Why the cloud is essential for supply chain resilience

Cloud-enabled companies have been more flexible and agile during the Covid crisis, but successful migration of on-premise systems requires a trusted partner

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains with stunning swiftness. But some businesses were able to withstand this once-in-a-lifetime event better than others – and many of them shared some common characteristics.

Firstly, they were flexible. Secondly, they were agile. And thirdly, they had great partners working with them. But without the cloud, none of this would have been possible.

When it came to quickly pivoting operations to hybrid work, new suppliers, online orders or contactless delivery, for example, “cloud applications proved faster to get started, supported more innovations, and kept businesses running,” says Kerrie Jordan, director of product management for cloud solutions at Epicor, which provides market-leading cloud-based ERP systems.

In the early days of the pandemic, some businesses had to navigate both the closure of in-store sales channels and surging ecommerce demand. But thanks to the flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions, many were able to manage this sudden, rapid growth in online sales without major disruption.

However, the benefits of cloud solutions are game-changing no matter what the economic landscape looks like. “Instead of spending the resources to find safe and adequate space for servers, or the qualified personnel to maintain and secure them, you can spend those resources on the business – evaluating, investing in, and adapting the right-fit technology and talent to take your competitiveness to the next level,” says Jordan.

While moving to the cloud is increasingly essential, many companies are still cautious about change though. Which is why a trusted partner is so important during any migration journey.
“An expert partner is critical to a successful migration to the cloud because they bring an industry perspective and long-term vision,” says Jordan. “They will have learned best practices from all the other companies, probably several like yours, who have tackled and solved many of the same challenges you face.”

Most importantly, businesses should seek an expert partner who will be there for the long haul. “Getting to the cloud is certainly an important step, but the best partners are those who stay ahead of technology trends, understand your industry, and keep innovating, so you can rely on them for years to come,” Jordan explains.

As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that 47% of the 1,250 technology decision-makers Epicor surveyed for its Industry Insights report said a dedicated migration partner is essential. But despite the obvious benefits of the cloud, fears around integrations and data protection, as well as concerns around talent, are still stopping some businesses from taking the leap.

“Many companies don’t know where to find accurate information or even where to start,” says Jordan, who advises companies to “prioritise your team first. Make sure you have the right people, empower them, and reward progress. Help them define success post-migration so there is a clear understanding of value.”

Those that get this right can unlock new competitive advantages – something borne out by Epicor’s report, which found that 92% of all cloud businesses feel they are leaders or on par with the competition, while those mostly on-premises feel left behind. What’s more, 36% of businesses on cloud expect to recover by the end of 2021, compared to only 28% of mostly or all on-premises ones.

All this means it’s now undeniable that the cloud is an essential component for supply chain future-proofing. “There is no other feasible technology model to ensure long-term business success, especially given the sheer scale of global business, the amount of information to be processed and secured, and the infinite possible supply chain disruptions to solve,” says Jordan. “Business leaders today need a platform that embraces innovation and turns data into insight, so they can confidently lead their organisations into the future.”

For more information please visit epicor.com

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