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Considering a SaaS ERP? Here’s What You Need to Know

Considering a SaaS ERP? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Considering a SaaS ERP? Here’s What You Need to Know

Apr 21, 2022

John McCurdy
A glowing blue visualization of the cloud and SaaS technology.

Manufacturing businesses across a wide variety of industries—from food and beverage to consumer packaged goods, apparel, chemicals and more—have woken up to the power of technology and digital transformation. With market disruptions now considered par for the course and the rate of change remaining high, the value of a robust, fully digital organizational foundation has become apparent.

If your company is behind the times and still stuck on paper-based systems or legacy software, an industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution would be ideal to get you back up to speed. These are all-in-one platforms for managing all of your departments, materials and critical processes, and assuming you pick one tailored to the nature of your operations and products, you’ll also have access to features that help you tackle your toughest challenges.

Before you rush off to purchase the first ERP package you find, though, it’s wise to learn all you can about your options. Besides evaluating the software itself and determining best fit, you also need to consider how you will implement your solution. On-premise deployments, while offering the assurance of physical hardware, also incur higher up-front costs and can be difficult to maintain and update.

That’s why you should look into an ERP that can be delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and hosted in the cloud. But what exactly do these terms mean, and what advantages would such a setup have over a more traditional installation?

Read on to find out.

SaaS and the Cloud: How They’re Related, How They’re Different

While many people use the terms “SaaS” and “cloud” interchangeably when speaking of deployment methods for business systems like a manufacturing ERP, the two are not actually one in the same. It’s important to know the difference before you go shopping around for your company’s new platform.

SaaS is a turnkey solution that operates on a subscription basis. When you choose SaaS, you’ll pay a monthly or annual fee to use the provider’s ERP software. You won’t need new hardware or any additional equipment to be installed at your facilities to access it—all you need is an internet connection and web browser.

The cloud is a variety of computing technology whereby software is offered to clients while being hosted on offsite servers owned and maintained by the supplying vendor. You can think of it as the vehicle by which SaaS is provided to an organization or the architecture behind the applications that you’ll use via web browser or dedicated interface.

One final note on related terminology—you may see the phrases “hosted” or “multi-tenant” associated with an ERP platform. A SaaS solution can be either hosted or multi-tenant, the difference being that with the former, you are renting specific servers owned by the ERP provider for your exclusive use, while the latter indicates that several businesses will be sharing the same servers that host the software.

The Benefits of a SaaS ERP

When it comes to the advantages of choosing a SaaS ERP, the one with the broadest appeal is the lower up-front costs that come with the approach. Not having to purchase any additional hardware or equipment represents a substantial saving over a more traditional on-premise deployment, and it also removes the liability of said hardware being compromised in an accident or adverse weather.

Another benefit of going with a SaaS ERP is the scalability of such a solution. You won’t have to worry about purchasing new terminals or adding new accounts as you hire more employees (or individual users of the system, in this case), as anyone with an internet connection and browser can access the platform.

What’s more, implementing a SaaS option will allow you to rely on the dedicated IT teams of your provider for updates to the software, troubleshooting and maintenance. That means you won’t have to spend as much hiring your own IT professionals and can trust that the system will be available with all the latest patches and improvements automatically applied.

Then, there’s the matter of the additional flexibility that cloud-hosted SaaS platforms provide, and that’s all the more important in a world filled with supply chain delays, workforce uncertainties and material shortages. Being able to offer your staff the capability to work from home or on the road is necessary in today’s world, and knowing the provider has your back on the technical side should help you feel confident that you can handle whatever comes down the road.

Finally, consider that SaaS ERP solutions offer both better security and data redundancy thanks to being hosted offsite. Any vendor worth considering will provide safeguards for your data, including IP address whitelisting, two-factor authentication (2FA), distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection, backup servers and data retention policies that ensure your operations aren’t compromised.

What Makes Aptean the Ideal Partner for Progress

With decades of collective manufacturing knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the specific industries we serve, Aptean is recognized as a leading provider of purpose-built business software. We have highly specialized ERP products tailored to a number of manufacturing verticals and subverticals and can deliver a superb SaaS experience for our clients.

We’re able to offer 99.9% uptime or better with our cloud solutions thanks to the rock-solid behind-the-scenes architecture of our systems. It’s all built on the framework of Microsoft Dynamics 365, too, so your employees who have used Microsoft programs and applications in the past will feel right at home with the user interface.

Consider too what an advantage it can be to choose a provider that offers guidance and planning during the implementation of your new ERP system. We’re here to help you create a roadmap and timeline, as well as provide advice on best practices, challenges and training for your staff. We’re proud to be a partner to each and every one of our clients.

Now, if you’re ready to hear more about Aptean’s suite of manufacturing ERP solutions and how a SaaS deployment can boost your business’s performance and results, contact us today. We also offer personalized demos so you can see the platform in action for yourself.

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