Modular, cloud-based business applications offer viable alternatives to the unwieldy, inflexible and expensive systems that have long dominated the sector, says Stephen Corrigan, MD of Palladium Business Solutions.
The ERP market is fast moving beyond the era of traditional software; it is now driven by the need to engage more closely with customers, suppliers and employees alike. Innovative companies have a desire to leverage that engagement and differentiate themselves from their slower moving competition. Traditional ERP systems have long been criticised for their high cost, lack of flexibility, and difficulty of implementation. New enterprise-grade cloud applications are fast replacing old ERP systems as companies move to become more flexible, modern and mobile.Companies looking to implement such systems, however, must look beyond the hype surrounding them, and consider them in the context of an actual business case. That should include the benefits, such as greater customer and employee engagement and faster implementation, as well as the costs, among them the shift to a subscription-based purchasing model, and the security issues involved. The world of business application software is rapidly transforming how organisations source and implement ERP systems. CIOs are rethinking their approach to the software that runs virtually every medium and large organisation in the world.
Palladium Business Solutions managing director Stephen Corrigan says it is thanks to modular, cloud-based business applications that offer viable alternatives to the unwieldy, inflexible, and expensive systems that have long dominated the sector.
“Cloud ERP vendors like Acumatica are now offering cost-effective solutions to companies that may not have been able to afford the on-premises software. They are already having a disruptive effect on the ERP market by offering affordable yet sophisticated, flexible, highly mobile, and easy-to-use applications,” he explains.
Sold on either a perpetual licence or on a software as a service (SaaS) subscription basis, these systems offer companies the promise of reduced costs, while giving customers, suppliers, and employees alike a better user experience, greater functionality and more control over how the systems are used.In addition, Acumatica has a new fresh approach in that it doesn’t charge on a per-user basis, but rather one that is based on the number of system processors used.
Corrigan says this model has opened up a number of new markets in the form of professional services and project-based companies with the integrations of timesheets and the like.
“Customers, suppliers, and partners expect direct access to billing, shipping, and inventory data. They don’t want to call someone to get this information and companies don’t want to generate unnecessary customer service calls. Older systems weren’t designed for multiple user access and tend to be less customer-service oriented,” he adds.
Being a true cloud solution has substantial benefits in terms of integrations with Web – or integration services – being available on every processing screen. This is one of the reasons why Acumatica was chosen by Microsoft to demonstrate the use of ERP solutions on its new Azure platform and, more recently, Acumatica was used to demonstrate the release of Microsoft’s new Odata connectivity to the Microsoft Power BI product.
Employees are mobile and information also needs to be. By leveraging the potential of this decentralised world, more and more of the workforce is doing work from mobile devices on the road, using tablets, laptops, and phones.
“If you have to dig for up-to-date information, it slows critical decision-making and impairs problem-solving capacity. Acumatica is the obvious choice; it can provide instant, anywhere access with real-time information,” he concludes.