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2 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD
Originally focusing on automating
back-office functionality that didn’t
involve customers, ERP soon evolved
to include several phases of a
business’ transactional operations.
ERP’s key development through the
1990s and first decade of the 2000’s
was the rise of its collaboration
between transactional data and
management areas such as customer
relationship, supply chain, inventory,
human capital and beyond.
Many distributors have already
undergone several ERP system
upgrades or are currently in the midst
of one. In Industrial Distribution’s
2017 Survey of Distributor Operations,
14 percent of distributor respondents
whose company didn’t have an ERP
system planned to install one within
the next two years. Given the array of
productivity benefits that ERP enable,
it’s no wonder distributors of all types
are adding or upgrading ERP every
Now in the age of Industry 4.0, ERP is making its next
and perhaps biggest evolution yet — to the cloud.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
has come a long way in less than 20 years.
WHAT IS CLOUD ERP?
The difference between a traditional, on-
site ERP system and cloud ERP system
is simple: On-premises ERP software is
installed on a company’s local hardware
and servers and is managed by its in-house
staff. Cloud ERP, on the other hand, is a
(SaaS) that is managed by that vendor
via the Internet in a system the customer
accesses through a web browser.
ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD ERP
On-site ERP can be upgraded time-and-
time again, but the potential is limited, and
the challenges traditional ERP systems
face are where Cloud ERP excels:
Traditional ERP integration into a business’
other operating software can cause
numerous headaches. Cloud-based ERP
helps break down technology silos within a
business, like the management for orders
3 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD
— Mark Jensen,
Director of Product Management –Distribution
Epicor Software Corporation
And to the millennials,
it looks modern and fresh.”
“You don’t have to re-train.
placed over-the-phone, via e-commerce
and those orders placed via mobile device.
“The biggest thing is it gets distributors
outside of their four walls. They’re not
constrained within them,” says Mark
Jensen, Director of Product Management –
Distribution at Epicor Software Corporation.
“In order to compete today, you have to
figure out the web and mobile, and the
cloud allows you to get there faster.”
On-premises ERP is often limited to
an individual facility, whereas cloud-
based ERP is seamlessly connected
across a company’s entire network as
everyone has the same accessibility
from their web browser.
One of the limits of traditional ERP is its
limited upward mobility. As distributors
grow, they often add more technology or
dive deeper into e-commerce functions
that are beyond their existing ERP’s
capabilities, requiring upgrades. Cloud-
based ERP is ready for these factors,
and can adjust to a company’s specific
business and technology needs. “You have
to have a system that allows you to take
advantage of those newer technologies as
their price point gets more attractive, and
that’s going to happen very fast,” Jensen
says. “You have to look at your system
and see if it lets you apply something
like artificial intelligence to pricing.”
With the cloud-based ERP vendor handling
management of the system, companies
don’t need a dedicated IT staff for it.
Alternatively, this allows that IT staff
to focus on other strategic areas. This
is especially appealing for those small
and mid-sized distributors that don’t
have the budget for such employees or
simply aren’t tech-savvy themselves.
Lower Operating Cost: A cloud-based
ERP has the potential to eliminate the
need for distributors to purchase server,
network and storage hardware necessary
to maintain the platform on site. Instead
of capital expenditures, distributors can
focus on operational expenditures.
CHOOSING A PROVIDER
There are a number of cloud ERP providers
today, as the rise in the newer technology
has drawn new vendors to the industry.
But whereas many of those vendors
focus solely on their ‘cloud ERP-only’
capabilities, it certainly helps to have
the expertise of a provider that also has
expertise in the on-premises format.
In that regard, Epicor Software Corporation
differentiates itself in the market with
its wealth of knowledge. Epicor’s history
includes more than 30 years of business
software innovation for distributors. And
that amount of ERP knowledge makes
the company an expert resource to
help distributors of all sizes determine
exactly what type of ERP is right for them,
be it on-premises or cloud-based.
4 TAKING YOUR DISTRIBUTORSHIP TO THE CLOUD
The latest chapter in Epicor’s legacy
came out of the company’s recent 2017
Insights Customer Conference in May,
where it unveiled the latest cloud-version
of its popular Prophet 21 ERP Solution.
Epicor cloud-based ERP allows Epicor
on-premises ERP customers to move to the
cloud without seeing any disruption with their
business. With helping them become more
mobile and taking advantage of new software
technology, Epicor Prophet 21 customers can
see all the benefits of a cloud-based solution
without the headaches of a traditional ERP
upgrade or installation process. They won’t
lose any of the customization they’ve built
or functionality currently being used. This
is a big issue in today’s workforce that
sees many baby boomer generation staff
retiring and the onboarding of younger
distribution salespeople and managers.
“The generational shift was one of the
drivers of our cloud strategy,” Jensen
says. “It allows our customers to have an
application that’s not radically different.
You don’t have to re-train. And to the
millennials, it looks modern and fresh.”
What about distributors who currently
aren’t Epicor customers? Other cloud-
ERP providers offer their solution through
collaborating with a third-party which actually
handles the functionality. Epicor’s solution
is handled all by Epicor. It’s just one reason
distributors should consider Prophet 21.
Epicor Software Corporation (epicor.com) provides industry-specific business
software designed around the needs of manufacturing, distribution, retail and
services organizations. Epicor’s more than 40 years of experience with its
customers’ unique business processes and operational requirements is built
into every solution — in the cloud, hosted or on premises.
The information in this report was
researched and produced by Industrial
Distribution in conjunction with Epicor.
Statistical data was researched and
compiled by Advantage Business
Media in May 2017.
“ With Epicor, you’re getting deep functionality on the
cloud and it’s all from us,” Jensen says.