Manufacturing and product companies are facing critical challenges. To survive in the new global economy, companies need to continuously reinvent themselves. They need to rapidly add new products and acquire new businesses. They need to build new partnerships and channels. They can’t depend on the same set of suppliers tomorrow that they do today. And they can’t expect to do business the same way in new and emerging markets.
For these reasons, enterprises need a new kind of ERP, one that’s faster to deploy and can:
- Adapt very quickly
- Go into the hands of employees, customers and partners immediately, with little or no training
- Provide continuous visibility into their operations.
Only cloud ERP can give companies the agility they need to reinvent their businesses fast enough in today’s global economy.
Product companies need agility to respond to rapid changes
Business conditions change: they change fast, in big ways and often without a lot of warning. And I’m not just talking about a customer wanting to change their order. I’m talking about bigger changes too: demand volatility, entire labor forces changing as one country’s energy or access costs go up, mergers and acquisitions and innovative business practices that competitors spring on us.
An IDC study found that the disruptions to an on-site ERP system from M&A activity led to an average stock price decline of 20.9% (“Modifying and Maintaining ERP Systems: The High Cost of Business Disruption,” April 2009).
Agility is the ability for a company to react quickly to major changes in business conditions without a lot of disruption. For example, Intel’s “Copy Exactly!” ability lets them move standard business practices around the world as needed. The battery company A123 moved their entire manufacturing operations from South Korea to the United States because of labor and transportation cost changes with little disruption. This is the sort of agility that companies need to stay competitive.
Cloud ERP gives companies the platform for global agility. The system can grow and adapt easily. It has to handle new business requirements and new business partners without disrupting what still works. It has to be easy to use to empower users to respond quickly.
Cloud ERP systems are easy to use
Cloud ERP systems are easier to use than on-premises systems for a number of key reasons. First, they offer quick time to value because there is no hardware to install. All you really need is any computer device and access to the Internet, and you’re golden! Upgrades happen automatically, and you can easily retain any changes you made to your system.
Systems like Kenandy ERP are also more intuitive to use than legacy systems. The user interface is simplified and user assistance is available when and where you need it. Kenandy offers context-sensitive Help with embedded videos, as well as access to the Kenandy Community, a rich forum of information and ideas created by Kenandy and customers. It’s also much simpler to localize the user interface and assistance.
Is it time to rethink your ERP system?
Moving your ERP system to the cloud gives you a great opportunity to rethink the way your company does business. Like the first generation of ERP systems did back in the day, cloud ERP gives you capabilities that you don’t have now.
What could you do if you had a cloud ERP system up today? Get creative and ask yourself and your team questions like these:
- What benefits would we have if we could connect a new partner to our ERP system within days?
- How much could we decrease our training costs if our partners could learn the system quickly, by themselves?
- How much time and money would we save if we didn’t have to worry about upgrading our system to the newest releases?
- What legal and operating entities need to be on our ERP system? Which countries and currencies? It’s much easier to deploy a single integrated, multi-company, multinational system on the cloud.
- What security needs to be in place? This includes single sign-on, separation of duties and SOX requirements for full auditability and control.
- As our company grows and changes, how would we want to adapt our ERP system? Can we do that now with our on-site ERP system?
Only the cloud offers great agility
Cloud ERP systems give product companies important advantages over on-site ERP systems, on top of savings in total cost of ownership (TCO). This is the time to start the conversation with your staff and experts, and start planning when you should make the move. According to Deloitte Development LLC, “cloud computing combined with social computing, mobile technologies and data analytics could play a prominent role in deepening customer relationships, increasing agility to achieve new market growth and accelerating innovation (“Rethinking the role of IT for CPG companies”).
Now is the time to consider moving to the cloud to make sure your company has the flexibility it needs to stay ahead.
Stewart Florsheim is VP of marketing at Kenandy, Inc. He brings over 25 years of experience and is responsible for Kenandy’s marketing communications and user assistance tools. Prior to joining Kenandy, Florsheim was director of learning products at Advent Software. He managed a team responsible for the company’s client website as well as all documentation, online training and user interface design.