Considering Cloud ERP?

Submitted by Plex Systems, Inc. www.plex.com

If you are considering Cloud ERP, you are not alone.

Researchers at IDC found that Software as a service (SaaS), sometimes referred to as “Cloud Solutions” are an increasingly effective and popular way to implement various business applications.

Companies see the positive aspects of total cost of ownership for company-wide, enterprise-level applications — particularly for small and medium-sized companies.

Based on IDC research from 2010, over 50% of manufacturing companies are using some form of hosted application, and another 35% are considering it.

A Business Model
SaaS is less about technology than it is about a business model that incorporates the delivery of software, content, and services as flexible Web-based solutions.

For manufacturers in a range of industries, this means accessing ERP functionality as an integrated Web service, with the ability to manage and monitor the entire business operations – including the plant floor – from anywhere, at any time.  The manufacturing enterprise gains control, and also ends up reducing costs. Company investment in upgrading servers, operating systems, databases, backup equipment and complex programming environments is unnecessary – the software vendor provides them.

With true SaaS, all users run off one version of the software (with technologies that guarantee privacy and security between companies).  The software is constantly updated and changes are automatically available to everyone.

SaaS offers other advantages over traditional licensed software packages.
•    No need to maintain, manage and constantly upgrade servers and software over time.
•    Data is protected by industry-standard security.
•    Lower total cost of ownership over time.
•    Fewer configurations, less complexity, less maintenance cost.

What’s Your Next Step?
Those companies in attendance at the Boston Vendor Shootout can take a close look “under the hood” at Plex Online Cloud ERP.

As you participate in vendor demos, be sure you know what you’re viewing.  Avoid a hosted legacy ERP application that will just add cost and complexity to the customer-vendor relationship.  Software buyers should:

•    ask to see the actual software.
•    observe the software in action at a similar manufacturing company.
•    find out if there is a fixed price implementation.
•    understand how many users are needed to get the full value from the system.  SaaS is a subscription-based service, with fees usually based on number of users at a company.
•    request that the software vendor demonstrate the entire system from one of your laptop without loading any software on it beforehand.

Additional Resource
Read a free white paper that takes a closer look at the SaaS or Cloud model, The “SaaS Primer” paper available from Plex Systems clearly defines the term, and describes the short-term and long-term benefits of the Cloud model and its variants.

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