Cloud ERP was a service that was initially predicted to arrive in 2020, and in some cases by 2025, but it turns out those predictions were wrong.

The cloud-based service is available in the market now, and some businesses are not fully equipped to tap into the value that cloud ERP holds.

The small-to-medium (SMBs) sector in particular runs the risk of suffering greatest, according to CEO of About IT, Gerrit Olivier.

Not the genuine article

“SMBs must be wary that they back a winning horse. They need true cloud ERP with all the benefits it confers rather than fake cloud ERP that’s a stop-gap solution from laggard vendors and that may cause them headaches down the road,” says the CEO.

Olivier also advises that SMBs learn how to spot “fake” cloud ERP solutions when they see them, which are usually categorised as legacy ERP systems with a new coat of paint and some refreshed icons.

“Fake cloud ERP is hosted on a file server either on-premise or on a file server but served up via the cloud. It’s ERP that’s been jury rigged to run in the cloud but it’s not a cloud-native solution,” he explains.

“It puts SMBs at a disadvantage because it presents certain limitations, such as not being able to install it on mobile devices nor being able to access it from mobile devices, it uses too much bandwidth, making it slow, unresponsive and more expensive to operate,” elaborates Olivier.

How to spot a fake

So how does one go about spotting a fake cloud ERP solution?

One of the easiest ways to do this is checking out the installation process, which Olivier says should be the same as the legacy version. A simple tell in this regard is the fact that cloud-native solutions can be installed from a browser, whereas legacy cannot.

“Fake cloud ERP also offers the exact same functionality as pre-cloud versions of the software, and doesn’t need to convert any data, which means it’s running on the exact same database architecture,” he adds.

Another way to tell is the fact that fake cloud ERP also uses third-party software in order to access the system, with Microsoft’s Remote Desktop said to be a popular one.

“The ERP system is served up from the cloud, be that an on-premise cloud or an offsite, third-party cloud. It’s written in a modern programming language, like C#, Visio, or html using commonly available tools and applying common, modern standards,” Olivier points out as other factors for spotting fakes.

The benefits of cloud ERP  

Now that we know how to look for fake cloud ERP, why should SMBs be making the choice to opt for this kind of offering?

According to Olivier the benefits are easy to see. The fact that cloud ERP runs on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) type of model means costs are kept low as you’re paying on a monthly basis, as well as not requiring a complex IT setup in order to operate, along with having access to relevant data for a range of business-related tasks.

“With cloud ERP, unlike legacy ERP, it’s also easier to change the system to suit a company’s needs as the business evolves over time. The systems readily scale so even adding or cutting functionality becomes a matter of provisioning infrastructure through the service provider’s website,” adds Olivier.

“SMBs stand to gain the numerous benefits of ERP when they bring cloud-native solutions into their operations. But they risk exposing their businesses if they inadvertently get the wrong thing,” he concludes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.