While it will be quite some time before on-premise ERP systems are completely phased out, 2017 has seen rapid growth in cloud ERP adoption. That comes as no surprise, considering the added flexibility, lower cost of ownership, ease of deployment, and increased security offered by cloud ERP systems.

As organizations look to stay competitive and expand capabilities, many are turning to the cloud in order to gain an advantage in the marketplace. A recent ERP Software article explores this trend and dives deeper into how companies plan to differentiate themselves through the benefits of cloud ERP.

So, what functionality are companies evaluating that they believe will differentiate themselves from their competition?

The cloud is an enabler to ensure that any organization can have more than just ERP capability at an affordable price.

The reason ‘ERP’ is no longer mentioned in any of the Dynamics 365 application names is that it is more than just ERP:

  • It’s sales and marketing in terms of CRM applications.
  • It’s analytics in terms of Power BI.
  • It’s mobile in terms of mobile workspaces and apps.

All these applications are now enabled for those who choose to deploy within the cloud. These value-added applications are enabled without additional integration requirements. Customers are paying for only the services they need for their business, such as sales and marketing, and don’t have to worry about getting them to work in the first place.

The cloud enables advanced analytics on large data sets, which was previously unaffordable for most organizations.

By now, most companies have made an investment into integrated ERP applications and over the years have generated huge volumes of data. However, very few of these companies have the expertise to analyze this data like the large enterprises do. For example, Google and Amazon are constantly analyzing user behavior data all the time and using the data to personalize the advertising or product recommendations that are shown to their users.

The cloud enables this type of capability for small or mid-sized companies because organizations are using Microsoft Cortana Intelligence (a shared cloud data resource) to crunch the data and to deliver the required analytics. The processing power required for this type of resource would not be an affordable option in an on-premise server environment. This advanced analytics capability is affordable in the cloud due to the shared computing power of the cloud.

What to consider when moving to the cloud

90% of our new clients have a strong interest in deploying in the cloud. Companies who don’t have the required infrastructure are not going to invest in it, as the TCO equation does not compute. Organizations with existing infrastructure are also considering their cloud options, but it is understandably a much slower process given their investments in their current on-premise systems.

For organizations with an on-premise solution, a phased cloud deployment is one that many organizations are implementing. One of the first areas customers can move to the cloud is their advanced analytics capability in the form of Power BI. Why?

Power BI is all cloud-based

Power BI will transfer on-premise ERP data into a cloud data warehouse running in Microsoft Azure. Reports are run on a cloud database that can be connected to the ERP database sitting in an on-premise server. Once this is implemented successfully, organizations can experience first-hand the value of enterprise reporting powered by the cloud:

  1. Access reports through a browser
  2. Access from a mobile device
  3. Access remotely from any location

With these benefits being realized, the conversation to move other parts or the entire ERP platform over to the cloud start to gain traction.