There are a number of players in the cloud game so consider the following questions when looking for the right cloud solution.
What is the Cloud?
As a professional, you’ve undoubtedly heard and read the buzz about cloud computing. "The cloud" is a term that gets thrown about frequently these days so let us start with a simple definition: The Cloud is a network of servers, some of which perform online services and some which allow storage of and access to data.
Technology companies with a heavy consumer focus are leading the charge in promoting cloud solutions and are battling vigorously for attention and dollars.
Manufacturers however have a different set of priorities than consumers who are primarily concerned with being able to access their music or photos at anytime from anywhere. Manufacturers have an even greater set of concerns that introduces regulatory compliance into the equation.
Highly regulated device manufacturers are focused on innovation, patient safety and operational efficiency but nothing is more important that complying with regulations. Consequently, the prospect of trusting the operation of your business to a cloud ERP solution requires much examiniation.
If you are considering making the move to the cloud, the secret to success is selecting a cloud ERP solution that is built for you; one that supports the unique security, regulatory and software validation requirements of your industry.
Is The Cloud Secure?
Security can be a major source of anxiety when considering a cloud-based solution in the manufacturing. However, a cloud solution that is designed to meet the specific needs of a manufacturer can easily overcome these concerns. A cloud ERP provider needs to make security, privacy and high levels of information technology (IT) controls of paramount importance when designing a solution.
A viable cloud solution uses stringent infrastructure and operational security measures to protect the underlying network, servers and application, all while controlling access to sensitive corporate data.
Data centers must include state-of-the-art technical security measures, such as electronic or biometric access; up-to-date firewalls and malware protection; and physical security measures, such as perimeter fences and live monitoring. With these measures in place, information in a cloud solution optimized for the specific manufacturing industry you operate within is even more protected than in an on-premise server.
Is The Cloud Compliant?
A cloud-based ERP solution for a manufacturer must be offered in a regulatory compliant IT environment. It should be a robust, highly available solution with all the necessary standard operating procedures to meet the requirements of national regulatory authorities.
It is essential that the solution also supports computer software validation requirements. Many cloud offerings are based on multi-tenant cloud environments requiring frequent upgrades as the entire product is upgraded, often on a semiannual basis.
Deploying a cloud-based ERP solution as a dedicated, single instance provides a qualified IT infrastructure that will be the foundation for your software validation efforts. It will also insulate you from the constant cycle and expense of validation efforts resulting from upgrades, patches and functionality that have not been given a proper risk-based evaluation for their effects on your underlying business and quality processes.
Will My Business Benefit from the Cloud?
Many companies promote delivering cloud ERP solutions. Yet, few are solely focused on the needs global manufacturers. Cloud-based solutions that are delivered on a qualified infrastructure mitigate the variability often associated with on-premise deployments.
A cloud deployment delivers the financial benefit of moving from capital expenditures to operational expenditures, allowing device companies to be more capital efficient. They deliver predictable security, reliability, availability and expense to help minimize risk.
Cloud deployments are simpler and more rapidly deployed than typical on-premise solutions. Some, but not all, deliver the same globally-accessible, full-strength ERP and EQMS capabilities as their on-premise versions
When choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, manufacturers need to ask the right questions before making their selection - or let Klear Systems do a business process review for better insight. It is imperative that manufacturers select a Cloud ERP solution that is built exclusively for their industry and not the generic solution used for a bank, government agency or some other non-manufacturing entity.
They need to select the comprehensive solution that supports the unique security, regulatory and software validation requirements of the manufacturing industry.
Overall, manufacturers must select a solution that delivers predictable costs that are easy to budget and flexible. Only then can they feel confident making the move to the cloud.
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