It’s all out war in the ERP world at the moment, but is the shift in focus towards the cloud looking like it’s going to conquer all, or is this just David and Goliath but with cost models and integration issues instead of stones and slings and so on?
Whatever will happen in the future, one thing you can’t avoid at the moment is people telling you that cloud IS the future.
It’s easy to see why there’s so much hype as well, namely that almost every company in the entire world is jumping on the bandwagon, has jumped on it or are certainly planning to now everyone else has jumped on it. Even Salesforce, the company so well known for their CRM products are getting involved (investing in one ERP developer and offering their software for another software).
So what’s all this hype, all this pomp, all this ceremony going to get us? Is cloud the answer we’ve all been looking for? We don’t know and we certainly can’t answer that question just yet.
There’s a reason that all these companies are clamouring for the cloud – opportunity. They know there’s an industry buzz, they know that SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) have been dying for a solution they can afford for a very long time and the companies know that dominating this space early on is going to drive big returns on their initial investments.
But what’s in it for the consumer getting caught up in all the hype? Firstly, the battling is good and the hype is better. If no one had made a big thing about this, we’d be looking at a very different future for cloud based ERP.
With so many companies in the mix, we’re looking at a lot of competition. With a lot of competition comes innovation, development time and resource committed to creating a product that businesses want, that can improve their business, lengthen their profit margins and improve their business processes.
The upsides of the cloud are many and we’re hearing a lot of talk about them – the improved mobility and access, lower costs, lower upfront investment – but we’re not seeing that much about the downsides of ERP in the cloud.
How many people are talking about the security concerns, how many of these companies are talking about disruption to business with server downtime, how many people are talking about lost internet connections and lack of offline access to important information? Not many is the answer. Sure these problems can occur with on site servers and connections, but in those instances, it’s your internal IT department dealing with the problem and not a company off site that you won’t be able to manage.
And how many people are talking about the cost of customisation? It’s unlikely that any product is going to be out of the box ready to fit your business requirements. Cost and resource will have to be pushed into altering the systems to suit each business, which would certainly hit those smaller businesses hard.
Whatever happens, we’re in for a dramatic shakeup of ERP software. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, time will tell, but we’ll tell you one thing – it’s going to be an exiting time.