Moving Your ERP to the Cloud? There’s an Easier Way… Spitfire?

Moving an ERP to the cloud is like walking into a room and seeing 100 buttons you could push – but 90 of those buttons may cause security problems or increased costs. What’s the answer?

Author: Len Landale

Companies are increasingly moving their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suites to the public cloud. This is because the move brings two major benefits: a new layer of security to ERP installations, and a reduction in long-term hardware purchase and maintenance costs.

In addition, cloud-based ERP systems can offer companies more flexibility, enabling them to more easily embrace DevOps for related software builds. As with other moves to the cloud, a well-implemented cloud ERP system can increase your organization’s agility while reducing costs.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Moving an ERP system to the cloud – and operating it there – comes with its challenges. The process can be complicated and time-consuming, and running the software after it’s in place can be equally complex. As an example, without cloud expertise, companies can be left wondering if the entire ERP functionality was moved to the cloud or if the ERP system is even optimized for the cloud. 

In addition, public cloud providers are continually offering new features and services, which include powerful new analytics tools, additional security features, or new pricing models, which ensures cost savings. For the average company looking for cloud services, it’s tough to keep up.

This is why, for some, it makes sense to work with an experienced service provider that has the skill to manage this complexity with agility and efficiency and can make the move to the cloud seem effortless.

Too many choices

The flexibility that large cloud providers offer can be overwhelming. Hyperscale cloud providers make it easy to rapidly deploy new resources, including storage and computing power – both of which are major advantages of the cloud. However, this can also become a problem for several reasons.

When employees take advantage of near-unlimited computing resources billed under a pay-as-you-go model, some companies new to the cloud ERP model will see their monthly cloud bills fluctuate wildly as developer teams experiment with new cloud resources. In some cases, the monthly cloud bill can spike by tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single month.

While new features give developers more freedom and flexibility, this can open the organization up to security risks. For example, the company’s cloud architects often begin changing security settings, like firewall rules, without consulting with their cybersecurity team. They may even have the power to configure storage in a way that doesn’t comply with internal security standards.

The fact is, the cloud offers up a whole realm of new capabilities and features, which are readily available and in some cases, limitless in their scope. In some ways, moving an ERP system to the cloud is like walking into a room with 100 buttons you can push. But 90 of those buttons may cause security problems, increased costs, or other issues.

The answer for many companies is in finding a good partner to help navigate the challenges and make cloud adoption a simpler and stress-free process.

Looking for a partner

Engaging a managed services provider to help both with the move of ERP systems to the public cloud and with system management and monitoring after the transition can remove the complexity of most cloud migrations.

A good managed services provider (MSP) will:

  • Help decide how best to move the client’s ERP system to the cloud with minimal disruptions.
  • Have experience moving a variety of ERP systems and be able to tailor the transition to both the ERP its client uses and to the client’s needs.
  • Make it a top priority to keep up with all the new features, tools, and other changes happening at the cloud provider where its clients are hosting their ERP systems – and notify its clients when it sees a way they can benefit from the new features.
  • Implement security, operational governance, and cost-containment controls for its clients, while allowing for some flexibility and the ability to deploy quickly and use modern DevOps utilities.
  • Put up guardrails that alert the client and enforce corporate policy.
  • Provide 24/7 coverage and monitoring of the cloud ERP, as they will have a deeper employee bench than most companies can field.

The role of managed services in the cloud ERP space is to allow companies to get back to the outcomes they want to achieve. The best MSP will give these companies agility, reduced costs, and increased security after moving their ERPs to the public cloud.

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