It’s time to kick your ERP system to the curb and go SaaS

It’s much easier and lower-risk today to move data, processes, and customizations to the cloud—and end the headaches legacy ERP

It’s time to kick your ERP system to the curb and go SaaS
Thinkstock

According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index, 59 percent of all cloud workflows were delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) by 2019. But infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) dropped to 28 percent from 44 percent in 2013, and that platform-as-a-service (PaaS) was only 13 percent for workloads delivered.

I’m not sure I’m seeing any diminished interest in IaaS, but the growth of SaaS seems to align with my experience. Why? Because it’s better, cheaper, and less of a hassle.

The problem with SaaS replacing big enterprises packages such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) is that enterprises have so embedded ERPs into their core business processes that they are almost imposable to decouple. Indeed, ERP upgrades are notorious for cost overruns and outright failures.

However, things are changing. As ERP providers drag their feet to the cloud, frustrated enterprises are looking at SaaS alternatives that didn’t exist a few years ago but are now viable solutions. 2019 could be the year you make a move, here’s why.

SaaS providers understand the need to provide migration technology and approaches to move from legacy ERPs to SaaS analogs. While the transition is not without issues, compared to what it took to move data, processes, and customizations just four years ago, things are much easier and lower-risk today. That is, if you’re willing to plan ahead, spend some money, and accept some risk.

The good news is that most enterprises that move to SaaS are glad they did. The ability to get out of the game of hardware and client maintenance, dealing with outdated security, and even dealing with data redundancy issues are things that could not previously be fixed because enterprises were waiting for their ERP providers to move. In short, you’re held hostage by another company that’s not performing up to expectations. The cloud is all about ongoing improvement and upgrades.

But switching out your ERP with a SaaS analog has its trade-offs. As with legacy ERPs, your data, business processes, and core systems are controlled by another company; in fact, moreso because they own the hardware and where your data resides.

So you need to consider the long-term marriage issues and make sure you have an exit plan if things go south. Moreover, make sure you pick an ERP SaaS provider with a partner network, providing things such as data integration, ops management, and augmented security that can be layered onto the SaaS system without too much trouble and at a very low cost.

As a rule, all enterprises that are running ERPs on premises should look at SaaS replacements this year. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table, and making your life harder.