A brief Intro to Acumatica Cloud ERP

By | Accounting software, Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP | No Comments

Acumatica Cloud ERP wins multiple awards for it’s cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It is considered one of the best business management solutions for mid-sized and small companies. Acumatica is built to run your entire company, including finance, accounting, operations, the supply chain, field services, and more.

Nucleus Research ERP Value Matric June 2020According to Nucleus Research, Acumatica is the leader for greater usability and better functionality. It is a cloud-native SaaS business management solution with industry editions for manufacturing, distribution, field service, professional service, construction, and more. Acumatica focuses on product development, innovation, and customer support. It relies on its partners, like NexTec Group, for selling and implementation.

Acumatica helps your business to grow by:

  • Empowering your employees to work anywhere at any time via their web browser-based accounting, inventory management, and financial management applications
  • Enabling you to take control of your business with increased visibility into your business management processes from end-to-end
  • Streamlining your core business functions so you can concentrate on your strengths and find areas of opportunity and growth

With Acumatica, both in-office workers and remote teams will get data in real-time because Acumatica can be used on any of the following platforms and Internet-enabled devices:

  • Apple iPad or iPhone
  • Google Android tablet or smartphone
  • Windows OS
  • Mac OS
  • Linux OS

To learn more about how Acumatica Cloud ERP can streamline business processes and increase profitability, check out these additional resources:

Video: Acumatica Cloud ERP Product Tour

Forrester Report: The Total Economic Impact™ of Acumatica

Looking for industry-specific Acumatica information?  Simply choose your industry from the list below:

As a gold-certified Acumatica partner, NexTec has been implementing Acumatica for years. Our dedication to our customers has given us a 95% client retention rate. Contact NexTec today and let us become your Acumatica partner.

Cloud Digital Transformation

The role of the cloud in digital transformation

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud | No Comments
Cloud Digital Transformation

Companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

It’s a term that could mean anything from ‘going paperless’ to ‘changing the way your business operates’. It affects everything from intraorganizational communications to the way you work with suppliers and customers. It is digital transformation and it’s something many organizations are either late to the game on or struggling to catch up with.

Defining digital transformation

Business leaders expect and demand certainty, and any form of transformation is inherently uncertain. However, when it comes to planning the long-term goals of a company, knowing how, when, and why you need to take risks and dive into uncertainty is necessary for growth. The path to and through digital transformation is one of those risks, and in fact, it’s even more risky to ignore transformation than it is to embrace it. So… What is digital transformation?

What defines digital transformation?

There are many ways to define digital transformation, but nearly all of them revolve around doing more for your business by leveraging technology.

According to Techopedia,

“Digital transformation is the changes associated with digital technology application and integration into all aspects of human life and society. […] Digital tools and technology are changing how people interact, and in turn this changes how people do business. […] In a more business-related aspect, digital transformation refers to how a company has or is transforming its core business processes using digital technology in order to gain competitive advantage and gain differentiation in its market segment.”

Wikipedia adds that “Digital Transformation (DX) is the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.

Challenges in defining the term

Like many terms dismissed as jargon, the reason companies fail to embrace digital transformation is because digital transformation journeys rarely follow the same path from company to company and have no clear endpoint.

Digital transformation isn’t a standard process

A digital transformation journey is going to look different for your company than it will for a competitor—even if you are in the same industry or have similar revenues or valuations. Some companies are much closer to digitizing processes and others are still much further away, making it hard to deliver exact steps. Knowing this, there are general focuses and goals present for all companies looking to transform their business, some of which we will discuss below.

Digital transformation has no endpoint

Added to the fact that there is no clear starting point, there also isn’t a clear endpoint. The thing about digital transformation is that it’s not a ‘caterpillar and butterfly’ metamorphosis. You’re not going to walk in one Monday and be transformed. Think of digital transformation more as a snowball rolling down a hill—it gets bigger and moves faster as it gains momentum.

In essence, digital transformation means that you are moving faster and embracing more digitalization than the status quo and are able to do more than your competitors. However, as businesses move faster, it becomes harder to catch and keep up if you don’t take steps in the right direction.

Two key components on the road to digital transformation

As mentioned, it’s hard to make a plan for something with no starting or ending point. However, recent MIT research found that companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

“They knew they had to become great in operational efficiency: increasing automation, standardization, reuse and productivity. And at the same time, they were really ramping up on their customer experience,” said MIT research scientist Stephanie Woerner, who works on business transformation at MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) with Chairman Peter Weill.  In other words, digitally transformed companies are “ambidextrous,” she said — both efficient and big on customer delight.

Woerner goes on to explain the four quadrants of digital transformation and four pathways to success:

  • Focus on a platform and make solution-based decisions.
  • Encourage a minimum viable product approach and think like an early stage company looking for promoters, not just customers.
  • Keep your team on the same page by providing the right information at the right time to the right people using dashboards.
  • Focus on agility, making big changes with big ideas.

Many ways to the end goal, but the first step is the cloud

As you look to transform your business, the process may seem complex. However, one of the best steps toward a transformed business is to find a solution-based product that can deliver the platform you need, offer dashboards, allow your business to focus on customer experience, and ultimately get your business on the right path quickly.

In a recent whitepaper from Mint Jutras, this leading analyst firm explored the path to digital transformation and the value of acting now. This guide, “Digital Transformation: It’s Time to Develop a Sense of Urgency,” will discuss:

  • Why technology adoption is like a hip replacement, not brain surgery.
  • How technology is leveling the playing field for smaller companies.
  • Why it’s dangerous not to be concerned about disruption.
  • The surprising truth about spreadsheet-dependency in today’s companies.
  • Shocking stats on how few companies have invested in digital.

Click here to download this free guide, courtesy of Acumatica.

At NexTec, we have spent decades helping businesses like yours to leverage the right technology to and through their digital transformation journeys. While one single solution may not be a cure-all for your entire business needs, one of the best places to start is to leverage ERP solutions that can deliver better results and more visibility. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional cloud resources

Top three resources for learning more about the Cloud

When should your business move to the cloud?

How cloud computing helps your business

New guides available: Tips for selecting your ERP system

Two guides discuss how to whittle down your ERP shortlist

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments

The right ERP system can position your business for success. The wrong one can hold your organization back, swamping employees and end users with laborious manual work and inefficient processes that prevent them from informing the decisions of business leaders. Knowing that the ERP decision, deployment, and implementation process is one of the most complex tasks that a company can complete, it pays to do it right the first time, so that you aren’t having this discussion in two years.

In our last article, we discussed how to identify when it’s time to make a move to a new ERP system and how to decide whether the cloud is right for you, and today, we would like to share with you some insider knowledge on narrowing down your list of potential vendors and selecting an ERP software that fits your needs.

How to find an ERP solution that fits your business needs

Many ERP systems are similar—offering similar benefits, features, and functionality, but as they say, “the devil is in the details.” With so many moving parts in ERP, a single function can save tens of hours each week for some organizations while missing a feature imperative to others.

These small differences add up, and over time, departments will weigh in on what they need and how to provide it to them with the ERP solution that meets their needs. From here, you need to weigh the pros and cons they present in order to make an informed decision. This is why we would like to share with you this guide, How to Find Out What ERP Best Fits Your Needs, designed to help you weed out incorrect fits and choose the option best for your business. This guide will help you to assess an ERP system for the following five promises:

  • Functionality: Does it fit the usability needs of your industry and business?
  • Product maturity: Does it have a track record of reliability?
  • Software provider: Are they a stable company that will be around for the long haul?
  • Community: Is there a community consisting of implementation and consulting partners, satisfied users, as well as user groups, discussion threads, and conferences?
  • Truth in advertising: Are you being low-balled into accepting an inferior product?

Get more information on making a smarter ERP decision by downloading How to find out what ERP best fits your needs for free.

Download now

10 tips for smarter ERP selection

You’re not the only one who thinks your business is the best at what it does. Your potential ERP vendor does as well. While many are happy to say that they are the best at what they do, as we said before, the right solution for one company might not be the right solution for yours. The Acumatica guide, 10 Tips for Smarter ERP Selection shares the ten most important things you need to consider when evaluating vendors, sharing with you how to:

  • Know the big issues
  • Make a list and check it twice
  • Focus
  • Zero in
  • Recognize that easy-to-use is not a cliché
  • Get the full price
  • Check references
  • Control the demo
  • Not be penny wise and pound foolish
  • Put your “A” team on the project

Learn more about narrowing down your list with the free Acumatica guide, 10 Tips for Smarter ERP Selection.

Download now

The decision is yours: Get expert advice from NexTec

While you can’t hang your hat on two guides, these are good starting points as you look to narrow down your list of vendors from ten to two to one. As you make the move to select your next ERP vendor, the most important thing to remember is this: avoid the hype. If you have any questions during your ERP journey, we welcome you to contact us with any questions that may arise.

New guide available: When should you replace your ERP?

How do you know when it’s time to replace your ERP?

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments

Sometimes, making a switch is easy. However, as is the case in replacing an aging enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, making a replacement is akin to a heart replacement. Just as the human body can’t survive without a heart, the modern business can’t survive without an ERP solution, and making a replacement for either is complex, but in some cases is absolutely necessary to the long-term health of the patient.

The difference however, between a heart replacement and an ERP replacement is that the supply of hearts is limited—there’s probably only one heart available that’s a match—there are many different ERP options with many different people holding opinions on which one is “right.” In this, you will hear a lot of noise from end users, decision influencers, vendors, partners, and more on how to proceed and what to select. This is why we would like to share with you two new guides to help you know when it’s time to upgrade your ERP system and whether the Cloud is the right deployment option for your business.

Is now the time to replace your ERP solution?

Whether you’ve outgrown or outlived the life of your current ERP system, you will start to notice that once-easy tasks are now taking a long time to process and complete. Once you start to see these failures, two of the most dangerous courses of action are a) inaction, and b) hastily jumping into an ERP decision.

This is why it pays to be proactive, knowing the warning signs before they start to cripple your business so that you can start the discussion before it’s too late. This guide, When should you replace your ERP system, shares the warning signs, including:

  • It does not support the needs of the business (lacks functionality, is hard to use, response time is too slow)
  • Operating costs are too high
  • You rely on spreadsheets to get things done
  • Executives get little useful insight from the system (lack of dashboards, self-service BI, or they are difficult to use)

Additionally, this guide shares some of the basic benefits of what a modern ERP solution can do for your business:

  • Increase sales and improve customer service
  • Improve cash management and reduce outstanding receivables
  • Reduce purchasing and production costs; increase efficiency
  • Improve inventory turnover
  • Better utilize people, equipment, and materials

Download the free When It’s Time to Upgrade Your ERP System guide to learn more.

Download guide

Is the Cloud the right deployment option for ERP?

If you’ve realized that now is the time to make a move, the next decision is on the deployment model: Cloud, Hosted, or On-Premises. From personal use to multinational enterprise, the cloud has become a major talking point, especially as it pertains to ERP. This guide, Is the Cloud Right for My Business, shares a few considerations you need to make if you are considering the cloud for your ERP system.

Among the takeaways:

  • When done right, a cloud ERP deployment should be invisible to system users
  • When looking at software, consider the software first, then the deployment option. Making the deployment option first limits your software choices, and could trap you with the wrong software.
  • Cloud computing doesn’t necessarily cost less (or more) than conventional on-premise deployment.

To learn more, download the entire guide, Should I Move My ERP to the Cloud.

Download guide

Getting the answers: Speak with an expert today

As we mentioned above, the most dangerous course of action is a hasty decision. The second most dangerous is inaction. This is why it’s important to start looking at options now, so you know what questions to ask and to prepare for pitfalls and challenges that come with every ERP deployment and implementation. If you have any questions about the move to ERP, contact NexTec Group for information, or learn more about Acumatica.

Top trends in ERP for 2018

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ERP solution

Enhanced capabilities in process automation and artificial intelligence will drive advancements to ERPs in 2018.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms help manufacturers bring together disparate systems across the enterprise, providing powerful opportunities to improve processes and drive efficiency.

In 2018, the ERP solution for your company may offer improved process automation and enhanced security features using more cloud-based technology. Those features are among the top trends in ERP in 2018.

Here is a closer look at a few of the trends that will transform the ERP space this year.

Increased process automation

Automation continues to transform the U.S. economy, and the manufacturing space continues to drive much of the innovation in this space. Increased automation leads to improved processes across the entire enterprise.

Process automation in ERP includes automating business functions that were once done manually, a practice that once led to longer timeframes for completion, higher costs, and greater error rates.

Automation tools can be applied to multiple areas of the ERP work, from quality control to inventory management.

Consider the example of a streamlined process enhanced by ERP automation that matches invoices to purchased goods, assesses profit margins of new jobs, runs simulations to project delivery times, and manages stock control, all in an integrated process. Automating these calculations and functions requires less dedicated staff time and leads to more accurate projections for sales teams to provide to customers.

Workload automation modeling has utility throughout the manufacturing industry, driven by integrated ERP data and production tools. Automation and predictive modeling help companies assess the business outcomes of different activities and better integrate disparate parts of the organization in both production and decision-making.

Increased use of the Cloud

Moving ERP functions to the cloud will continue to be a common occurrence in 2018. The use of cloud ERP services allows companies to react quickly as they grow, scaling up rapidly to deliver applications to employees and customers, and to collect, store, and analyze data for manufacturing.

Experts believe that the shift of ERP over the past 18-24 months from on-premises to cloud or hybrid solutions will continue to accelerate in the new year.

Many companies that have already moved applications, like human resources management and customer services management, and have seen the efficiencies and cost-savings associated with those moves are realizing that the opportunity exists to move ERP options to that space as well. Placing the ERP in the cloud reduces lag times between applications and helps to improve both analytics and reporting.

Why else are business leaders embracing cloud ERP? Simply put, it is because of the speed of business today.

Companies want a solution that allows for flexibility as business models evolve. In order to be ahead of the curve and seize new opportunities, executives recognize they need the tools that allow for agile operations, manufacturing, efficiency, cost reduction, and access to technology that cloud-based ERP systems allow.

While there is still some short-term pain in migrating legacy systems to the cloud, the benefits of potential opportunity cost far outweigh the downsides.

The advances in hybrid cloud ERP solutions also provides business leaders with peace of mind. Though some manufacturers may still need core data and functionality to remain on-premises due to regulatory or security concerns, cloud and ERP improvements mean that latency and security concerns have been addressed across the ERP marketplace.

ERP solution

ERP growth in 2018 will focus on security enhancements and machine learning.

Intelligent ERP

Artificial intelligence is poised to make major changes to the way ERP systems function in 2018. These technologies will enable more self-sufficiency in the ERP space and less reliance on human interactions.

Among the ways that artificial intelligence is likely to advance ERP capabilities in 2018 are:

  • AI can provide enhanced customer service functionality that collates, interprets, and provides answers to customer questions quickly, driven by vast databases of previous queries. These AI-generated answers can be used to save on human customer service staffing and to provide the first line of inquiry that can answer many common questions.
  • Chatbots can be used to mine data in the moment of an interaction with a customer. Chatbots can access data quickly and provide that information to customer service reps and customers. Chatbots can mine backend databases and more rapidly pull relevant data to accelerate solutions and resolutions.
  • Dynamic workflows are changing based on new AI technologies. ERP systems can now analyze the way users access and interact with the systems and use that information to recommend changes to processes that optimize the ERP functionality. ERP systems can sense these usage patterns and create automated actions to save time and even reconfigure interfaces to best suit a user’s common usage patterns.
  • Augmented field service allows for technicians and other field employees to use virtual reality tools that interact with the ERP and data contained therein to provide insights and solve problems. Virtual reality, chatbots, and smart devices will interact in new ways to help ERP provide more value to companies, employees, and customers alike. For example, augmented reality and digital assistants could help maintenance technicians diagnose and correct maintenance issues via real-time access to maintenance histories, design specs, virtual immersive diagrams, technical documents, and performance history.
  • Deeper analytics are possible as ERP systems leverage massive amounts of data provided by connected parts and machines. Analytics programs embedded in ERPs can collect, tabulate, and display this information in real time, allowing for better understanding and decision-making. Employees will be able to pinpoint and respond to trends provided by the intelligent display of this information in real time. Instead of relying on teams of data scientists to pore through data and find opportunities, the ERPs themselves will deliver those insights.
  • Smart performance monitoring and analytics will come to bear as human resources functions within ERP systems deliver new analysis of employee performance, from a deeper analysis of sales territories to correlating performance evaluations with demographics and retention rates. Armed with more information and analysis, HR teams and managers can help coach employees for better performance and productivity. Those insights will be informed by other data stored in the ERP about customers, machines, comparative performance standards, production, and profit centers.

Broader services

ERPs began by integrating disparate systems, often from legacy systems that had little to no interaction with other applications and tools. ERP has brought together back-office functions such as finance and human resources, operational areas such as manufacturing, inventory, and transportation, and customer-facing operations such as sales, marketing, and customer service.

Now, 2018 is poised to see the introduction of a new slate of services that will help companies leverage the new-found synergies that ERP provides.

ERP systems allow companies, for example, to introduce new lines of business related the data and services associated with products, not just the products themselves. Companies can use ERP information to provide customers and consumers with commoditized products and services that enhance and complement the products they purchase.

ERP vendors are looking at creating additional enhancements that do more than bring together software systems. By mobilizing the capabilities and insights, companies will find new market opportunities, new business models, and new revenue streams.

Going global

For global manufacturers, ERPs in 2018 are poised to help create new opportunities and efficiencies throughout the global supply chain. Cloud ERP systems, in particular, help supply chain partners sync and share data and offer insights that improve efficiency, pricing, and profits.

Multiple locations and partners can now access the same data simultaneously to collaborate and make better decisions in less time. ERPs allow for the integration of business processes among global partners too, playing to strengths and enabling integrated business processes across country borders.

New focus on security

Providers understand that as more functions and data move to ERP spaces in cloud and hybrid environments, there is a growing need to firm up security protections. One survey showed that 89 percent of respondents predict the number of cyberattacks on ERP systems to increase in the next 12 months. With proprietary intellectual property and consumer data contained in ERP systems, the need for robust security measures will likely grow in 2018.

Better user interfaces

With more functions moving to ERP, the need for better user interfaces is critical for companies wanting to leverage the capabilities of these systems. Providing intuitive, customizable, and easy-to-use user interfaces lead to better rates of system adoption and buy-in. Configurability is an important need for ERPs to serve disparate employee populations with different roles and needs.

Use of in-memory computing

In-memory computing allows for data to be stored, not on disk-based databases, but within random access memory (RAM). This storage shift allows information to be accessed and used more quickly and by more users simultaneously.

At NexTec Group, we help companies develop the systems that maximize their operational capacity with efficiency and reduced costs. Working with the top ERP manufacturers, our experienced teams of consultants understand the nuanced products and features of ERP systems, along with a clear idea of the development priorities and schedules of new features.

When you choose NexTec Group as a trusted partner, we will work closely with key stakeholders to understand ERP needs and capabilities and will help guide the evaluation, selection, and implementation of ERP products that best suit each client.

Download the NexTec Corporate Brochure to learn more about NexTec Group and how it can help your company best leverage ERP in 2018.

Get your Cloud, BI and ERP guides now!

Top three resources for learning more about the Cloud

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, BI, Cloud, Dashboards and KPIs, ERP, Inventory control | No Comments

Companies are moving to the Cloud at a rapid pace. In 2018, Forrester predicts, more than 50% of global enterprises will use at least one public cloud platform in their path to drive digital transformation and delight customers. As companies see the benefits of cloud adoption, this number will only increase as we approach 2019, 2020, and beyond.

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Cloud ERP

Your definitive guide to Cloud ERP, part 5: How to move on up to Cloud ERP

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Cloud ERP

Migrating your ERP to the cloud means careful planning of resources — both financial and personnel.

If you’ve made the decision to migrate your enterprise resource planning solution to the cloud, you have made the first step in transforming how your business operates. Now the key task is to make sure the cloud ERP migration goes smoothly.

In Your definitive guide to Cloud ERP, part 5: How to move on up to Cloud ERP, we take a closer look at some best practices to ensure your company’s platform move works effectively.

Focus on change management

Whether you are migrating an existing ERP to the cloud or implementing ERP for the first time, the need for a comprehensive change management plan is essential. The transformational features of moving to ERP in the cloud are maximized when there are considerations made to the people, processes, and technologies that are involved in existing systems and will be involved with new ones.

A software-as-a-service ERP product in the cloud can have an impact on business processes. Process changes should be identified early in the project and staff should be trained well before go-live. In addition, users will need to be aware of and become comfortable with the new interactions that a cloud ERP offers with others.

Invest in implementation

The implementation team is the heart and soul of any migration project. To have a successful migration, this team, often comprised employees and external consultants, needs the time and resources required. The team needs to have C-level support and decision-making authority, along with the release time from other responsibilities.

Maximize cloud properties

Often companies invest in ERP solutions in order to prepare for anticipated future growth. That’s why a cloud system is such a good investment, with the flexibility necessary to accommodate the present state and the future. Here are some core considerations for companies to factor in a migration:

  • Scalability. The importance of future expansion is one of the cloud’s core advantages. A migration needs to leverage this asset to plan for future capacity.
  • Speed. With multiple ERP modules in play on the web, you want to be sure that data moving into and out of the cloud is optimized for real-time data analysis.
  • Dependability. Your cloud ERP downtime needs to be factored into any migration, to ensure that customers and employees can adapt and prevent the loss of revenue or productivity.

Calculate return on investment

With a cloud ERP investment, you want to ensure accurate ROI calculations. Here are several methods for calculating the ROI of a cloud ERP migration:

  • Divide total benefits by total costs.
  • Divide net profits (calculated by subtracting total costs from total benefits) by total costs.
  • Payback methodology. This practice looks at the length of time to recoup the system costs.

Calculating actual costs includes many factors, including:

  • Purchase and options prices
  • Third-party providers (hardware, consulting, add-ons)
  • Internal resources, including staff time
  • Continuing costs, including staff time and training
  • SaaS licensing fees

Cost calculations for a cloud migration also need to factor in cost savings, such as the reduction in maintenance, management, hardware, and upgrade costs. Other direct benefits to be factored into savings include reduced waste and inventory costs, gains in productivity and throughput, and less overtime and expediting costs.

Cloud ERP

Your cloud ERP implementation team is the key to a smooth transition.

Manage available bandwidth

As the go-live date nears, so too does the demand for additional bandwidth. Often in the planning phases, the assessment of needed bandwidth is underestimated. As more and more components are added, bandwidth and budget are likely to increase.

A failure to account for these needs … which often last until expected transaction performance levels are reached … can detail many aspects of the plan, not the least of which is operational uptime. In addition, a lack of available bandwidth can slow down training and implementation, eroding confidence in employees.

Select the right service plan

Just as a failure to plan for scalability can hinder operations, so can a company’s selection of a service plan. Cloud ERP providers usually offer multiple options, including:

  • Knowledge-only plans. These include only basic support elements such as operational assessment, business analysis, systems research and evaluation, and roadmap development.
  • Core integration packages. These services include comprehensive data mapping, operational actualization, rollout, module or system integration, pre-launch testing, and specific support and maintenance service.
  • Enhanced services options. These advanced options for up-and-running ERPs include Big Data analytics, tailored app development, and business process outsourcing analysis.

Getting the migration right is as essential as selecting the right partners for your cloud ERP. At the NexTec Group, we work with leading ERP providers such as Sage X3 Cloud, Acumatica Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. NexTec helps manufacturers find and implement the right cloud solutions for their ERP needs. To learn more, download the NexTec Corporate Brochure.

ERP solutions

Your definitive guide to Cloud ERP, part 4 – The underside of Cloud ERP: Addressing legitimate concerns

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Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP solutions offer many advantages, although there are concerns about security, access, and compliance.

Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions offer many advantages. They offer flexibility, fast upgrades, accessibility, and scalability … all valuable considerations for manufacturers looking for integrated data management and reporting tools.

However, as with most things, there are also disadvantages to moving your ERP to the cloud. These include some security worries, performance questions, and compliance issues. In Your definitive guide to Cloud ERP, part 4 – The underside of Cloud ERP: Addressing legitimate concerns, we look at the downside of moving ERP to the cloud.

When considering cloud ERP solutions, companies should factor in the following main concerns.

1. Security issues

Handling security issues, both physical and digital, require a leap of faith. In most cases, companies are outsourcing their security management to the cloud provider. This consideration means that your business would be reliant on a third party for physical protection of servers and other hardware along with digital security, including patching, authentication, access and authorization for all your applications and data.

Other security concerns with cloud ERP include:

  • Regulatory constraints. Some industries face strict regulatory controls from federal and state authorities that restrict posting data in the cloud. Others require stringent guidelines on the part of the cloud vendor. Failure on the part of the vendor to adhere to these guidelines can result in stringent and extensive fines for noncompliance.
  • Redundancy issues. Up-time can create a considerable security risk for companies that use the cloud. When managed in-house, companies often have built-in redundancy and recovery plans. However, what happens if the vendor loses power or data?
  • Confidence. You need to be secure about the vendor’s security, both physical and digital.

2. Customization and integration

The whole purpose of ERP is to integrate multiple operational and back-office systems into one integrated platform. In the cloud, some ERP applications may be limited in terms of the availability for integration with on-premises or virtual applications. In addition, if the company needs extensive customization, it can be more difficult when using a cloud-based ERP.

3. Performance

When clients and cloud vendors are geographically distant, there is a risk that network connections and internet speeds can cause lag and slow performance. If this type of responsiveness is frequent, it can have a negative effect on outcomes and employee morale.

Cloud ERP

Cloud software platforms can function like clockwork as long as concerns about access and security are addressed satisfactorily.

4. Dependent on others

When you opt for cloud solutions, you inevitably will lose the advantage of having on-staff IT expertise in the shifted systems, platforms and applications. In some cases, this may not be a significant issue. In others, it could affect strategy and responsiveness. Without on-site IT knowledge, your company becomes dependent on cloud vendors for troubleshooting, deep product knowledge, and unbiased perspective.

5. Selection disconnect

When looking at cloud ERP solutions, there are multiple vendors, multiple solutions, and multiple options. Sorting through these choices can be challenging and resource-intensive.

At NexTec, we help companies navigate the cloud ERP market and alleviate any concerns about negatives. We work closely with leading ERP providers and products, including Sage X3 Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Acumatica Cloud. To learn more about how NexTec can help you sort through the advantages and disadvantages of cloud ERP offerings, download the NexTec Corporate Brochure.

Cloud ERP

Your definitive guide to Cloud ERP, part 3: Legacy systems and operating in the shadow of Cloud ERP

By | Cloud, ERP | No Comments
Cloud ERP

Legacy systems lack the integrated data and reduced costs of newer, cloud-based solutions.

Legacy systems provide familiarity but can become problematic for IT professionals and business leaders alike. While legacy systems have their place and purpose, the growing development of software applications, systems and platforms means manufacturers should carefully consider whether the time has come to retire those systems.

In Your definitive guide to cloud ERP, part 3: Legacy systems and operating in the shadow of cloud ERP, we take a closer look at the challenges of using legacy systems instead of the cloud for your ERP solutions.

Legacy systems are those that have outlived their functional usefulness. However, due to the costs of installing those systems, replacing them and training employees on new tools, many executives are loath to entertain the thought of change. Here are some of the downsides of legacy systems.

1. Lack of cohesion

Legacy systems often are developed, built and modified to fit specific business unit needs. Systems that are optimized for specific teams, and not the organization as a whole, are problematic and add to inefficiency and difficulty in sharing information, let alone analyzing data. By contrast, a cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) system integrates disparate systems throughout the organization.

2. Duplication

With disparate legacy systems, whether built within a company or inherited due to a merger or acquisition, your company likely has duplicated data about customers, products or finances that are inconsistent, redundant or inaccurate in certain iterations. With cloud ERP, your systems are integrated with easy data sharing.

3. Lack of information

Manufacturers need to operate in today’s fast-paced environment. Legacy systems are likely unable to provide the information from multiple perspectives, reported in an easy-to-read, functional format, that allows for real-time analysis and decision-making. Without the right information, those decisions are harder to make and take longer.

4. Poor flexibility

Legacy systems make change difficult to manage. Disconnected systems, unable to “talk” with each other, cause problems when business development, marketing, sales or production changes. A cloud ERP allows for seamless integration of new information, new strategy or new initiatives.

5. Degrees of difficulty

Some legacy systems are decades old, meaning that the support from manufacturers, updates and improvements may be slim to none. That means many systems are held together with bandages and tape and require a great deal of manipulation to enter or generate necessary information. Separate systems require expense to integrate, convert and report on information from multiple sources.

Cloud ERP

Legacy systems often have poor computing functionality and user accessibility across locations or devices.

6. Added costs

Often a legacy system is highly dependent on specialized IT staff to repair and maintain. Legacy systems also may have had many different customizations that are extensive and lead to workarounds and frustration. The personnel costs can be significant, including station-to-station device upgrades that require lots of labor. In addition, legacy systems stored onsite require space and cooling costs to operate.

7. Limited functionality

It’s likely your legacy systems are not accessible on today’s operating systems and devices. They may not allow for access via smartphone or tablet. They do not allow your teams to take advantage of new technologies, database power and high-level analytics that can aid in work. Instead, staff will become frustrated without the needed tools.

8. Lack of content and space

Some systems that were built years ago will not have the capacity to collect, store and crunch massive data sets that modern systems, like cloud ERP platforms, can allow.

While there may be good business reasons for retaining legacy systems, the technological, financial and efficiency costs are real. At NexTec Group, we assist companies looking to migrate from legacy systems to modern cloud ERP solutions.

Our consultants work with leading companies and products like Sage X3 Cloud, Acumatica Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Contact us to learn how NexTec can help your company improve performance and profits.