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Strategies for success and long-term ROI in a cloud ERP world

by Charles Courquin, Sales Director

Demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems shows no signs of abating. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global ERP software market size is projected to grow from $81.15 billion in 2024 to $238.79 billion by 2032, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4% during the forecast period. 

This growth in the market is being driven by organisations across multiple industry sectors as they increasingly look to accelerate their digital transformation to streamline operations, boost efficiency, and stay competitive. ERP systems are crucial in this shift, integrating key business processes and delivering real-time insights for decision-making.  

Harnessing cloud potential  

Another significant driver of ERP market growth has been the transition towards the cloud, particularly because of the scalability, flexibility, and accessibility cloud-based ERP has to offer, making it an attractive option for organisations of all sizes. Additionally, cloud deployment eliminates the need for extensive upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, lowering barriers to adoption. For fast-growth companies, this translates into the ability to swiftly adapt to evolving market demands and seize emerging opportunities. Moreover, by migrating to the cloud, organisations give themselves a better opportunity to efficiently deploy and integrate cutting-edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning into their operations.  

Cloud-based ERP systems provide a centralised platform essential for AI and IoT technologies, which depend on accessing vast data from diverse sources. These systems efficiently gather data from IoT devices across various locations and departments, facilitating smooth AI processing and analysis.  

Furthermore, IoT devices generate data in real-time, and cloud ERP systems can process this data instantaneously, providing timely insights. AI can further analyse this data to forecast trends, optimise operations, and enhance decision-making processes. For instance, in manufacturing, IoT sensors can predict equipment failures before they occur. Integrating these sensors with a cloud-based ERP system allows for real-time monitoring and maintenance scheduling, significantly reducing downtime and maintenance costs. 

Challenges on the journey  

The journey towards embracing cloud-based ERP inevitably comes with challenges, however. Transitioning from legacy systems to cloud-based platforms requires careful planning, resource allocation, and change management. Businesses need to plan for the cost of change up front.  

Integrating cloud-based ERP with existing systems and applications can be complex and expensive, particularly for organisations with heterogeneous IT environments. Seamless integration is essential to avoid disruptions and ensure data consistency across the enterprise - and there is cost to pay here also.  

Businesses typically plan for these costs but fail to fully scope out the post go-live management of the solution, including release management; regular testing; change costs and training. If they want to efficiently manage the continuous evolution that cloud involves, they need to think about this and bring in expert help, (depending on where they are on their cloud journey and the internal resource support required). 

Overcoming the barriers 

Despite these challenges, organisations can successfully overcome obstacles on the path to cloud-based financials and procurement solutions adoption and unlock a myriad of benefits. To understand what good looks like, they need to assemble a project team that combines technical expertise with subject matter proficiency, best practice awareness, and process improvement capabilities. This team should critically examine current practices and their purposes, exploring ways in which technology can enhance and streamline operations, with the objective of eliminating, or significantly reducing manual workarounds. Our very own Accelerate for ERP and SCM Cloud solution is a case in point. The system offers a swift, cost-effective deployment of Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle SCM Cloud, enabling organisations to realise new business capabilities within 14 weeks and achieve a 40%-60% reduction in implementation costs. It is an approach that ensures a quick path to ROI, with minimal need for manual intervention of any kind, and minimal business disruption. 

In delivering any cloud-based ERP implementation, the business also needs to ensure it brings its employees with it. Prioritising change management initiatives, including training programmes, workshops, and user feedback mechanisms, fosters a culture of continuous learning and adaptation. Employees feel empowered to embrace new technologies and processes, driving organisational agility and innovation.  

Conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis and exploring flexible pricing models, such as pay-per-use or subscription-based pricing, enables organisations to optimise total cost of ownership (TCO) and maximise return on investment (ROI). 

Supporting future-ready business transformation  

By transitioning to cloud-based ERP, companies not only streamline their core operations but also create a robust platform conducive to the integration of advanced technologies such as AI. 

Businesses stand to reap significant rewards from the strategic implementation of cloud-based ERP systems. Crucially, such an approach establishes a scalable and flexible infrastructure that adapts to evolving business needs and market conditions – which is crucial for businesses looking to expand their operations or enhance their service offerings without the constraints of traditional IT infrastructure. In particular, such systems serve as a springboard for incorporating AI, machine learning, and other innovative technologies. These tools can dramatically improve decision-making processes, automate routine tasks, and provide deeper insights into customer behaviours and business trends, thereby driving innovation. 

By proactively addressing potential challenges associated with cloud migration—such as data security, system integration, and user training - organisations can ensure a smooth transition. Leveraging best practices in project management, change management, and continuous training enables businesses to minimise disruptions during the shift and accelerates the adoption curve. 

As companies harness the power of cloud-based ERP, they experience enhanced agility - quickly responding to market changes and customer needs with greater efficiency. This adaptability, combined with the strategic use of AI and analytics, propels businesses toward greater innovation and competitiveness. 

Investing in cloud-based ERP is not merely about upgrading technology - it's a foundational move towards creating a more agile, innovative, and resilient business. In today’s dynamic landscape, such a transformation is not just beneficial but essential for maintaining competitive edge and driving long-term success. 

About the author

Charles Courquin

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