In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, the ability to quickly adapt and change is critical. In the past 10 years, 70 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies have vanished. These companies were not agile enough to adapt to change —be it new business opportunities or new, more efficient business processes that would bring them closer to their customers.
On the flip side, companies that barely existed 10 years ago are now industry leaders. Many of these new companies have taken advantage of the technology disruptions that have forever changed the business landscape. Disruptions include:
• The ability to quickly scale and extend applications in a rapidly changing business environment
• Software that’s easy to use and configure, and will always be current without going through an upgrade process
• Continuous real-time visibility into operations
• Access to applications anywhere, anytime on any device
• Social tools that enhance collaboration with employees, customers, suppliers and partners
The question to ask yourself is — can your current business applications take advantage of these disruptions? In the next three years, will you be in the driver’s seat as your market evolves, or will you be forever trying to catch up as others disrupt your market?
Change is hard, especially when it applies to an organization’s business applications. It’s easy to come up with reasons not to change — “We don’t think we have a problem we need to fix” or “We think we can patch our current solution” or “Changing the solution will cause even more pain or cost too much.” But can you afford to wait?
Your competitors aren’t waiting
Research from a wide variety of sources document the move to cloud ERP solutions. A Forrester research report (“Application Adoption Trends: The Rise of SaaS, Forrester Research, Inc., May 5, 2014”) documents the results of a survey of executives and technology decision makers from midmarket and large enterprise organizations. The response to the question “What are your firm’s plans to use software-as-a-service (SaaS) to complement or replace the following applications?” showed a strong movement to cloud ERP solutions.
Twenty-four percent stated they planned to replace their current ERP system within two years and another 41 percent stated they planned to move to a hybrid solution within two years.
A key finding from a Gartner research report (“Survey Analysis: Adoption of Cloud ERP, 2013 Through 2023, Gartner, January 24, 2014”) states that 47 percent of organizations surveyed planned to move a majority of their core systems to the cloud within five years. One quarter of organizations surveyed planned to move within three years. The report also states that small and midsize organizations will move even more aggressively to the cloud. Small companies moving from desktop solutions and midsize companies with small IT staffs appreciate the minimal IT requirements for cloud ERP solutions.
From a business perspective, a Forbes article titled “Why Cloud ERP Adoption is Faster Than Gartner Predicts” (February 7, 2014) comments on the Gartner research report. The article suggests that drivers such as faster time to market and the evolution of two-tier ERP systems will accelerate the adoption of cloud ERP solutions faster than Gartner predicts.
Aberdeen notes in a September 2014 survey (“Improve Your Midmarket Business Operations with Cloud Applications,” September 2014) that best-in-class midmarket organizations are more than twice as likely as other organizations to have implemented a cloud ERP solution and have seen a 1.9x improvement in profitability over the past two years.
The sources cited above clearly demonstrate the current momentum for moving to cloud ERP solutions. Why? Cloud ERP solutions address the challenges current systems face in today’s new business environment. Can you risk being left behind?
Assess your current solution
Whether you’re a midmarket organization running your business on a combination of business applications, or a large enterprise running your business on a legacy ERP system, does your current solution allow you to compete with the best-of-breed companies? You need to ask yourself questions like:
- Is your system easy to extend so it can grow as your business grows?
- Is your system easy to reconfigure, without needing IT support?
- Does your system give you continuous real-time visibility across the entire company so everyone is always current with the latest data?
- Is your system intuitive, making it easy to use?
- Does your system provide an immersive, collaborative experience?
- Does your system work on mobile devices so anyone can access information wherever they are?
Change may be hard, but the cost of waiting could be harder.
Stewart Florsheim is the vice president of marketing at Kenandy, Inc., a software company that produces a cloud-based ERP platform for midmarket and large enterprises. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.