There is no doubt that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is helping businesses cope better with the headache of managing people and processes as we work in a more mobile and global world. A successful ERP system rewards a company with greater productivity, efficiency and cost savings.
From SAP to Salesforce, from Sage to Microsoft CRM, the most successful implementations of ERP software occur when a clear business need has been identified and a formal assessment made of whether the in-house IT skills exist to deliver it.
There are three types of delivery model for ERP: on-premise, hosted ERP or cloud ERP solutions. With on-premise and hosted there is more flexibility to tailor the package to specific business needs. Flexibility is a key requirement for an enterprise ERP deployment because it will most likely need to integrate with other internal systems and there might be a variety of functions being carried out – from monitoring leave to covering payroll. With a cloud ERP solution it is important to make sure your data will be safe, properly backed up and accessible.
Here is what the optimum hosting environment should look like for ERP:
Uptime and availability
ERP systems tend to start out small and grow as they become more and more critical to your business. The unavailability of your ERP system can bring your processes and reporting to a complete halt, so ensuring 100% uptime, access and availability is essential. iomart utilise a wide range of monitoring tools to ensure your service stays online. From things like simple URL monitoring through to highly complex User Transaction monitoring and of course a range of checks for Memory, CPU and more.
Scalability and colocation
As the business grows so it’s important to be able to scale up and down through physical boxes. By hosting your ERP system in the cloud – private or hybrid - on-tap access to extra resource such as additional storage and memory means you can accommodate that growth. Adding new virtual machines, changing the size of your database and load balancing, means you can expand over time without major heart surgery.
The location of your hosted solution is fundamental to the impact it makes on your business. A successful ERP system requires fast connectivity between the centrally hosted software and the data centre in which it is hosted. Relying on a standard Internet connection means there is potential for that to fail. The smart ERP system uses dedicated leased lines to give more capacity and throughput and greater reliability.
Physical location also comes in to play when discussing availability – thinking about the physical security of your service is almost as important, if not equally so, as the software security. Ensuring your ERP system sits within a secure data centre with 24/7 presence is key. iomart data centres are also backed up by generators, UPS and a host of other measures, which all help to ensure that your data is accessed easily and is reliable.
Security of data
ERP systems are mission-critical and need a high level of security. Private cloud with its increased security credentials and firewalls, gives data protection that a shared environment cannot.
Many ERP systems rely on a standard Internet connection. If that route fails you are in trouble. Backups and data recovery should be clearly defined.
From a development perspective using a hosting provider for your ERP system allows an exact copy of the production environment to be taken allowing changes to be made quickly and dynamically. Using a hosted or cloud solution as opposed to a traditional environment gives increased flexibility and scalability, allowing your business to focus on serving its markets without worrying about its IT.
Real life example
Security, scalability and uptime are priorities for Truck-Lite, a global leader in the design and manufacture of lights and mirrors for the Automotive and Commercial Vehicle Industry. iomart provides a fully managed private cloud, network hardware, connectivity and backup with high availability and strict SLAs for Truck-Lite’s ERP system. To read the case study click here.