Cloud-based ERP systems offer many benefits to a growing organization. And those benefits are catching on in a big way in recent years. In fact, according to the RightScale State of the Cloud 2016 Survey, which has collected the responses of 1,060 IT professionals, 95% of respondents are using a cloud computing solution. By selecting a cloud-based ERP system that unifies the entire company, a business can defer the burden of managing their own infrastructure. This can free up IT staff, lower overhead, offer financial and time savings, and more.
Cloud-based ERP systems provide employees with access to critical business data regardless of location or device. This means that employees, customers, and vendors can securely access data and collaborate in real time. With an entire company standardized on one system and looking at the most up-to-date documents and data, what’s not to love? Let’s take a look at eight characteristics to search for when seeking out the perfect cloud-based ERP provider for your business.
If you make frequent changes to files, or you have several individuals accessing the same document, file versioning is a necessity. File versioning maintains the history and integrity of important company files, so you never lose your work. It prevents individuals from overwriting old files by automatically saving edits as a new version, and preserving the old copy for review.
It’s important to ask your ERP cloud provider how many versions the system will keep, how long the system will keep them, and where older versions are sequestered once they are deleted.
With automatic backup, an ERP system can help companies ensure that all of their data and documents are up-to-date and safe from tragedy. A cloud backup system is designed to protect against data loss and reduce the time it takes to restore data. This means minimal downtime and minimal risk to business productivity and profit. In the event that disaster strikes your physical business, you can rest assured that your data is safe and sound.
Sharing and Collaboration Tools
If you run a business in which employees are team-oriented, often share documents and data, or frequently share documents with individuals outside of the company, then these tools are critical to ensuring a seamless document sharing process with a variety of viewing and editing options. Sharing and collaboration tools should include password protection and sharing options that can customize the level of security. This can keep documents available to individuals on a need-to-know basis, and allow you to set security on the document level, sub-folder level, parent folder level, and so on. This can keep your confidential documents away from prying eyes yet still accessible to those who need to see them.
If you have employees who work off-site or are often traveling, then automatic syncing can prevent multiple versions of documents from building up. If your employees find themselves without time to manually sync document edits, then automatic syncing can help sync files immediately and offer every individual within the company the opportunity to see the latest version of a document in real-time, without having to rely on others to ensure their local copy has been uploaded for access.
Cloud-Based Viewing and Editing Options
One of the major benefits of a cloud-based ERP is its accessibility. If you have segments of your business that are off-site, or employees who travel or work remote, cloud-based viewing and editing provides your employees the ultimate flexibility with access to documents anytime, anywhere, and on any device where an internet connection is available. With the support of automated syncing, employees can confidently open documents and make quick edits. An ERP system without this feature can cause the additional hassles of having to download documents, edit them locally, and remember to manually re-upload them for company access.
Security and File Encryption
Your cloud-based ERP system should come with the latest and greatest in electronic and physical security layers. It should encrypt your document data at least once before it leaves your device. You should also be able to choose your own encryption key to assure exceptional security on the most confidential company documents. And, it should include the ability to set different levels of access for different employees.
Scalability and Customizable Storage Capacity
One of the greatest benefits of a cloud-based ERP is the exceptional ability to scale your business on-the-fly. Whether you are responding to seasonality, business growth, or global expansion, the ability to easily scale can keep your business running at top speed. Your system expansion should be as simple as subscribing to additional user accounts.
Every business is different. And one comes with its own unique storage capacity needs and decisions on how much of their business they feel they can to move to the cloud. Customizable storage capacity allows business owners the opportunity to choose to increase the percentage of their business they move into the cloud at a later date. Look for a cloud-based ERP provider that offers storage at a scalable size and honest price. It’s also important to look at how that price will grow as your business needs grow. In some cases, an unlimited data storage package is the most cost-effective.
When your business is in the cloud, you need to know that you can access it reliably. Your cloud-based ERP solution should not only manage the infrastructure and keep it running 24/7, they should also be available around the clock with friendly and accessible support technicians. This ensures that both you and your employees can access important business data and documents at all times, and any ERP application issues can be dealt with swiftly.
A cloud-based ERP system provides a great many benefits to today’s active, mobile, globalizing, and growing businesses. When searching to connect and standardize your business using a cloud-based ERP, search for one that offers stellar technical support, easy and cost-effective scalability, customizable storage capacity, state-of-the-art security, document viewing, editing, syncing, versioning capabilities, and innovative sharing and collaboration tools.
By Aaron Continelli
Aaron Continelli, president of Cre8tive Technology and Design, started things small in 2005. What began as a one person consulting firm has now become a staff of 58 with three office locations. Specializing in ERP system sales and services, Cre8tive Technology and Design became an EPICOR Partner (Value Added Reseller) in 2007. Since then, Cre8tive Technology and Design has emerged as one of EPICOR’s ELITE and won the 2013 and 2015 Americas Partner of the Year as the Top Revenue Producer.