Choosing the best ERP system for your business can be daunting. Which one gives me everything I need? Which one will best allow for my company’s growth? Do I want cloud or on-premise ERP? There’s a lot to consider, and believe it or not, cloud versus on-premise might be one of the more critical factors you decide.
Head in the Cloud? Or Feet on the Ground?
So how do you know what’s right for you? Cloud-based systems have become more prevalent as of late. But it’s up to you to determine the best setup for your company’s particular needs. You also don’t necessarily need to switch to cloud-based if you are already currently using an on-premise ERP that’s working for you. (Though if you are switching ERPs, be sure to check out our 5 helpful hints for data migration!)
Here are a few things to consider as you’re evaluating ERPs to find the best fit for your company’s needs:
At first glance, a cloud-based system may seem more cost effective. On-premise ERPs may require large capital investments along with specialized IT resources right up front, while a cloud-based service boasts minimal expense and faster deployment. Be sure to check the contract terms and conditions for cloud-based service, though; this is where you’ll find information on when and how your monthly fees may change so that you can work that into your budget and avoid any surprises when evaluating your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Cost doesn’t have to be a deterrent in either cloud-based or on-premise systems. In fact, over time, system costs for both tend to converge. Just make sure you have a clear picture before you sign on a dotted line!
Customization and Control
If you’re looking to use your ERP straight “out of the box,” as it were, a cloud-based solution may be exactly what you’re looking for. But if you need more nitty-gritty specifics, on-premise could be more up your alley. On-premise ERPs offer a greater degree of customization and control on implementation, though adding customization might impact your implementation time.
Cloud-based and on-premise also differ in the amount of control you have over your data. Using the cloud does mean that the provider is the one with control of both hardware and software, whereas an on-premise service keeps everything within your own four walls. This also means that using cloud-based software eliminates the need for you to manage your own hardware and software, which could prove to reduce costs down the line in the form of minimized maintenance costs and reduced electricity usage.
Accessibility and Reliability
Cloud-based ERPs allow users to access anywhere at any time. But they also rely on Internet access. While clouds have become more and more reliable in the last several years, you may decide that on-premise is a better fit for your individual company needs.
Depending on your industry, you may also be legally required to keep sensitive or regulated data in specific ways and places. On-premise solutions provide that level of data control where cloud cannot.
For some companies, both cloud-based and on-premise are necessary options for how they do business. In cases like this, you may consider a hybrid option that utilizes both on-premise and cloud-based ERP data storage by hosting the cloud software on your organization’s private servers. Having a clear understanding of your company’s needs and legal requirements will enable you to make the best ERP decision for your data access and storage needs.
Crunch the Numbers in Excel – Anytime, Anywhere
No matter where you keep your data, you also need the accessibility to report on it in any style at any time. Platforms such as Spreadsheet Server and Atlas for Microsoft Dynamics allow you unprecedented access to data in Excel from multiple ERPs and other data sources—whether in the cloud or on-premise—to create streamlined reports with real-time live data.
Curious how we can help you better digest your ERP data? Request a demo today!