ERP software should detract rather than add to your business challenges. Focus on choosing an ERP system with an intuitive, easy-to-learn user interface that can increase employee satisfaction and productivity.
- Future-Ready to Support Growth: Today’s decisions must help your business thrive now and in the future. The right cloud ERP system will provide you with the opportunities to reach new markets, expand product lines, establish additional facilities, and grow your business.
By choosing a cloud ERP provider that can grow with you, you’ll find a technology partner that can support you through every step of your growth plans.
Cloud ERP Features and Functionalities
Understanding what an ERP system can offer and which features are right for your business needs should be given thoughtful consideration:
- Customer Management: This feature lets owners keep track of customer profiles and interactions. If you need to see a customer’s full history with your company, including their quotes and orders, you’ll need the customer management feature.
- Order Management: Order processing becomes more complex with business growth, so it’s important to choose an ERP system that offers an order management feature. This feature allows you to finalize quotes, create orders, and update them if customers request any changes. Additionally, choosing a system that supports multi-location orders will help to scale your organization.
- Catalog Management: Simply put, this feature helps you keep track of everything your business sells. This feature should let you create bundles of products and set customer-specific pricing. For efficiency, look for cloud-based ERP systems that can pull product information from manufacturers.
- Pricing Management: As your business expands, keeping track of your pricing becomes more complex, especially when offering frequent promotions and campaigns. Cloud-based ERP systems should include a pricing management feature to help you track all pricing-related data.
- Inventory Management: It’s no secret that managing inventory on spreadsheets isn’t efficient. To update your data with ease, you need an ERP system with an inventory management feature. This feature gives you real-time data about availability and stock levels across multiple locations.
- Issue Management: Customer issues are a regular occurrence for any business, no matter how dedicated it is to customer service. An issue management feature lets you track customer issues and ensure those problems are quickly resolved.
- Billing and Account Management: Cloud-based ERP systems should have an account management feature to ensure a healthy cash flow and quick, efficient payments. This allows you to track and manage your company’s invoices and payments, while email notifications remind your customers to pay on time.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): ERP solutions can enhance CRM by collecting essential customer information such as contacts, order history, purchase orders, prospect status, etc. Staff can keep up-to-date on customer needs and intervene if required at various points in the chain.
- Supply Chain Management: A powerful feature of ERP systems is the opportunity for supply chain management optimization. An automated and integrated supply chain will suggest purchase orders, work orders and transfer orders across locations. Real-time supply chain data also helps you master inventory, logistics, distribution and manufacturing processes.
- Manufacturing: ERP solutions can streamline manufacturing processes by helping with operations like product planning, sourcing raw materials, production monitoring and forecasting. Additionally, the right modules can help with assembly management, work order management, shop-floor control, distribution planning, product tracking and more. Inventory and forecasting decisions can be simplified and automated.
Benefits of Finding the Right Cloud ERP Software
Cloud-based ERP solutions now offer an incredible range of possibilities and advantages. By choosing the right ERP software for your business needs, you will benefit from advantages such as:
- Less initial capital: The new generation of cloud-based ERP systems use the SaaS model to avoid many common software financial pitfalls. This model turns ERP systems from a capital cost into an ongoing operating cost, preventing the need for large-scale capital upfront.
- Increased cross-functional visibility and collaboration: Giving businesses the tools for enhanced collaboration is a standard feature of ERP, but the cloud makes it simpler and faster than ever. Cloud ERP provides:
- Project management tools to simplify collaboration.
- Real-time financial and performance reporting that creates enhanced decision-making.
- Resource management options that help identify opportunities to streamline processes.
- A safer and more secure place for corporate data: Today’s top cloud ERP systems provide security tools comparable to any on-premises system, and many offer additional advantages that on-premises systems sometimes don’t:
- Automatic, system-wide updates that fix security flaws without users having to take any additional steps.
- Multiple redundant layers of failsafes and backups.
- Systems protected by a team of dedicated cloud security professionals.
- Easier and faster updates: With updates, cloud ERP systems offer major improvements over traditional on-premises ERP. All ERP software requires periodic updates to fix security vulnerabilities, improve performance and more. In on-premises ERP systems, this can be a long and arduous process that consumes significant IT labor resources and can involve production interruptions.
Make the Right Choice on Your Cloud-Based ERP Vendor
Before making a final purchase decision, here are key questions you should ask yourself about each ERP vendor you’re considering:
- Does the ERP vendor have experience working with companies of my size and in my industry?
- Does the ERP vendor understand my specific software requirements?
- What levels of support does the vendor offer?
- Is the ERP vendor committed to the product long-term?
- Do they have a track record for meeting their clients’ ROI objectives?
- Is the vendor well-established? Will they be there to help the business grow in the long term?
It’s also important to consider the following factors when selecting your ERP vendor:
- Price: The cost of your chosen system involves more than the system expense itself. It includes licensing fees, hosting or hardware, implementation, maintenance, training, support and upgrades.
- Organization size: The size of your business will determine your chosen solution, so consider this before making your choice.
- Departmental needs: It’s a good idea to survey departments to understand what would most benefit each business area.
- Automation opportunities: Think of the recurring business tasks that could be automated and which would be most beneficial to get out of an ERP system.
- End-users: How comfortable with technology are your employees? Which functionalities will be most user-friendly for them? It’s important to remember your end-users before making your final choice.
- Goals: What goals are most necessary for your business to accomplish? The functionalities you choose must accomplish those to see a valuable ROI.
Compare Cloud ERP Systems to your Enterprise Needs in Olive
With Olive, you can find the right ERP to centralize data around daily business processes and deliver real-time insights into your company. Olive even has pre-created ERP Evaluation projects to kick-off your search. Discover more below:
Check out cloud ERP Project and Requirements Templates
Olive’s requirements management software helps you select requirements from pre-built templates, or build your own. No matter the complexity of the software you are looking for, Olive has requirements templates to kick off your ERP project and requirements gathering process.
Invite Cloud ERP Vendors to Respond to Requirements
Olive does not charge ERP vendors. We facilitate vendor-neutral decisions based on exactly what you need, not what vendors are selling or subjective reviews. Olive allows you to invite vendors to respond to requirements, without revealing the identity of your client or business.
Compare ERP Vendors to Criteria in Olive
Gartner, G2 Crowd, and Capterra can give you a good overview of the top-rated ERP vendors on the market, but shortcutting the process and only reviewing a few solutions in the space is fraught with risk and bias. Choosing the wrong solution will cost you in the long run. Olive helps you find the right ERP solution for your client or organization’s needs.
Find your organization’s Best-fit Cloud ERP software
Choosing the best cloud ERP software may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Olive helps you find the best-fit cloud ERP software to fit your business needs.