By Khaled AlShami, Vice President Solution Consulting, MEA, Infor
As we move through 2022 many distributors are pondering the question: To cloud or not to cloud? Is the disruption of moving my Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other tools worth the benefits and rewards? As we look back at the past few years, it is not difficult to find compelling reasons why a cloud move is beneficial. Let’s look at some of them:
External factors such as Covid 19 and geopolitical tensions have serious repercussions for the way we do business. It’s clear that companies that had moved to the cloud before the pandemic had an advantage over those who had not. Having systems like email, ERP, and customer relationship management (CRM) in the cloud allows employees to work from anywhere with internet access. Effective ERP systems also give companies far better control and oversight of their supply chains, which helps them to navigate sudden changes in the supply of essential components, products, or ingredients.
2 Data security
Cyberattacks against business are increasing. From mid-2020 throughout 2021, there was an upwards trend in the number of cyber-attacks, according to Check Point Research. This trend reached an all-time high at the end of the 2021, peaking to 925 cyberattacks a week per organisation, globally.
Moving your systems from on-premises to the cloud allows you to take advantage of the billions of dollars the major hosting companies like AWS spend on digital security. It allows you to leverage the continuous scrutiny of experts who are vigilant to new attack approaches.
3 Growth & costs
A cloud-based system grows as the company grows. You only pay for what you use. With an on-premises solution, your company is responsible for purchasing and maintaining the hardware necessary to store your data. As the business grows, the need for additional hardware and IT professionals to maintain them increases. Distributors can save upward of 30% or more on total cost of ownership by moving to the cloud. This move frees up valuable IT resources to drive innovation in other areas of your business, like improving customer experience. Lastly, growth with innovation like artificial intelligence or AI is easier and less expensive in the cloud.
4 Always operate on the most current version
With a cloud-based multi-tenant system, you always have the latest version with the newest capabilities. Bringing an on-premises system down to upgrade to the next version introduces unnecessary risk into a distributor’s business. Cloud allows you to always stay modern. You don’t have to schedule major events every two to three years where you pause and upgrade. Instead, take bite-size updates as they are released and avoid making your own changes that can break future upgrades. In addition, you will always be on top of changing regulations, even across multiple regions.
5 Real-time access to data and inventory
How often do sales reps have to call the distribution center to see if an item they are trying to sell is in stock when levels are lower? How often is customer-specific pricing not immediately available? Storing your data in a data lake for immediate updating and retrieval makes your people more efficient and enables them to serve your customers better.
The message from distributors we work with globally is clear. They tell us that they find themselves squarely in the centre of the supply chain, and as technology demands from both customers and suppliers continue to increase, distributors need the ability to adapt and invest in new technologies to maximise efficiency, transparency, and profitability.
The bottom line
To cloud or not to cloud? The benefits of cloud are compelling: the ability for employees to work from anywhere, data security from ransomware attacks, ability to grow and only pay for what you use, no upgrade disruption, and access to data in real time. You decide.