21st September, 2020
Though a staggering amount of business tech is now located ‘in the cloud’, do you have a clear understanding of what that really means for your day-to-day operations?
The cloud. As the name suggests, anything to do with ‘the cloud’ can feel ephemeral and hard to pin down, but, understanding cloud-based technologies and harnessing them in your business can lead to long term benefit.
Working with ‘the cloud’ can help you to scale your business in a way that wouldn’t be as easy (or even possible) without it.
In simple terms, is a way of using the internet to store, manage and process data in real time. So, rather than the hardware and software necessary to run a program sitting on your desktop, or somewhere inside your company’s server network, it’s provided to you as a service by a host provider ‘on the cloud’.
A simple example of the cloud in action is your website. Most small to medium-sized businesses don’t host their own websites because their core competency is not internet technology. And even large corporations that host their own website won’t usually have their own computer servers stored in their building. Most will use a combination of their own data centres, third-party hosting and cloud services.
There are generally considered to be three types of cloud categories. These are Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service.
IaaS is the most common type of cloud computing. It’s where you rent IT infrastructure, such as storage and networks. Rather than having to invest in the physical data centre infrastructure, an IaaS provider hosts your infrastructure in their own datacentre.
Common examples: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine
PaaS services provides a platform for customers to develop, run and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintain the infrastructure themselves. Most typically, you’d use a PaaS system when developing and launching an app.
Common examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine
SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection and a web browser. Under this model, it’s the software vendor that hosts and maintains the servers, databases and all the code, rather than you as the business owner.
Common examples: Google Apps, Dropbox, Salesforce, MYOB
Cloud ERP is a type of SaaS that lets users access enterprise resource planning (ERP) software over the internet, from anywhere they have a connection.
Cloud-based ERP enables businesses to manage day-to-day activities — such as project management, accounting, procurement and compliance — in real time, from anywhere.
It encourages a real-time flow of data between all your business processes and eliminates data duplication (for example, multiple clashing edits of the same document) — helping you maintain your data integrity.
In other words, using the cloud offers you a one-stop-shop for managing and understanding your business from anywhere, and is absolutely essential when you’re looking to scale.
Setting up traditional ERP systems can be costly, both in terms of time and money resources. That’s where cloud ERP comes in.
Cloud-based infrastructure is a more cost-effective way to set up the systems your business needs to run successfully. With cloud computing you avoid upfront costs, such as hardware purchasing and data services.
It reduces IT support costs because your software provider hosts and maintains the servers, databases and all the code. It also eliminates the need to pay large upfront application software licenses and the costs of maintaining and supporting applications.
Instead, you’ll pay a more manageable monthly fee.
With cloud technology, you and your employees can access your business systems from anywhere, at any time.
In today’s working from home environment, this has become more and more important as employees are working from geographically diverse locations. As long as you have the internet, you’ll be able to access your systems, regardless of where you’re located, without being tied to your physical infrastructure.
With cloud ERP, your business has the flexibility to buy only the services that you need, adjust them as necessary and change your storage capacity when your business grows without being locked in by expensive upfront costs.
Having access to full-function applications is vital to scaling your business. Cloud-based tech allows you that access at a reasonable price, without upfront expenditure, meaning you get what you need at a price you can afford.
And because cloud ERP applications can be set up more quickly (since no installation of hardware or software is required) you’ll be able to respond with agility to any opportunities for business growth that arise.
Having your business-critical systems on a cloud service gives you confidence that your important data is safe and secure. The provider will ensure that data is backed up and if there is a disaster, will have a recovery plan in place. It’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Moving to the cloud isn’t really an option any longer. Even now, more than 60 percent of people who seek out their advice on software only want web-based products. And industry thought leaders believe that over the next 10 years, cloud tech will become so commonplace, so standard, so ubiquitous, that it will be unthinkable to be doing anything else. Our business applications will become more and more integrated, have better and more efficient data sharing, and let us grow our businesses in a way that we simply can’t otherwise.
Getting your business organised and making the most of cloud-based systems is essential to keeping pace with your industry and future proofing your business growth. And an effective cloud ERP solution is your best bet for cost effectiveness, flexibility, scalability, security and speed now.
For more information on cloud ERP solutions, see the MYOB range of products for bigger businesses.