- Many companies turning to the cloud to modernise
- Five steps to ensure cloud ERP success
IF you are a growing midsize organisation, chances are you are outgrowing or will soon outgrow your entry level accounting system.
As you look to replace your legacy system, more and more companies are turning to cloud ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions – namely Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – to modernise their current systems and lay the foundation for future growth.
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Cloud ERP offers many advantages, such as an intuitive user experience, modern functionality, and the ability to conduct business anywhere via mobile devices.
It also offers more favourable economics with subscription-based licensing, and is not fully dependent on the IT department.
With all of these functionalities, midsize companies are able to reduce implementation time to offer faster time-to-value.
However, before deploying cloud ERP, organisations still need to carefully outline the project to maintain and ensure continued success.
They should consider whether the data migration from the existing systems to the new cloud ERP will be successful, and of course, whether they will be able to take advantage of modern capabilities built into the applications.
What are the steps involved to ensure cloud ERP implementation success?
The following overview describes the major steps involved, so organisations know what to expect and what is required to ensure successful deployment.
1) Build a plan
Managing a cloud ERP implementation involves selecting an implementation partner, developing a timeline, and establishing a project team consisting of your key employees to define your goals.
This includes defining requirements, mapping out business processes, and carefully weighing competing priorities.
The team should include members of the finance organisation who can advise on critical aspects of configuring the cloud ERP, such as its charts of accounts, compliance requirements, workflows, and reporting.
2) Cloud ERP design
Planning an implementation requires consideration around how it will support the company’s operations.
After building a plan, organisations will know what they actually need presently as well as in the future.
Getting the right partner or vendor with credible experience can help these organisations with an eye to the process that will support the business, and then they can create the right cloud ERP design for the company more efficiently.
3) Data conversion
Every company has data that needs to be migrated to the new cloud ERP. The data may reside in legacy accounting systems and be in a structured format or it may reside in spreadsheets, which can be difficult to migrate.
In the worst case scenario, ‘data’ may reside in paper documents, such as purchase and sales orders or vendor invoices that may need to be manually keyed in.
Key factors in deciding which data to migrate should include assessing what is critical for reporting and compliance.
Particularly, for publicly-traded companies or those which plan to go public soon, you need historical financial data to report on past performance.
4) Cloud ERP integration
Being a midsize business doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of complexity. You may have systems, both cloud and on-premises, which handle customer-facing processes such as ensuring that customer orders are properly processed, fulfilled, invoiced, and accounted for.
You may have procurement systems that need to reconcile purchase orders with vendor invoices in accounts payable.
You may have specialised systems that manage interactions with your banks.
Combined, these systems form the backbone of your business and connect your company to customers, suppliers, and other trading partners. They need to be carefully considered in the implementation plan.
5) User adoption and training
Often overlooked but critical to realising fast time to value is ensuring your users are trained properly to take full advantage of the system’s capabilities.
Modern cloud ERP systems accelerate time to value through their intuitive, easy-to-use user interfaces which help your people become productive quickly.
However, for knowledge workers who perform more complex work, their inclusion on the implementation team is critical to getting them up the learning curve.
Modern cloud ERP offers many advantages over legacy on-premises systems. They also feature quicker implementation times that enable faster time to value.
However, midsize companies still need to carefully plan and manage their implementation to ensure critical business requirements are taken into account in order to ensure maximum success at go-live and well into the future.
Moon Won is vice president, Applications Asean, at Oracle Corp.
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