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Not All Cloud Solutions are Alike

Manufacturers know that to succeed in today’s dynamic, evolving markets, they need a cloud ERP system that allows their firm to be agile, productive, mobile and connected to the real-time data they need to make critical business decisions. Manufacturing firms can’t afford to settle for less than the best solution, and they can’t afford to keep pouring money and human resources into antiquated legacy ERP systems or implement flawed systems that have been rushed into the cloud.

There are so many choices available that it can be difficult for manufacturing firms to choose the ERP solution that is right for them. Do you implement a solution from a familiar vendor even if they are new to cloud ERP? Do you believe all the hype about hosted solutions? Or do you hedge your bets and go with a two-tier, hybrid legacy-cloud ERP system that does not really  solve the problems found in on-premise ERP systems? The best answer is a true cloud solution comprising a comprehensive ecosystem of products tailored to your specific needs, an end-to-end solution that will deliver the cloud ERP advantages that will help your enterprise succeed.

Manufacturers can build a true cloud solution on the Salesforce Cloud Platform by combining Salesforce CRM (Sales Cloud) and Salesforce Service Cloud, Rootstock ERP and other partner solutions that, when seamlessly integrated, extend a manufacturing ERP system to support many business processes. Salesforce, when combined with Rootstock Cloud ERP and other applications not only provides manufacturers with a complete ERP, but also extends the Rootstock Cloud ERP backbone with the other business applications that are on the Salesforce Cloud Platform.

This true cloud ERP solution demonstrates how a company can automate their back office and make it more accessible, proving the power and capabilities of the Salesforce ecosystem when partnered with Rootstock ERP for manufacturers. Such a solution provides end-to-end flow in real time without the need to build integration between products.

Searching for the Best Cloud ERP Solution

What about those other cloud ERP solutions currently on the market?

When ERP first appeared, it handled resource planning and inventory accuracy, as well as visibility throughout a manufacturing enterprise. In the 1990s, ERP  expanded beyond its manufacturing focus to include other business functions, including financials, human resources and order management. Integrated suites like these dominated the market in the late 90s and early 2000s. Over time, maintaining these large integrated ERP suites became more important than finding the best ERP solution that met the business requirements of these firms. Manufacturers with these older, legacy ERP systems have been trying to keep pace with expanding global markets by constantly updating and customizing their on-premise systems. But high operating costs, poor access to critical information, limited functionality and outdated hardware and software have resulted in on-premise systems becoming problems instead of solutions.

Along came cloud computing. Cloud-based ERP solutions provide firms with internet-based access to services and resources, centralized data storage and the sharing of data-processing tasks. The flexibility of the cloud and the speed of deployment are a great fit for today’s manufacturing firms, which need to react to changing markets with agility and efficiency to remain competitive. Companies that have embraced cloud ERP have found that they can now focus on delivering the customized products and services now in demand instead of trying to overcome the limitations of an aging legacy ERP system.

Some vendors, eager to get into the cloud business, are selling hosted solutions as real cloud solutions. These hosted solutions are at best fake cloud solutions that have many disadvantages.

A lot of companies that have invested heavily in on-premise ERP systems are reluctant to simply give up on years of investment. However, they remain intrigued by the promise of cloud ERP. Many of these firms have moved some functions to the cloud and retained other functions in their existing legacy on-premise ERP systems, effectively creating two-tier hybrid ERP systems. These firms see hybrid systems as a way to modernize their systems without completely abandoning their on-premise ERP system. But, because they’re still relying on those legacy systems, they are facing the same problems of high costs, hardware maintenance and difficult customizations.

Current Trends

Panorama Consulting’s 2016 Report On ERP Systems And Enterprise Software1  surveyed 215 firms, and found that 81% of respondents are either in the process of implementing ERP software or have completed their implementation. The survey also found that 14% are in the process of selecting software, and 5% are in the process of upgrading software. Of those respondents implementing ERP systems, 49%  are replacing out-of-date ERP software, 16% are replacing homegrown systems, 15% are replacing accounting software and 20% have non-ERP systems or no ERP system at all.

reasons-for-implementing-erp

Some large ERP vendors currently offer multiple, overlapping solutions. For example, Oracle and Infor have acquired other companies, resulting in a patchwork collection of ERP and CRM systems, creating a situation in which each solution also has multiple versions in use. If you visit these vendors’ websites, you will find it difficult and time-consuming to identify what products these vendors offer.

Some vendors, including Microsoft, offer hosted solutions that they market as true cloud solutions. Other vendors from the on-premise ERP space have added cloud functionality to their existing systems, but they have been relatively late to cloud computing. Can these firms with their hastily added cloud software offer the same ease of implementation and integration as true cloud ERP vendors such as Rootstock Software on Salesforce, which have developed their solutions specifically for the cloud?

Salesforce is one of the best-known cloud computing companies. Forbes magazine ranks it as the most innovative company in America every year since 2011. Salesforce’s cloud platform has experienced phenomenal growth and supports nearly every function of a business, from sales to manufacturing. In fact, Salesforce has become so popular that it sits at the center of an ecosystem of integration-ready apps, thanks to the ever-increasing community of software developers who constantly create new apps for the platform to expand the reach of the platform and add to their customers’ experience.

Integration is key. As manufacturers look to move their ERP systems to the cloud, they also want  software that can be easily integrated with other apps. Salesforce has a huge lead over its competitors when it comes to ecosystem and platform maturity, as it has the most applications, customers, revenue and advanced features. According to Gartner, Salesforce is the clear market leader.

An End-to-End True Cloud ERP Solution

The combination of the power of the Salesforce platform with the manufacturing expertise of Rootstock Software gives manufacturers the solution they have been looking for, a solution that other so-called “cloud” ERP systems simply cannot provide. The stability, flexibility, functionality and extensibility that manufacturers are looking for that can only be found with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud + Rootstock Cloud ERP + many business applications on the Salesforce platform.

Rootstock not only builds ERP solutions that give manufacturers and distributors the control and visibility they need, it integrates with other apps on the Salesforce platform to empower its customers to elevate the total performance of their manufacturing, distribution and supply chain operations. The true ERP cloud solution ties every part of the business together in an end-to-end enterprise-wide solution that is easier to implement, easier to integrate and easier to use.

When looking for a cloud-based ERP solution, manufacturing firms owe it to their entire enterprise to look carefully at the limitations of hosted ERP systems, two-tier hybrid systems and other systems sold under the “cloud” label. Only a comprehensive end-to-end true cloud solution like Rootstock Software on Salesforce that comprises an ecosystem of seamlessly integrated products on a stable cloud platform can deliver on the promise of cloud-based ERP for manufacturing.

  1. Panorama Consulting 2016 Report on ERP Systems and Enterprise Software. (http://panorama-consulting.com/resource-center/2016-erp-report/)

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