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Navigator Business Solutions
By Curtis Campbell • April 20, 2014

Three Strategic Reasons for Moving to Cloud-Based ERP

Cloud ERP resized 600Manufacturing, distribution and service-oriented companies are facing critical challenges.  To service in the new global economy, companies need to be continuously reinventing themselves. They need to rapidly add new products and acquire new businesses.  They need to build new partnerships and channels.  They can no longer depend on the same set of suppliers tomorrow that they do today.  And they cannot expect to do business the same way as they enter new and/or emerging markets.

For these reasons*, enterprises large and small need a new kind of ERP; one that's faster to deploy and that can:

  • Adapt very quickly
  • Go into the hands of all employees, customers and partners immediately, with little to no training
  • Provide continuous visibility into their critical operations and processes
Should it be a surprise that more and more CIOs, manufacturing managers and operational executives are looking at new, cloud-based, flexible solutions?  No.  And what should they be looking for? Solutions to get the three strategic capabilities they need to remain viable in the short and long term: greater operational agility, the ability to collaborate, and continuous, real-time visibility.

Reason #1: Agility to Respond Dynamically and Proactively to Changes
Business conditions change - they change fast, in big ways, and often without much warning; and we are not simply talking about customer change orders.  We are talking about even bigger changes, like demand volatility, entire labor force changes, M&A, and innovative business practices that competitors begin using unexpectedly.  But what is agility?

Agility is a company's ability to quickly react to major changes in business conditions without disruption.  Intel's battery manufacturer is a great example of this, moving their "A123" operations from South Korea to the USA because of labor costs and disputes, without disrupting their manufacturing, distribution or customer service.  

Cloud-based ERP, like
SAP Business ByDesign, provides a platform ideal for global agility.  The system can go and adapt easily.  And more importantly, empower users to respond quickly.

Reason #2:  Enterprise-wide Collaboration
In much the same light as Reason #1, business requirements change regularly.  People across an enterprise must have the ability to collaborate easily with each other in real time, as needed, in whatever data format or channel deemed logical.  They need to resolve uncertainty, missing data and unique processes.  They need a central repository of truth so that anyone that needs to see data, can see it, when they need it and where they need to see it from.

Further, collaboration enables companies to:
take advantage of new opportunities as they arise, boost internal productivity, and improve communication with customers.

Reason #3: 360-Degree Visibility Across the Enterprise
Visibility means that people in every department can understand what's going on at all times.  Whether it's the status of an inbound shipment, an alert to customer payment issues, QA issues, or problems with a certain vendor, managers must be able to see and understand what's going on.  As cycle times speed up and supply chains become more complex, visibility into what is happening is even more crucial.

That same visibility means that everyone can view and update information through on-demand reports and dashboards.  That information could be useful for Finance, Production, Sales or anyone else in the enterprise.  Users should be able to see up-to-the-minute production schedules, customer accounts, pending orders, and even inventory levels to see what's available to promise prior to engaging with a supplier or customer.

Cloud ERP systems enable enhanced visibility because they give all parties involved the ability to see critical information about current statuses through dashboards and Crystal clear reports.  In addition, they give users the ability to collaborate more quickly and efficiently for any outstanding issues.  Everyone can use the system, so everyone can provide the data; making the flow of business faster and more efficient than ever before.

Is it time to consider cloud ERP?
Moving your ERP system to the cloud gives you a great avenue to rethink the way your company does business.  Like the first generation of ERP systems did back in the day, cloud ERP gives a business capabilities that it probably does not have today.

To see how SAP Business ByDesign can improve your company's agility, collaboration and continuous visibility, visit http://nbs-us.com/sap_cloud or call 877.395.4SAP.

*Certain points contained herein are taken from Kenandy Inc.'s whitepaper entitled "Strategic Reasons for Cloud ERP"