Expert InformationERP from the CloudManagementIT & Organization - 21.02.17

Nine Questions Before Getting Started with the ERP Cloud

A survey by the market research company Techconsult shows that the interest of small and mid-sized enterprises in Germany in ERP solutions from the cloud is growing. According to this survey, a fifth of the investments in licenses for ERP planning went into cloud applications in 2016. The volume of "ERP as a Service" is expected to increase by 22 percent by the end of 2017.

The advantages of the cloud are manifold: transparent costs, high scalability and high security are only a few examples. Particularly companies with scarce IT resources benefit from the cloud.

There are some aspects to be taken into consideration before getting started with the ERP cloud. The full service provider proALPHA has listed them in an overview:

1. Is it possible to customize an ERP system from the cloud?

It always has to be possible to customize an ERP system, even if it is a cloud solution. Only then can the business processes of a company be mapped accordingly. Moreover, it is important that existing customizations of the ERP standard system can be transferred to the cloud effortlessly. proALPHA offers a solution that can be tailored to suit any needs.

2. Are different cloud models provided?

Service providers should offer various cloud models to give their customers maximum flexibility. It is not always useful to host the entire ERP system in the cloud. If a new production site abroad is to be integrated on short notice, for example, it might be best to combine on-premises software with a cloud solution. The cloud models by proALPHA range from hosting solutions and SaaS renting complete with software licenses to a combination of ERP from the cloud and on the premises.

3. Is the availability of the ERP system guaranteed?

The availability of data and services has to be guaranteed. Not only have applications to run on high-performance servers, memories and data lines, reliability has to be ensured, too. Redundant data centers with failover or emergency power supply are only a few examples of the topics that should be discussed with the service provider before getting started with the cloud. Cloud services by proALPHA not only offer high performance but also reliability of nearly 100% and fast data recovery in case of loss.

4. Is the cloud protected against hacking, virus, and espionage?

Many small and mid-sized enterprises are unable to cope with IT security threats, such as hacking, virus, and espionage. Particularly small companies benefit from the proALPHA cloud solution because it offers them a level of security they would possibly not be able to reach with on-premises software. IT security experts see to the security of servers and data protection full-time and ensure that legal regulations are complied with.

5. Are data protection regulations complied with?

Personal data of any kind, be it those of employees or third parties, have to be protected when they are stored and processed. All member countries have to implement the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU by 2018. It tightens existing laws, and its violation carries severe penalties. proALPHA offers cloud computing made in Germany: data are processed in a certified high-security data center located in Germany in compliance with all European and German data protection regulations.

6. Is smooth operation ensured by clear support agreements?

An integrated cloud solution covers the ERP application itself and the connection of workstations to the network as well as first and second level user support. Ideally, cloud providers should offer these services themselves and define them in detailed service level agreements with customers. As a result, customers have one provider who can offer them everything they need from a single source.

7. Does a cloud solution have positive effects on liquidity?

If an ERP system is hosted in the cloud, costs are distributed to the period the cloud solution is used. High investments in licenses and hardware are not required. This has positive effects on liquidity.

8. Does the cloud provider offer fast data connection?

An OECD study recently revealed that fast Internet connections cannot be found everywhere in Germany. Especially areas outside major conurbation, where many small and mid-sized industrial companies are located, often lack fast data connection. However, this is a key prerequisite for high-performance ERP cloud solutions and dynamic scalability. proALPHA offers its cloud customers high-speed net access to ensure secure, high-performance connection between workstations and the cloud.

9. Can other business applications be transferred to the cloud, too?

If HR software, Office applications and external solutions are used in addition to the ERP system, it might be useful to transfer them to the cloud, too. Ideally, a service provider should offer hosting of ERP systems and other applications in the cloud. This allows small and mid-sized enterprises to optimally deploy their IT resources, focus on their business, and achieve time savings. As a full service provider, proALPHA can offer small and mid-sized manufacturing companies such a cloud environment, with all sites and data centers connected and comprehensive desktop services. This is of great benefit to customers because they have one provider who can offer them everything they need from a single source.

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