What the COVID-19 Pandemic Can Teach Us About the Importance of Cloud ERP

No matter their circumstances, businesses need to take a proactive approach to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to grow. In fact, navigating the disruptions and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic showed just how essential a cloud ERP solution is for success.

As the economy enters a slow global recovery period, the time is ripe to adopt cloud ERP. This blog details how SAP Business ByDesign – a leading cloud ERP solution for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) – enables you to prioritize three pillars that are crucial for success in today’s post-COVID-19 landscape: adaptability, transparency and efficiency.

Why Now?

All signs point to a turnaround for businesses in 2021. In fact, economists at Goldman Sachs predict that the U.S. GDP will grow by 8% in 2021, an increase that would mark the largest economic expansion for the U.S. in generations.

With the economy steadily recovering and businesses looking to expand with it, the competition won’t be complacent. The companies with the most effective systems and business processes will be best positioned to profit.

If you’re interested in learning more about the costs of postponing cloud ERP implementation, be sure to check out our blog post on this topic.

Adaptability: Greater Agility in the Short and Long Term

As companies adjust to the demands of the pandemic, cloud ERP providers have helped them rethink their processes intelligently. From more configurability to smoother collaboration, solutions like SAP Business ByDesign address critical needs around adaptability.

Flexibility and Scalability

With the pandemic creating unparalleled levels of uncertainty, flexibility and scalability are paramount. Whether you’re looking to add a new line of business or open another company, adopting an agile solution like ByDesign allows for easy integration of new processes and operations into your business.

While on-premises systems saddle businesses with rigid hardware and unnecessary functions, you can install a cloud ERP with a minimum number of users and workflows before scaling up. Once the initial implementation phase is complete, it’s easy to adapt your ERP to handle more tasks and interface with leading third-party systems.

Remote Work Capabilities

Remote work is now a reality for many businesses. Especially for teams that used on-premises hardware, not being able to go into the office for work caused frustrating disruptions.

Companies with next-generation cloud ERP systems, however, can continue running many of their business processes even with people working from home. A true cloud ERP like SAP Business ByDesign allows end users, key users and administrators to implement, update and operate the system 100% remotely. This in turn reduces demands on your IT team.

The same goes for training and post-go-live support. For example, SAP provides added support through e-learning tutorials and free training programs.

Transparency: Higher Visibility Enables Growth

In times of uncertainty, having a high level of visibility into your processes, inventory and holdings is a must to make better business decisions. Cloud ERP helps businesses gain control over their data and better insight into their performance to shore up security risks and improve profitability.

Fewer Security Risks

Remote work involves added security risks. However, the enhanced security capabilities of cloud ERP offer exceptional levels of awareness around potential security threats, including better control over what each user may access.

With all of your data and applications running in the cloud, you can rest easy knowing that your data is always available and secure. Plus, with cloud ERP you can quickly and easily change access settings for employees.

More Accurate Reporting

Another way that cloud ERP helps businesses navigate uncertainty is through reporting and analytics. By giving you the ability to generate real-time reports, analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), SAP Business ByDesign allows for a comprehensive and customizable view of your entire organization.

The ability to quickly and effectively evaluate performance offers greater visibility into how your company is faring during contingencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately enabling better decision-making and improved profitability.

Efficiency: Best Practices Enable Continuous Improvement

Responding to the demands of the pandemic means more than just weathering the storm. Adopting a cloud ERP is also an opportunity to enable continuous improvement and come back better than ever by shedding unnecessary costs and controlling workflows.

Reduce and Control Costs

Unlike an on-premises system, cloud ERPs don’t require large capital expenses associated with procurement and deployment. Cloud solutions like SAP Business ByDesign work on a subscription model, meaning you only pay a monthly operating expense. With the ability to predict and control costs, your business can better allocate resources and plan for growth.

Plus, implementing a cloud solution involves a significantly smaller time investment than an on-premises deployment, so your business will start reaping the rewards faster.

Implement Best Practices

Leading cloud ERP solutions like SAP Business ByDesign allow you to configure workflows with best practices for your industry. Automating key processes reduces the risk of duplicate tasks and human error, saving you time and resources.

With the economy due for a rebound, the ability to complete tasks more efficiently helps differentiate you from the competition. For example, the automated functionality of cloud ERP software helps you shorten your end-of-month closing process by up to 70%, so your team can focus less on accounting discrepancies and more on value-adding activities.

What to Look for in a Provider

Before you rush to implement a cloud solution, keep in mind that your ERP partner should have proven expertise in helping businesses effectively adapt. Be sure to ask these questions about how a potential provider navigated through a tough 2020:

  • Did you add clients in 2020?
  • How did you help your clients adjust to the pandemic?
  • Were you able to effectively reach your business objectives while working remotely?
  • Were you able to sustain and expand your capabilities during 2020?
  • Did you continuously improve your ERP solution during the pandemic?
  • How often did you make upgrades available?

During this critical global recovery period, working with a partner that has a proven track record ensures you’ll get the most out of your cloud ERP solution.

Today’s economic environment will reward organizations that prioritize the adaptability, transparency and efficiency cloud ERP generates. By enabling organizations to navigate disruptions while continuing to improve, solutions like SAP Business ByDesign are essential for growth in a post-COVID world.

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