Determining the true value of cloud software is never an easy task, particularly when companies must factor in the cost of a migration. Many legacy platforms simply aren't ready for the cloud and must be re-architected to take advantage of scalability. If a company decides to leverage a software-as-a-service solution, it must still find a way to safely migrate data to cloud storage. According to Smart Data Collective contributor Ephraim Cohen, this has created questions regarding the value of cloud software.
Cohen highlighted the misconception that cloud services are always easy to implement. Considerations such as vendor selection, security, cost and the difficulty of the implementation process can all add to the complexity of adopting a cloud ERP solution. In some instances, cloud providers have offered managed services to aid in the deployment phase, but the customer must still spend the time to train employees with new software.
"Bottom line – implementation efficiency is not gained because of 'the cloud' or that the new software is promoted as 'next generation,'" Cohen wrote. "Efficiency is gained because ERP is not a new concept and most companies have formerly undertaken ERP implementations. Their management and employees know the problems that occur during implementation and are now prepared to respond more quickly."
The responsibility for ensuring effective deployments is partially on cloud providers, as they must be careful to avoid promising too much or making it sound like their solution won't change business operations. Instead, vendors can focus on the value of their offerings and specific cases to back up their claims. The data is there to support high returns on cloud ERP, for example. As a recent Manufacturing Technology article pointed out, the ROI of such applications is as much as 1.7 times that of on-premise alternatives.