The first step in upgrading your ERP is to move it to the cloud. The cloud is not just another hosting solution, but an entirely new method of deployment and development that opens the door to an entirely new ecosystem of tools and connectivity.

Platforms like Auto.Sky can offer real benefits for client/server applications through functionality that allows you to automatically scale your ERP infrastructure up and down. This layer of automation automatically handles hardware incidents, constantly monitors CPU and memory, and protects the environment against external attacks.

Those ISVs ( Independent Software Vendors ) that are already delivering their ERPs in the cloud can further leverage existing offerings. The original development of the software creates a number of restrictions on the necessary hardware that must be purchased separately and maintained by the customer on their own servers. Once we remove this constraint of static on-premises hardware with the new world of virtually unlimited cloud resources, a new paradigm of performance, availability, Total Cost of Ownership ) and security is revealed.

The ERP cloud as a new product

The ISV should consider the evolution of the original ERP as a new product that will run only in the cloud, which requires it to be properly developed and maintained. The original core of the system, however, is a valuable asset that will be preserved. The ISV can start with simple but impactful enhancements based on cloud features such as storage, database services and security features. Combined, these features bring the solution to another level of performance, security and cost savings.

Storage

Regarding storage, the cloud usually provides SSDs. Compared to physical hard disk, they are a more economical and better performing alternative. These are the traditional block storage systems that most developers tend to see as local storage.

The cloud, however, also offers a variety of options for storing content. Automated file storage services can be easily connected to an ERP system, enabling sharing at scale without any management burden. The object store is also a popular repository for highly requested content.  

Any software can read and write files, images and videos through a strict authorization, authentication and auditing policy. Multiple versions of objects can be maintained on highly durable systems that replicate copies across multiple datacenters . These are all available as an affordable service without any need to configure a single piece of hardware .

Database

Another impactful improvement that the cloud offers is the ease of access to database services. Instead of buying and maintaining the server and licensing in the database, the customer can use it as a service, which most often includes the hardware infrastructure and licenses. Well-tuned servers provide simple upgrade paths for moving between different types of virtual machines, allowing you to choose the best mix of CPU, memory and disks in a highly adaptable environment, with multiple redundancy options provided.

The database solution is often a significant part of the ERP infrastructure costs. The license can represent up to 40% of the total cost of the cloud infrastructure.

For the ISV it is often a challenge to compete with cloud-native solutions that use open source databases in highly shared environments. The best alternative is to move away from the commercial database solution and adopt one of the many open relational database infrastructures such as MySQL or PostgreSQL. Robust and scalable database services are available for these solutions, offering enterprise-grade performance at a fraction of the commercial price. It may not be an easy task, but it represents an important step towards increasing ISV profitability by turning commercial database costs into your own margin.

There are several options for incorporating NoSQL databases, data storage solutions, drop-in storage, and a variety of solutions that were not possible given the usual customer hardware constraints. Now they are easily accessible in the cloud and can be used to leverage original ERP solutions.

Safety

Last but not least are the security tools available in the cloud, which can be easily incorporated into the ERP system. But there are still concerns about cloud security among IT staff, especially around data confidentiality. In reality, few companies have the security tools automatically available in the public cloud.  

These include feature-rich authentication, authorization, and tracking methods, VPN solutions, data-at-rest encryption, firewall filters, DoS protection, encryption key management, and very sophisticated audit mechanisms. Today, the cloud offers a more comprehensive set of security tools to protect ERPs from intrusions and attacks. Using these tools properly, the ISV can securely build modules for mobile access and integration with external systems while maintaining the expected level of security required for the ERP software.

ERP must evolve to remain relevant in the market and offer customers the benefits of new technologies at affordable prices. The cloud is the best environment to foster this evolution, allowing ISVs to build on existing client/server software in small but significant steps.

Written by

Sky.One Team

This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.