Optimize business value with the right hybrid ERP configuration
Because of the mission-critical nature of today’s business application software, choosing the right implementation strategy is more crucial than ever. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems. Organizations are examining hybrid ERP implementations, thanks to modular, cloud-based options that offer viable alternatives to the rigid, unwieldy systems that have long dominated the industry.
Businesses seeking greater agility find the cloud ERP model particularly attractive due to its ease of scalability benefits and its ability to help reduce their dependence on costly dedicated infrastructure.
by 2018, at least 30 percent of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud
Not surprisingly, cloud ERP adoption is on the rise. According to a report by Gartner, by 2018, at least 30 percent of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud.
But that doesn’t mean companies are moving their on-premise business and production applications entirely to a cloud environment. Many are implementing a hybrid cloud approach to benefit from the best of both worlds. Indeed, one of the best qualities of the cloud is that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can choose the degree to which you want or are willing to move each business process to the cloud and assign different operational requirements to the appropriate operating model.
Gain a performance advantage
A hybrid cloud ERP system can bring a host of benefits to your business, from integrating data across the enterprise to improving operational speed, efficiency, and agility.
- Improve scalability: Cloud and hybrid ERP applications can be easily scaled as needed to meet actual capacity requirements. The ability to scale services on demand is particularly attractive for quickly growing businesses, companies with locations around the globe and those with seasonal operations.
- Accelerate time to market: Hybrid ERP and cloud ERP applications and services are available to businesses sooner, thanks to frequent, automatic updates and shorter release cycles for new features. You can leverage cutting-edge innovations much more quickly and have the peace of mind that your cloud provider’s security experts are guarding your system with the latest protective measures.
- Improve access flexibility: The permanent, high availability of cloud and hybrid ERP environments ensures fully location-independent access to reserved applications and resources. Employees are no longer tethered to their work stations, but instead can access and work with data from anywhere around the world on their preferred device—all they need is internet access and a good connection.
- Strengthen security: A hybrid cloud ERP system lets you control data segments so sensitive data has the strongest security with on-site protections, while less critical data is positioned elsewhere in the cloud. Shorter, more agile delivery cycles also mean that the latest security standards are incorporated in your applications much faster.
- Optimize resources: By having a cloud provider assume some of the responsibilities for operating, maintaining, and updating of your ERP infrastructure and software, you can relieve pressure on your IT team and preserve your in-house expertise for your on-premise systems. In addition, lower power consumption leads to decreased energy costs, helping to further reduce operational expenses.
Configure the ideal hybrid ERP architecture
A hybrid cloud ERP is built for long-term business growth without locking you into a legacy platform with outdated functionality—so you don’t have to compromise if you need specialty features in specific areas of your business, such as supply chain logistics. The best hybrid cloud infrastructure lets you leverage your existing on-premise hardware, making it easy to integrate new services while keeping your data protected.
Hybrid cloud strategies can vary greatly from one business to the next, depending on needs and aspirations. Your on-premise servers can be employed as is or used as part of a private cloud implementation. Your hybrid cloud ERP system can be deployed on your private cloud, with public cloud capacity filling in any functionality gaps you have within your organization. All elements of the hybrid cloud ERP work in partnership, reducing installation and maintenance issues.
Ultimately it’s about determining which workloads can effectively be transitioned, managed and provisioned to users over time
Each cloud deployment has its own set of benefits and limitations, so with the long-term in mind, consider the functionality and level of integration you need your hybrid cloud ERP to have; the financial commitment you’re willing to make; and the existing infrastructure you have in place and how you plan to manage it. Ultimately it’s about determining which workloads can effectively be transitioned, managed and provisioned to users over time, exploiting the most appropriate service delivery model.
Other key factors of Hybrid ERP architecture to consider include:
- High availability: As part of the SLA (service level agreement), your cloud provider should supply updated guarantees and explanation of the redundant systems in place to protect against major system failure. Ideally, you should be able to easily deploy your application physically separate, redundant locations. This helps ensure that an interruption in one facility won’t hinder the availability of your application.
- Automatic scaling: You should have the ability to automatically scale your capacity up or down based on the metrics and policies that you determine. This helps you meet shifting business demands, while giving you the flexibility to pay only for what you use and need.
- Robust security: Look for high levels of security when assessing potential cloud providers, ranging from facility access control measures and data protection techniques, to application-level security such as role-level access. Make sure your provider meets the latest security standards regarding policies, processes and controls, including data encryption and system monitoring.
- Load balancing: To help ensure application demand is more evenly balance across your cloud environment, be sure to take advantage of your provider’s load balancing capability, which automatically scales and manages on its own, liberating you from having to implement and administer a separate task. The load balancing feature should also monitor application health and performance to help prevent failures that could impact users.
- Multiple deployment locations: Ideally you want to have a choice of deployment options that allow you to place your applications close to your users. This results in faster downloads and lower latency connections.
- Global support: Look for a cloud ERP vendor with a global footprint, allowing you to access expertise locally—either directly or through a vendor partner. Your ability to access local resources allows you to maximize the lower cost and flexibility advantages inherent in the cloud model.
Chart your hybrid ERP path
Adopting a hybrid cloud ERP strategy that leverages the advantages of both cloud and on-premises environments is one of the best ways to maximize the potential of the cloud while improving your ability to respond to shifting customer demands, market trends, and supply chain challenges. This is especially true for midsize businesses, as their size demands a robust, agile computing infrastructure while their IT budgets often prohibit a large, in-house data center.
As the pace of technological change accelerates, your internal IT staff and internal systems are increasingly hard-pressed to keep up. Eventually, you fall behind and lose competitive advantage. The solution: Work with a trusted, cloud-based ERP partner who can provide you with a full package of integrated solutions that will automate the entire business, in addition to providing the service and support that ensures your business software runs smoothly.
While implementing a hybrid cloud ERP infrastructure can be challenging, when done correctly, the investment will pay dividends far beyond the initial effort.
About abas: abas ERP is more than just software—it’s a complete solution designed to meet your unique manufacturing requirements. Our expert consultants have a wealth of domain experience that makes them an ideal partner for custom manufacturers. Not only can we implement the software across an entire organization, but we can teach the relevant stakeholders how to make the most of the system to improve your business performance. Whether you have 10 employees or 1000, our aim is to optimize your processes so that you can save time and costs, improve visibility, implement reliable advance planning, and achieve competitive advantage.