22 Mar The Case for Hybrid ERP Solutions
Vendors Are Simply Clouding the Issue of Hybrid ERP Solutions.
As one of the many people who bought a diesel car a few years ago, I’m increasingly dismayed by the latest research. Whereas when we were all being encouraged to do so ‘for the sake of the planet’, I’m now aware of contributing to an environmental issue which is affecting many thousands of people.
What’s the solution? Well, until I can afford to replace it, for now I can ensure my car is regularly serviced and take advantage of all the functionality available that helps me drive it as efficiently as possible, including the auto stop/start feature. After that, considering my driving requirements: annual mileage, proportion of motorway miles etc., until electric car technology reaches the levels to support my needs, it seems logical to me to look at hybrid solutions. One where old technology meets new, and works together to satisfy my desire to do the right thing by the planet as far as I can and meet the demands of the modern world.
Now, my own personal considerations are pretty small beer compared to the many CIOs who have pumped millions into their ERP solutions over the years. After all, they’re now being told by the big software vendors that they need to discard their legacy ERP systems, without delay, in order to spend even more millions on a move to the Cloud.
This really is adding insult to injury, as, according to Gartner, 89% of IT budgets are currently spent on simply ‘keeping the lights on’, and a mere 11% on innovations that help business.
So CIOs may be forgiven for feeling that they’re between a rock and a hard place: as their stable, feature-rich and expensively created ERP solutions now require serious investment simply in order to stay compliant with vendors and ‘keep the lights on’, while a move to the Cloud looks prohibitively expensive at a time when budgets are tight.
The thing is, between the rock and the hard place, Hybrid solutions have the potential to offer a very attractive ‘soft Brexit’ option for CIOs.
Hybrid Solutions – The Third Way Vendors Don’t Always Like To Talk About
Every major software vendor is currently shouting from the rooftops about the need to move your ERP to the Cloud. However, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies for a moment: “They would say that, wouldn’t they?”
After all, the big vendors are in the business of delivering shareholder value first
and foremost, with the needs of their customers currently taking a fairly poor second place. Moving your ERP lock stock and barrel to the Cloud is therefore simply a case of helping to keep the software industry’s highly profitable bandwagon rolling along.
That’s why we are increasingly working with clients to deliver hybrid ERP solutions that not only buy them some much-needed time as they consider a move to the Cloud in the long term, but also help to sweat assets, drive down costs and respond to changing market dynamics.
How does it work in practice? Well, hybrid IT solutions can be a mix of ‘on premise’, SaaS, and custom Cloud-hosted applications. This blend of customised and standard solutions provides access to the economies of process and support offered by the Cloud, but with far less capital expenditure.
Say you’re a utility provider, for example, with a force of 300 gas meter engineers in the field, all of whom record the work they have undertaken on a laptop. Naturally, you could move the entire process to the Cloud, thus giving them mobile access to a database containing millions of records. The project could be a lengthy and expensive process, not to mention one with the potential to damage the integrity of your data if you get it wrong.
Alternatively, you could recognise the fact that there are only four pieces of data that engineers really need to access – customer address, old meter serial number, final meter reading and new meter serial number – and create a hybrid solution in the form of a mobile App that enables field engineers to access the existing solution from their smartphones.
In addition to saving on IT project costs, this hybrid solution also makes life simpler and drives significant time and motion savings for valuable field staff.
This is just one small example, however. Hybrid IT solutions like this have the power to enable many businesses to drive forward with immediate effect, liberating resources that can be used to drive innovations and grow revenues, yet typically for around 10% of the cost of going straight to the Cloud.
So the next time your vendor wants to talk to you about shelving your entire, expensively created ERP solution and moving to the Cloud, ask them why they aren’t offering cost-effective and flexible hybrid solutions instead.
The honest answer is that there’s more revenue growth and shareholder value for them in simply moving you to the Cloud; but not only do you have the right to ask for a Hybrid IT solution, the financial case for doing so is unassailable.