Virtual deployment of cloud ERP? Traditionally, SMB’s would not have given the idea a chance. Teams have always wanted to do the prep work for an ERP implementation in person – and that goes for both the supplier and the customer. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for virtual deployments has increased as more and more companies look at ways to make efficiency changes fast.
Since lockdown, teams have been forced to abandon face to face meetings requiring long journeys away and have moved instead to adopt virtual implementation methods for the deployment of cloud ERP. The result? A lot of people have been pleasantly surprised. Not only is it a viable option, it works very well!
So read on for our guide on how to achieve a great experience with virtual deployment of cloud ERP.
NOTE: this guide is focused on how to achieve a successful virtual cloud ERP software deployment; for a comprehensive guide on how to drive ERP adoption in your organisation, see here: https://www.incloudsolutions.co.uk/tips-to-drive-cloud-erp-adoption-in-your-organisation/
Quick Overview of ERP Software Options
To quickly run through the different ERP options available, in layman terms there are two major types of ERP software solutions:
Cloud-based ERP software
This is a software as a service model hosted by your vendor e.g. SAP. This means that the software is accessed via the internet. The vendor maintains and updates the system on your behalf, so you don’t have to. Proven popular in recent years due to its low cost of entry, some form of cloud software has been adopted by 93% of enterprises.
This is the more traditional old school format with a large up-front payment. Here, your ERP is installed locally on your own company’s computers and servers. Heavy costs have kept many small and growing businesses out of this market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to completely change the way they work – with huge numbers now working at home for the foreseeable future. This has required businesses to act quickly in accelerating any digital transformation plans they might have had in the pipeline, including moving everyone to the cloud. Without cloud-based services it is very hard for remote workers to access shared data bases and collaborate on tasks.
Many businesses have been quick to select software which will improve their efficiency while working in remote teams, only to then question how they will conduct the scoping and implementation.
But our experience has shown that virtual deployment of cloud ERP is perfectly possible and is now something everyone should consider.
For more info on the advantages and disadvantages of cloud vs on-premise ERP software, see What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud?
Steps for a Smooth Virtual Cloud ERP Deployment
Pick the Right ERP Cloud Software
No ERP software deployment – whether deployed virtually or in-person – will be a success if your Cloud Solution does not meet the needs of your company. By focusing on the following three factors, you will be able to select the ERP cloud software that is perfect for YOU.
Ask yourself, does your ERP software do what you need it to do? Expand this question to examine the management fit of the software to your industry, language and/or regionalisation needs. Cloud ERP software is designed to run your day-to-day business processes based on best practices. Solutions like SAP Business ByDesign also leverage the latest technology such as artificial intelligence to offer features like automatic invoice recognition.
Ask yourself, can you complete your standard business processes on this model or will bespoke changes need to be made? If so, how many and at what cost? We suggest talking to your consultant about this, as tweaks to your processes rather than tweaks to the software can often result in greater efficiencies.
This factor may seem counter-intuitive but trust us, it’s worthwhile. Ask yourself, how much control you need over your ERP. A cloud based system may not live on your own servers and so your IT people can’t tinker with it, but then again it is updated automatically and does not require intervention from a dedicated IT team. It means that you can make savings and focus on the more important challenges of running your business.
Pick the Right Implementation Partner
It goes without saying that your implementation partners can make or break your ERP implementation – especially when the deployment is entirely virtual.
Does your implementation partner:
- Have experience in your industry?
- Understand your end goals?
- Have values that correspond with those of your company?
- Have expertise with your chosen cloud EPR software?
- Meet your virtual engagement needs?
- Have a proven track record and list of references that can speak to their credibility as a service provider?
- Meet your needs in regard to service delivery? Your partners don’t only help with the system implementation but can also help you get the most from it afterwards.
These are just some of the questions that you should ask a potential implementation partner. Industry experience, skills and previous case studies all need to be taken into account to ensure that your implementation partner is the best choice for YOUR company and YOUR chosen ERP software. Take a look at some of our case studies here.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Ensure that your internal management and implementation team is involved throughout the process. With a virtual deployment, it is essential to maintain clear lines of communication to secure buy-in, as well as to ensure that no wires get crossed.
Playing the waiting game is not a safe option. So start planning now to ensure that when another crisis hits, your business won’t suffer. With the world moving faster, we have a choice – keep up or lose out.
For additional resources see:
ERP News: https://www.incloudsolutions.co.uk/blog/
ERP Academy Hub: https://www.incloudsolutions.co.uk/erp-academy/