For ERP, It’s really not about the cloud!
My daughter came home from high school and stated that “the cloud was broken”. Astounded, I asked what she was talking about. She replied, “I could not print from a Chrome book at school because, according to the school technical support person, the cloud was broken”. It is apparent that the cloud is misunderstood.
Wikipedia defines Cloud computing as “computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow the centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources. Clouds can be classified as public, private or hybrid. Probably not what you were thinking of when you heard that last TV commercial or ad mentioning the “Cloud”
I tend to think of the cloud in more technical computer terms, as an example, on their web site,www.searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com, cloud computing as the following; “A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting. It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; it is elastic — a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider.”
This is not what most people think of when they hear the term “Cloud”. To them, like my daughter, the “Cloud” is this mysterious thing, that in it, the things they want just work (or so they hope). They use the cloud to get their emails, their music, and their videos whenever they want without much thought to the technology involved.
Which is why in regard to ERP, for now, it’s really not about the cloud. What ERP users really want is to access their applications from anywhere, at any time and on any device. Instead of music and movies, they want to be able to do the things they need to get their job done without the hassle of local software installations and profiles tied to only their office machines and the hassle and expense of keeping those machines up to date. Want to check on an order or the day’s sales statistics from your tablet while in your hotel room on a business trip, why shouldn’t you be able to? Need to be approve a time card with your phone while traveling or enter your expenses, why shouldn’t you be able to? After all, you can easily watch your cable recordings or read your daily newspaper from anywhere.
Do not get me wrong, there can be significant economic savings when using public cloud infrastructure or security and disaster recovery choices on private (or public) clouds. But to the majority of the ERP users they are thinking about that one big wish “anywhere, at any time and on any device” and when they get this they will say “thanks for the cloud” regardless of how they system is really hosted.