- 15 July 2015
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The False Trade Off of ‘Cloud vs. On Premises’
Despite the growing popularity of cloud deployment models in the last decade, the right deployment model for any given customer still requires thought and consideration. Some ‘cloud only and always’ vendors have taken an insincere approach to painting on premises deployments in an unfavorable light. While one can argue against an on premises deployment in specific instances, it’s certainly not true for every situation. Generally these vendors have a vested interest in convincing prospects that their ONLY deployment model is the only viable answer to service their needs.
At Epicor, we reject this narrow minded view. Many of our customers have chosen to deploy Epicor ERP in our multi-tenant SaaS model, many others in our single-tenant SaaS model. Yet there are customers who have compelling business or technical reasons to opt for an on premises deployment model. Indeed, because Epicor ERP is the exact same solution deployed at a customer’s site as it is in the cloud, it provides absolute “freedom of choice” when it comes to the deployment model—something not generally offered by other ERP vendors. Our best advice to customers considering deploying in the cloud (or on premises) is to not surrender to a single option vendor who will deny them the opportunity to revisit their deployment model (while protecting existing investments) as their needs change.
Epicor ERP allows customers to easily migrate between cloud deployed systems and on premises licensed deployments with no impact on end-user efficiency. Indeed, most customers are entirely unaware of the physical location of their application and data (before or after a move to or from the cloud).
The important lesson here for customers who are making a decision between ‘cloud’ and ‘on premises’ is that the best answer is ‘both.’ Future proof your decisions by ensuring that as your needs change, you are able to easily migrate to the cloud (and perhaps back again.)
Finally, it is worth mentioning that with Epicor ERP deployed under a single- or multi-tenant SaaS model, you retain ownership of your data, and have the ability to ‘repatriate’ it to your network at any time. Your data remains your sole confidential property, and Epicor privacy and data protection policies ensure that at no time will your data be exposed to any third party.
Remote is Good. Mobile is Best.
Most of us take for granted the pervasiveness of mobile connectivity in our personal lives—our smart phones deliver mobile computing power that has revolutionized our world in terms of access to information and real-time connectivity. Yet we don’t all have the same high expectations of pervasive connectivity or mobility when it comes to our enterprise applications.
Perhaps we’ve tolerated these limitations in enterprise connectivity for historical reasons. Not that long ago, it was technically unimaginable to be able to check real-time inventory levels or juggle production schedules in real time from an Apple® iPad® in an easy chair at home, or by iPhone® from the back of a cab in Shanghai. However, Epicor ERP runs best when it runs throughout an organization, and connects adjacent organizations and every possible device—from smart phone to tablet to laptop to unmanned ‘machine to machine’ interfaces.
For most customers, deploying Epicor ERP in the cloud generally makes it much easier for companies to tie together remote locations, mobile employees and even external customers and suppliers (previous ‘islands’ without ERP connectivity.) An inherent benefit of a cloud deployment is the fact that end points (such as tablets, Web browsers, forklift mounted data collection devices, or rich smart customers) only need access the internet to gain secure access to Epicor ERP no matter their geographic location.
Cloud deployment is often seen as a great way to end internal “system proliferation and balkanization” as well. With cloud deployment many customers find the opportunity to standardize on a single instance of Epicor ERP radically improves consistency and accounting control. Historically an organization with 10 subsidiaries or geographic locations would deploy 10 different instances of an accounting system (or to make matters worse, 10 different accounting systems). Month end consolidation nightmares were routine, with consistency and control generally sacrificed—to say nothing of the maintenance and support costs. Outside of traditional financial workloads, the inability to collaborate across sales, service, and production teams remained limited. By unifying your staff onto a single cloud based Epicor ERP solution, collaboration becomes the norm, driving greater customer (and vendor) satisfaction and operational effectiveness—no matter the length of your production and supply chains. The cloud is truly the ‘great unifying network’ that securely spans across your organization—and out into the hands of your employees and customers—if you so choose.
Of course this same level of pervasive ERP connectivity is technically possible with an on premises deployment—however achieving it necessitates your provisioning and maintaining IT resources to deliver secure and high performance access for all users. The hardware, network, and security implications of achieving this are generally outside the scope of many smaller organizations—and outside the core business charter of most companies. Many customers prefer to avoid the infrastructure costs of delivering these capabilities themselves, deploy Epicor ERP in the cloud, and invest that same capital in machinery, services, sales, or marketing.
While providing Epicor ERP access to a geographically remote location (such as off-shore production facilities, or a remote sales office across town) is an obvious benefit of cloud deployment, for many customers an even more compelling use case is seamless mobile access across the enterprise.
Sales professionals, field service staff, and travelling executive staff armed with tablets and smart phones are all great examples of constantly connected but stateless workers. If they need to review production details while at home on the weekend, or ‘availability to commit’ inventory information from their customer’s board room, cloud deployment may be the best option for you—requiring only a smart phone/tablet to access the Epicor ERP solution without the need to deliver VPN protected channels for their use. Similarly, a SaaS deployment offers the ability to allow strategic vendors and customers to access key workflows of your ERP system remotely—oftentimes critical for your operating as a unified supply chain in the modern interconnected economy.
There is little doubt that mobile access to ERP data, coupled with a user experience that encourages self-service is changing the face of today’s ERP systems as we bring our always-connected consumer expectations with us to work (along with our always-connected mobile phones).
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.
Follow previous postings on http://www.ctnd.com/blog/ and don’t forget to check back next week, for part 3!