ERP in the Cloud… Is It a Viable Solution? Part 1…

Hi There – It’s been a while…  hope all is going well…

This is the first in a series of posts where we will discuss the viability of a cloud ERP / enterprise system solutions from a number of different angles?

• Performance

• Storage

• Maintenance

• Fault tolerance and Redundancy

• Access

• Security

• Cost

• Virtualization

• Specific module issues

• AND anything Y0U wish to add…

Obviously a number of these topics have been the talk of tech of late, but the implications of the cloud ERP – enterprise resource planning platform are far reaching.

Performance – While increasing bandwidth is available to small and large business, the variability in performance can be a real issue when you are talking about critical path business processes.

Storage – The cost of per gigabyte storage has come down dramatically and for that reason, storage cost reduction is not really going to be justification for putting your business systems in the cloud. However there are other issues associated with storage that could be important factors…

Maintenance – Hardware and software updates can certainly factor into the equation when considering a cloud enterprise business system. You really need to look no further than the SalesForce.com homepage graphic “No Software” to see the value proposition.

Fault Tolerance and Redundancy – Having your data stored on more than one disk system is a good idea. The question is… is it primary storage, secondary, tertiary, you get the idea…

Access – This factor to the overall discussion can take on a number of different facets. First of all, who has access to your system and data and second of all how reliable is your access…then there are security concerns…

Security – You know that if your hardware, software and your database are housed in your server room, that shutting down the web would mitigate intrusion at least from the outside. Next you also know that you have direct control over the condition of your hardware.

Cost – it is tantalizing to think that you could eliminate the overhead cost associated with your hardware and maintenance but at the same time what is the true cost of a cloud based business system? Accountability etc…?

Virtualization – Boy, talk about the buzz word of 2011! The potential benefits of virtualization can be tremendous from a labor, performance and a cost standpoint. But there are different things to consider and approaches when looking at a cloud virtualization solution.

Specific Module Issues – Now let’s discuss a few specific modules to your business system that might be of concern:

First Planning and Scheduling. If you have been involved in manufacturing systems for more than 5 minutes, then you know the CPU intensive nature of regenerating data.

Next, your financial / HR information; I don’t care what kind of encryption you have; passing mission critical information around the web is a concern. There are others, but you get the idea and we will discuss these in further detail in future posts.

In Conclusion

These issues and others will be the topics of discussion in upcoming posts. I am eager to hear your thoughts and experience with ERP in the Cloud.

Until next time, this is Rick, signing off…

If you are considering the purchase of, are upgrading or are in the middle of an ERP or CRM implementation, check out the Business Software Implementation Tracker, my 500+ page step by step guide that can aid you in:

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Walking all the way to Go Live…