5 Ways to Evaluate Cloud ERP Options

word composition of the concept ERP (Enterprise resource planning)

The cloud has become the preferred platform for ERP because it eliminates so many obstacles while extending so many capabilities. ERP that is hosted in the cloud is affordable, simple, and scalable in ways that an on-site deployment never is. That is why so many ERP adopters consider the cloud as the first and only option.

The only real drawback to cloud ERP is that it has become so popular that there are now an extensive number of vendors to choose from. Each claim to be the best, but only a select few will deliver on that promise. As you begin wading through options, use the following ways to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any particular cloud ERP vendor.

Determine Your Business Requirements

You can’t determine whether any particular ERP vendor can satisfy all your wants and needs until you understand exactly what those entail. Start by identifying what capabilities you are missing now, and which you will need in the future. Be sure to account for how changes in your industry/market/customer base will affect your requirements. Finally, bring in stakeholders from both the top and the bottom, and from departments ranging from marketing, finance, and IT, to offer their input. Remember that the right cloud ERP vendor is not the flashiest or most popular, but rather the one that is most capable of meeting all your business requirements.

Look for Industry Expertise

Lots of cloud ERP vendors will claim to have expertise within a specific industry — manufacturing, finance, retail, etc. But in most cases, these are trumped up claims based on no real experience or history. Instead of relying on a sales pitch, look into a vendor’s history, and find out what kind of clients they have served in the past.

Evaluate the Strength of the Cloud

An ERP product is only as strong as the cloud that it relies on. Some will be able to offer superior uptimes, reliable disaster recovery, enhanced mobility, and greater scalability. For instance, Salesforce ERP integration has become a gold-standard because the Salesforce cloud is so robust and so vigorously supported. You should prioritize a cloud ERP vendor that gives you access to the deepest and most dependable pool of cloud resources.

Budget Your Costs

The cost of any particular cloud ERP option will be important to consider, but do not make hasty assumptions based on a price tag. The cheapest solution you can find may be totally inadequate, and the most expensive might not be the best. Any vendor you choose to work with should be able to provide a transparent look into its cost structure, both for the upfront implementation and as your requirements change. They should also help you to understand the ongoing costs of ERP and offer 

Schedule a Demo

Once you have your list of options narrowed down to a few top contenders, request that each provide you with a free demo. This will likely include a prepared presentation, but it should also open up to let you ask questions, try a product hands on, and engage with someone who has expertise from both a business and technical standpoint. If a vendor seems hesitant to let you dictate the terms of the demo, it should raise red flags.

Your company will immediately become stronger with cloud ERP in place. But that does not mean you should rush to adopt any particular solution. The consequences of picking the wrong solution and having to either make do or switch suddenly can be disastrous. Plus, since the cloud ERP market is so competitive, you never have to settle for a vendor. Don’t hesitate to be cautious or selective until an option clearly rises above and beyond the others.

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