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As the prevalence of cloud solutions in areas like customer relationship management (CRM), human resources (HR) and accounting has increased, so too has interest in cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. ERP software has been slower to adapt to the cloud trend due the sophistication and computing requirements typical of an ERP system.
That is starting to change, however, as a small but increasing number of ERP vendors begin to offer their system in the software-as-a-service (SaaS), or cloud, model. Although there are relatively few cloud ERP options on the market today, every major ERP vendor offers some form of web access to their software. We wrote this buyer’s guide to sort through the myriad of web-based ERP solutions on the market.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system automates and tracks a variety of business functions across various departments in an organization - from tracking revenue to monitoring supply chain activities. Generally speaking, ERP software is an umbrella term describing a system that captures and shares information across all departments and business functions. Whereas a traditional ERP system is installed and maintained on location - cloud ERP software is delivered purely through a web browser via an Internet connection.
In the cloud model, the software vendor houses and manages the software and buyers pay a subscription price for the software - typically on a monthly or annual basis. This removes the need for businesses to host and maintain the software and data on their own servers. This model is not to be confused with “web-enabled” software, which means that the software is still installed on-site but the data is accessible online. In both cases, system data can be accessed through an Internet connection, enabling employees to remotely access their business data through any device with online capabilities.
Prior to beginning your software selection process, it’s important to know what type of buyer you are. This will help narrow your options and provide a good launching point for deciding which system is best for you. Generally speaking, there are three types of buyers:
Web-based ERPs have a number of key benefits over locally-installed systems but also have their drawbacks: