Which ERP Deployment is Right for You?
In the earliest stages of an Epicor ERP implementation project, a management team must decide whether to deploy an on-premises solution, or if they should consider an Epicor cloud platform. But how can businesses ensure they’ll deploy the right tool for the right job? As a certified Epicor Platinum Partner, we have helped hundreds of companies walk through the pros and cons of both its on-premises and cloud solutions.
The Selection Process
Our selection process typically involves cyphering past the marketing info to consider how the solution will technically and holistically fit with an organizational structure and mission-critical goals. This provides firms a second evaluation of outcomes that may result from either deployment option, given that Epicor cloud and on-premises systems are not mirror images of one another (nor do they parallel in cost, control, and data security, among other things).
Survey the following considerations below whilst moving through your Epicor selection process. Ultimately, this should provide a realistic expectation of what you can expect based on your deployment choice.
If the bulk of your business processes and users are stationary—or are not required to access data remotely—an on-premises deployment could be a good fit. However, there are pros and cons to this choice. The higher upfront cost of infrastructure can be a challenge for some firms. Throwing large amounts of investment dollars at a single project can deter firms from providing capital in other areas of the business—in the short and long term—if the software fails to generate the expected ROI. This means that the project team and leadership will both need a firm understanding of this strategy and its roadmap prior to moving forward.
Costs can significantly mount up fast. On-premises implementation costs include not only the software license, but also the hardware necessary to implement the system infrastructure. It becomes more than just a single software investment. It becomes a technology investment.
Luckily, there’s a silver lining to these costs. After the project is paid off, the business wholly owns the asset. Unless the firm has purchased a service maintenance plan, there are no other project costs to the business. The software and hardware itself is essentially without worth to anyone else at this point, but if proper processes were implemented, the system should be well on its way to completely paying for itself and generating new revenue.
Epicor cloud is available for purchase through subscriptions. Subscription costs are perpetual, meaning they are charged throughout the period in which they’re used for as long as the firm employs the software.
Licensing the software via subscription can actually be a good deal for some businesses. Basically, businesses can realize project ROI much sooner, thus offsetting costs and justifying the project budget early on. This avenue of asset investment has become widely popular for modern enterprises, since it allows them to focus on investing in other areas of the opportunity throughout the length of a long project.
If you have hardware that is currently supporting a legacy system, conduct an evaluation of its capabilities. Discover if it is a compatible source for a new on-premises Epicor solution; otherwise scope creep can occur as additional purchases are made and resources are allocated to "direct the traffic." Understand what an on-premises investment will look like for your business. Can your firm afford—and will leadership support—a project with high upfront costs that could allow for more flexibility in the future? If this could be a challenge, selecting an Epicor cloud-based option for your implementation may allow your business to operate with greater cost flexibility and provide the ability to see investment returns in an expedited fashion.
Do you have complete control of your data? With a massive influx of data from the internet of things (IoT), and other sources, there’s a chance your facts and figues could grow exponentially over the next few years. Large data sets are great for drawing compelling reports, but reporting is also at risk. If the organization opts for an on-premises solution users will be placed in charge of manually inputting this data. Businesses are capable of staying on top of this process if they take full control of their data (and a CRM integration is the best way to achieve this control). However, if users are expected to manage data from multiple sources and do not control the full scale of information, things can and will become convoluted quickly.
The Epicor cloud platform engages a third-party control of data. This could be benediction for midsized businesses employing smaller IT staff. Upgrading the system can also be managed from this outside source, as well. Many businesses benefit from passing data control to a third party with expert knowledge in the intricacies of Epicor and experience in mapping business processes to enhance the system's functionality.
Both the on-premises and cloud solutions are built in C#, and can be configured by technical business users. The real question is how much of your internal staff you’d like to regularly devote to your system. Do you want to manage all of your own data, and is your business equipped and capable of doing this? If your business is strategic in how it manages its people and data, this may be the right way to go. If you have a smaller IT staff, or choose not to make this type of internal resource investment, it may be best to look at an Epicor cloud solution enhanced with a third party data-manager with experience in business process modeling.
It’s a common misconception that on-premises software is less prone to a breach of data than a cloud system. The long-held belief suggests cloud data is more susceptible to cyber security attacks because it moves through spaces of unknown origin. However, this is rarely the case. Most security breaches happen in unsophisticated ways, and are usually the result of poor user practices. This makes on-premises and cloud-based solutions equally susceptible to attack but in different ways.
In light of recent global cyber attacks, Epicor has integrated an increased number of security APIs around critical data access points. A primary problem with on-premises security is that all data runs through a single access point. If this point becomes disrupted, no data is available for on-premises users. Epicor Cloud ERP is accessible from several access points, which flow data back and forth to users regardless of a breach in data, and lessens the impact of a breach.
Define which security features are critical tasks for users to perform, and which are luxuries of Epicor. Neither Epicor cloud nor on-premises systems are fully protected from a data breach, simply because breaches are opportunistic in nature. Understand that security processes and the management of data are far more important than where your system is hosted. Epicor cloud can actually work in favor of the business in this instance because it monitors exchanges of information inside the system from an outside source.
Being a certified Epicor ERP Platinum Partner, we know a thing or two about the nature of Epicor ERP implementations. We have helped hundreds of businesses make decisions about their Epicor projects. If you have questions about a project, contact our team today.
Is your firm being held back due to a disparate system? Are their problems occurring for reasons unknown? Join the conversation and share your Epicor implementation experiences and future projects with us below.