There is cloud and there is true cloud. And with ever more companies turning to the cloud these days for their business systems, it’s important to know the difference. Hosted services that are labelled “cloud” are in effect often private cloud solutions – and they are beginning to be termed “fake” cloud.
When it comes to ERP systems, it’s important to know why subscribing to a true cloud system is so important.
What is True Cloud?
True cloud architecture is designed from the outset as a cloud solution. The operation running the service is geared around providing a cloud-run solution, with experts trained in hosting and managing software. The company will host the software across hundreds of servers in multi-tenanted environments, allowing for data redundancy and to be able to adequately supply many thousands or millions of customers.
Other services that are labelled as cloud are not true software-as-a-service, and are more accurately private cloud, hybrid cloud or hosted cloud services. While it’s true that the application is delivered to the client via the cloud, it is still single tenant software, which is version locked and not as flexible or scalable as true cloud.
Seamless and Discreet Upgrades
The nature of true cloud is that it is multi-tenancy. In this way, each customer accesses the exact same software application and its services. So, when it comes to upgrades, it is this software – the core solution – that is upgraded, not the customers’ own software.
An upgrade to the system means that every customer is always using the most recent version of the software. And upgrades are often done overnight and in the background, so there is no need to pause the business while the software is being improved. With NetSuite, the upgrades are scheduled in advance and the user is pre-notified that there will be changes and that the system will not be available for an hour or so while the upgrade takes place.
So, when new functionality is rolled out, the customer has immediate access to that, without any down time or services being rendered unavailable to employees. With private cloud, while the software originator may have provided an update, it is down to the vendor to supply that to its customers. This could mean being at the mercy of the vendor’s own timescales for rolling out updates for each of their customers in turn.
Even though all users are accessing the same platform, a true cloud ERP solution like NetSuite also allows clients to customise their own application of it. Equally, these customisations will continue to work in the same way any time that an upgrade is made.
Customisations are configured on the central platform, so again there is no locally-held software or application. Customisations allow a business to tailor the software for their own business processes, in order to improve their productivity and gain better insights into their data. The modifications can easily be done in-house or with the help of an implementation partner.
Access from Anywhere
True cloud software like NetSuite can be accessed from anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection, it does not need any additional equipment, nor does it have to be configured separately for accessing outside of the company’s normal locations. So, users can log in from their home devices without needing, say, a business laptop.
It is browser independent and all users can log on to open the application, retrieve or edit data from any device. This includes desktop computers, tablets and mobiles – and both Android and iOS operating systems.
Accessing NetSuite software from anywhere assures business continuity for a company. When employees can readily continue to work, a business can maintain operations.
An estimated 20 million people in the UK are now working from home. Previously, this was around 1.7 million. This massive shift in working practices has been facilitated by technology, ensuring business continuity for countless companies.
Business Model Agility
In these current times, many companies have had to rapidly realign or pivot their businesses. As bricks and mortar stores have had to temporarily close, NetSuite has given our customers the agility to do this. It has been simple for them to refocus their business models entirely on ecommerce, yet without having to reconfigure or re-programme any of their business software.
Switching the business model to a different channel overnight for these customers has been relatively simple. NetSuite is already able to serve companies that operate via different channels – whether that be through retail stores, mail order, telesales or ecommerce.
With ecommerce, and no face-to-face customer interactions, comes a greater reliance on digital customer service. NetSuite has an integrated customer service management solution that allows companies to deliver this customer service in tandem with their ecommerce applications.
Security, Uptime and Disaster Recovery
Businesses need to keep their data secure, so that it is protected against breaches and unauthorised access. With NetSuite, although each customer is using the same software, the system is configured in “layers” so that customers can only access their own data and customisations.
Additionally, NetSuite operates rigorous 24/7 monitoring tools and has controls and policies in place that ensure robust security for customers. Plus, the customer’s data is protected by rigorous backup processes.
For providers of true cloud applications, their uptime levels are their priority. And for ERP applications, how well customers can continue to run their businesses hinges on this uptime performance. So, companies like NetSuite offer contractual uptime guarantees, affording their customers certain assurances that they can operate without interruption.
With true cloud, data management is a key consideration. For disaster recovery and risk management, it is important for companies to employ strict backup and recovery processes. With NetSuite, this is all done centrally. NetSuite has strong data management processes and infrastructure that give companies complete peace of mind. All data is entirely replicated, backed up and available whenever it is needed.
The Time is Right to Switch to True Cloud
With the accessibility, seamless upgrades and enhanced security of NetSuite’s true cloud offering, all types of company can achieve a greater level of agility and business continuity.
And in the current climate, and with the uncertainty that it brings, that has never been more important. Companies that want to ride the ups and downs of the economy will be best served by employing true cloud systems.
Now is the perfect time to consider upgrading to a true cloud ERP system. To find out more about NetSuite and how it can help your business, contact us today.