The majority of respondents (59%) at least partially agreed that cloud ERP implementations are often simpler and easier, with most citing the lack of hardware and other infrastructure demands.
But many people provided qualifying statements, like Julie Fraser, founder and principal of Iyno Advisors, who cautioned that an organization’s readiness for cloud-based ERP is not a foregone conclusion: “If the vendor has done a good job verifying that the infrastructure is there for cloud to work well, then the lack of hardware and on-premise license issues can streamline cloud implementations.”
The comments of Jon Reed, co-founder of diginomica, represent another common qualifier: “Cloud should be simpler but can often result in the same problems of change management and integration.” And as TEC’s PJ Jakovljevic stated, “cloud implementation may be easier only if there are few customizations to be done.”
All experts contend that it’s a case-by-case decision, as succinctly stated by Julie Hunt, President of Julie Hunt Consulting: “Context, context, context. It depends on many things.” Evan Quinn, Director of Marketing at QAD, furthered the point: “It varies considerably by migration. Net new? Much easier in cloud. Going from a 10-year-old ERP to a brand new one? Difficult whether it’s cloud or not. Still, cloud is well worth it.”
Among the minority of respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the notion of simpler implementation with cloud-based software, the sentiment was not dissimilar to the flags raised by those in partial or full agreement with our statement. Sue Shaw, founder of Sue Shaw Consulting, disagreed, but her comments were in league with those on the other side of the coin: “ERP implementations are complex, regardless of whether they are cloud or on-premise. There are just different kinds of complexities. For example, dealing with the rapid rate of change is a big one for cloud that companies ignore.”
Interesting to note is that virtually none of the concerns or qualifiers—whether among the respondents who agreed or disagreed—was rooted in the delivery option itself. Worries about cloud security, multi-tenancy, and vendor viability are specters of the past. The hedging is around whether an organization is set up to work well with a cloud-based solution and the implementation process it presents and whether it’s ready to dig in to the work a new ERP system requires, regardless of delivery method.