On October 6th, 2016 we had a great meeting with some of our local clients and business owners to discuss the future of ERP, accounting, and business management software. We discussed how the cloud will be a part of their future business. And we discussed Acumatica, our newest product offering.

We started our day with Janet Talley talking about Demystifying the Cloud, so I’ll start there as well.

What is the cloud?

First, let’s talk about what the cloud is, and what it isn’t.

The cloud is… a network of servers housed and maintained by another company, that you access on the internet via a SaaS or IaaS application (definitions below).

The cloud isn’t… mystical or mysterious. It’s just someone else’s computers, servers, and hardware.

There are a couple of ways most companies offer cloud services:

Software as a Service Software as a Service (SaaS) is probably the most common. When you use Office 365, Google Applications or GoToWebinar for instance, you are using a SaaS application.

It is an application that lives in ‘the cloud’, and you access it from your computer or device.

Infrastructure as a Service You probably also use Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as well. When you’re using IaaS, you’re in essence renting computing power and not just the application or software. Examples would be your website host, Amazon AWS, DropBox or Microsoft Azure.

These are services that rent access to their computing power, that you access through their software from your computer or device.

So what is the cloud? A network of servers housed and maintained by another company.

How do you access it? Over the internet via a SaaS or IaaS cloud application.

So now that we know what the cloud is, and how we access it. Let’s talk about why you should be taking it seriously.

9 REASONS YOU SHOULD TAKE THE CLOUD AND CLOUD ERP SERIOUSLY

1. Reduce upfront hardware and software costs Should you be in the tech business? Use your resources to focus on your core business, then choose a company whose core business is housing and maintaining secure servers.

2. Reduce IT support costs That shouldn’t scare IT, professionals. There are still a lot of opportunities to work with products in the cloud including the core ERP and financial software, it just means you won’t have to maintain the hardware in your office.

3. We can deploy more quickly We don’t have to wait for servers, or to updated or upgraded machines to be built and installed. It’s already been built and your ERP software is ready to set up and access.

4. More predictable monthly costs Server maintenance, desktop replacement, ongoing support, and on-site upgrades. Your tech expenditures can balloon.

Running an application in the cloud isn’t going to alleviate all of your tech costs or headaches, but you will know is that updates and upgrades are built into your payments.

5. Have the latest and greatest version of your cloud ERP software automatically Playing off of number 4, updates and upgrades are tested and deployed entirely in the background. No more waiting until after hours or weekends to kick everyone out of the system before doing an upgrade. It’s already done.

6. Leverage global leaders in Information Security and Technology Depending on your core business, there can be valid reasons to consider deploying your business management software in house. If maintaining servers is part of your core business, you probably don’t need to look to the cloud.

If it isn’t, there’s no way we can put the resources that the Amazons, Microsoft, and Googles of the world can into location security, information security, redundancy and stability that these companies who maintain these servers do as part of their core business.

7. Reduced back-up and disaster recovery If your Seattle office has the servers and the power goes down or if one of the servers overheats… do all of your branch offices go down? Probably. When you’re using an IaaS with power and security redundancies built in these are problems of the past. It doesn’t completely alleviate the need for physical or third-party back-ups but the likelihood of needing them is significantly diminished.

8. Universal on-demand availability It’s easier to hire employees in different locations and easier to open new branches because your accounting software and systems are all online.

9. The Multi-cloud World – Better Integration to other Cloud applications Cloud likes cloud, and as more and more of your favorite applications move to the cloud, a cloud ERP will be able to integrate more seamlessly with them.