Posted by: Tavis Patterson on July 13, 2016 at 11:46 am
Since we do quite a bit with our manufacturing SMB clients, we take care of their ERP systems as well. We are often asked about moving their ERP systems to the cloud. Here are some things to keep in mind with moving ERP systems to the cloud, and what you need to keep in mind with your IT support for them.
- Where is the database located? How large is it? Most ERP systems today run either off of Microsoft SQL or mySQL. If the database is moving to a cloud/data center server, then you need to make sure you have a good internet pipe to it. Typically a direct VPN will do the trick but make sure to test any connections well in advance.
- Direct attached devices? Does your manufacturing business have any direct connections to a PC or server that would impact moving your ERP to the cloud? For instance do you have inventory scanning guns? If so, then how do they connect to upload the data to your ERP system? If it’s a direct network connection then you should be good to go — again with a direct, point-to-point VPN connection. If not, then get clarity on how they connect and what type of needs there are. Usually equipment data is pretty nominal in size and can be uploaded very quickly to a cloud or data center server.
- User access and load? How are your users going to access the ERP system? Do they have a remote desktop services (terminal services) connection to a server or will they need to pull data across the wire to their desktop? (Not a great option.) The nice thing about cloud servers is that typically you can provision them as needed. This is perfect for setting up a test and running ERP in a demo environment to see if everything will run acceptably for your users.
- ERP Support? We will take care of ERP systems for clients but that only goes so far. You always need to make sure that your ERP vendor will fully support a move to a hosted cloud or data center environment. You will need their support at some point so don’t box yourself out of their support requirements.
- Downtime? Usually your cloud ERP server won’t go down, even in bad weather, as the cloud services should be providing redundant power and internet. But your business internet will. Will that affect your production drastically? Should you provide an alternative for your equipment or inventory needs? Does your ERP allow for the fact that if a connection is down you can still continue to run production? All good things to ascertain before a switch to a hosted, cloud or data center server.
These are just a few things we’ve seen when it comes to ERP in the cloud. Let us know if you have experienced anything else.