Just like how the Internet revolutionized access to information, cloud computing is doing the same thing for the IT industry. It represents paradigm shifts for delivering resources and services. Its characteristics are defined by existing computing concepts including network, computing, grid computing, utility computing, pervasive computing, and service computing. In the field of business, cloud computing has been used to transform functions including customer relationship management and human resource management. Given the hype that IT practitioners give to cloud computing, it is not far that cloud ERP solution may also come as the next generation of ERP system.
There are various benefits that cloud computing can also provide to ERP solution. Some of these are cost reduction, significantly less environmental impact (by going paperless), and increased storage capacity.Cloud reduces the cost of owning IT infrastructure. The company does not need to own the IT resources but rather, they just need to pay per usage in terms of services, time, or storage capacity. Cost reduction is also possible because there is no need for upgrading and maintenance of the ERP system. Moreover, the company can easily request to have increased resources if the area of application grows and new functionality is required. In the same way, the user can easily request to remove a function that is rarely used. This basically solves the problem about customizing the ERP system in order to fit the needs of companies. Lastly, cloud computing allows organizations to bypass the slow IT acquisition process. Before, IT acquisition was tedious and slow. With cloud, rapid time-to-market model allows speedy implementation while the providers facilitate governance and support to cloud computing acquisition and implementation. Implementation of cloud services is done in real-time. Sometimes, users can use the infrastructure, software, or services immediately after purchase. With cloud computing, an ERP system implementation can have greater likelihood of success because of fast implementation.
Some of the newer software vendors that now offer cloud ERP solution are NetSuite, Intacct, and Plex. These companies attempt to build ERP system functionality to require the Internet in order to access the entire system. They now target small to medium enterprises which do not have the resources to invest largely in IT infrastructures. One can expect the cloud ERP solution to become the next big thing for enterprises. This is very timely given the fast adoption of the e-commerce technology. With cloud ERP, customer relationship management will be greatly improved.