What is Cloud ERP Software?

Cloud ERP allows users to access Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software over servers that are accessed over the Internet. Cloud ERP is a Software as a Service (SaaS) that gives companies access to their business-critical applications at any time from any location.
Acumatica General Business Edition

Cloud ERP software is enterprise resource planning software that runs on a secure server, providing easy accessibility via the Internet. Its superpower is integrating every department under a single umbrella, acting as a central repository for companies’ critical business data.

Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning software is a modern, affordable, and comprehensive solution for companies operating in today’s digital economy.

What is ERP, and how does it work?

With today’s businesses trying to operate efficiently while adapting to evolving requirements, expectations, and technology, “What is ERP software?” has become a popular question. To answer it, we must start by explaining what ERP stands for: Enterprise Resource Planning.

As the name indicates, Enterprise Resource Planning encompasses how organizations (regardless of size) manage their resources. The term “resources” can include—but is not limited to—materials, equipment, employees, and capital. With an ERP system, organizations can manage these resources and integrate separate departments—like financials, accounting, sales, CRM, and more—through a single, centralized application and interface. Company-wide information is shared through and synchronized in the system and is available to all employees, putting everyone on the same page, at the same time.

What is cloud-based ERP?

Cloud-based ERP systems allow companies to access all the above mentioned benefits via the internet. These systems can be categorized as: private cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS).

In private cloud ERP, the necessary hardware and software are physically located in a business’s own facility, and its IT department is responsible for deploying, securing, and maintaining the system. Initial costs can also be high, and employees may only be able to access the system remotely through a third-party application and/or device.

When cloud Enterprise Resource Planning system is delivered as a SaaS deployment, users can access the system whenever, from wherever—as long as they have an internet connection and a browser-enabled device. This “anytime, anywhere” access is a game-changer for businesses with remote workforces, field technicians, and multiple locations. The Cloud ERP vendor is also responsible for security, updates, and upgrades, so the customers’ IT teams are free to think about other growth-enhancing initiatives.
In some cases, as with Acumatica, businesses can also choose to deploy their ERP software as a hybrid of the private cloud and SaaS approaches.
What is cloud ERP

What are the advantages of Cloud ERP?

One of the biggest advantages of Cloud ERP software (specifically, Acumatica) is its almost limitless customizability. Add-on solutions, role-based dashboards, open APIs, and industry-specific functions—all these combine to give companies unparalleled data visibility, powerful decision-making tools, and a future-proof platform for success.

Companies can implement a General Business Edition or choose editions that have been tailored to the needs of their specific industries: Construction, Distribution, Manufacturing, Retail, Services

To better understand the benefits of industry-specific Enterprise Resource Planning systems, consider the construction industry. Construction businesses have many moving parts. The office and field teams work in tandem to complete multiple projects on time and under budget, but challenges arise when they don’t have updated information. Construction-specific ERP software integrates systems and applications—including financials, job cost accounting, project management, inventory, CRM, payroll, and more—for a complete, real-time view of the business that instantly connects all workers in the team.

Learn how Cloud ERP can benefit your business


savings in IT costs


revenue increase


less time spent for payroll

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What are the risks and benefits of Cloud ERP software, and how does the system improve business efficiency?

As with any high-dollar product or service purchase, investing in cloud-based ERP systems comes with some risks. But, with proper planning, these risks can be mitigated, and they are far outweighed by the benefits Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning systems bring.


Risks of ERP Investment

  • Lack of leadership buy-in, resulting in the Enterprise Resource Planning software purchase and implementation not happening at all
  • Lack of organizational buy-in, resulting in employees not using the software and the company not reaping the rewards of automated business and management processes
  • Lack of training, resulting in sub-par use of the ERP system


Benefits of Cloud ERP Software

  • Powerful automation that streamlines simple tasks and eliminates manual workarounds
  • A central repository that connects multiple systems/applications and stores data from every department in an easily accessible, up-to-the-minute database
  • Anytime, anywhere access to the system, eliminating geographical restrictions
  • Automated workflows (e.g., approvals for Purchase Orders or Accounts Payable processes)
  • Customizable dashboards and reports
  • An end to month-end headaches caused by human error or disconnected systems—duplicate data entry, delayed financial reporting, incomplete or erroneous transaction entries, etc.
  • The power to manage multiple companies with one system and consolidated reporting
  • Vendor-managed hardware and data servers, IT support, and system updates/upgrades—meaning customers are not stuck with infrastructural and ongoing maintenance costs
  • Reduced strain on in-house IT teams
  • Fast, vendor-supported implementation
  • Flexible licensing that allows customers to adjust their use of the ERP system according to fluctuating needs (e.g., add/remove applications, add/remove users, etc.)
  • Robust, vendor-ensured data security (e.g., controlled physical access to the equipment, environmental protection, protection from unforeseen disasters, regular system maintenance)
  • Adaptable software that scales with the customer’s business


As the lists above show, the advantages of the software and the business value of an ERP system are very clear. But there are still other questions businesses should ask when thinking about buying an ERP solution—one of the biggest being: “How much does ERP software cost?”

What is the real-cost of ERP software?

The overall cost of an ERP system will, of course, depend on which system you choose. Pricing is subjective and takes many different factors into consideration. To justify the expense of an ERP investment, you should examine, not just the base cost of the ERP system itself, but also the system’s return on investment (ROI).

The most obvious system and implementation costs include: Hardware expenses (for private Cloud ERP solutions), Software licensing costs, Per user fees, Initial implementation, data conversion, and training costs, Customization needs.

But when making cost comparisons, businesses must also remember that ERP pricing structures will differ from system to system. And they should take any hidden costs into consideration. These can include, among other things:

  1. The time employees will spend implementing the system, learning how to use it, and developing new procedures with it.
  2. Future system customizations based on changing business needs.
  3. Software upgrades.
  4. Additional training and consulting as time goes on and your business grows and changes.

The bottom line is to make sure you do your pricing homework before choosing an ERP system. To help with this part of the process, Acumatica created this eBook: How to Calculate ERP Software Return on Investment (ROI). Understand areas where you can achieve a return on investment for ERP applications like Acumatica and get real-world examples from small and midsized companies in varied industry segments based on their digital transformation projects.

How to choose the right ERP?

There are many factors to consider when choosing an ERP system, and your examination of these factors will take place across a few steps.

The first step is research, which includes weighing the cost of various ERP solutions, as we talked about above. If you’ve reached this first step, you’ve probably already decided that an ERP solution—with its ability to manage all business processes and spur data-driven decision-making—is a better choice than, for instance, simple accounting software, like QuickBooks.

The second step is evaluation: comparing solutions side-by-side. All employees who will be using the system should be included in this process. Their opinions, feedback, and suggestions, based on their frontline experiences with your business, will go a long way toward helping you make an informed—and supported—decision. (An ERP Comparison Checklist is an efficient way to manually evaluate systems based on productivity, functionality, technology, value, and risk.)

The third step is selection. Keeping the company’s needs, timeline, and budget in mind, you’ll look at whether the solutions at the top of your list actually meet expectations. Here are some questions to ask when buying ERP software:

  • Does the solution address industry-specific pain points?
  • Does the solution address industry-specific pain points by role?
  • Does it have the reporting and analytics functionality my business will need in the future?
  • Can the ERP solution integrate seamlessly with complementary, third-party applications?

If the answer is “yes” to these and any other business-specific questions, it may be time to hit the “ERP buy” button…or is it?

Even if an ERP solution looks fantastic on paper, it still may not be the right choice if the ERP software vendor isn’t a good fit.

Bryan Papé
"Acumatica has allowed us to be a better digital business. From Sales to Operations, from Admin to C-Level Executives, Acumatica allows us to have insight into data to make good decisions to grow our business in a powerful way. "
Bryan Papé, Founder and CEO

What criteria should be used to select an ERP software vendor?

Weighing costs, comparing your many options, and asking the right questions are crucial steps to making the right ERP choice, but there’s one other vital task you must accomplish before making your final decision: evaluate the ERP software vendor.

Implementing an ERP solution is a value-driven, benefit-filled project that requires time, money, and effort. The right software vendor should not only be able to help you manage these valuable resources but also understand the ins and outs of the technology itself and have a firm grasp of your unique business needs. Essentially, the vendor must be a knowledgeable, trustworthy partner that can walk you through every step of the process.

As you assess your ERP software vendor options, consider the following:

  • Do they put their customers’ needs first?
  • Do they offer comprehensive training?
  • Do they continue to provide full-throttle support after going live?
  • Do they offer accessibility to every member of their team?
  • Do they share their product roadmap with their customers?
  • Do they keep their promises?

And you should also consider whether the ERP software vendors acknowledge your rights as a customer. If you’re unsure what those rights are, Acumatica’s Customer Bill of Rights—the first and only one of its kind in the ERP marketplace—can help you out.

With Acumatica, you have the right to:

  1. A software and services proposal with clear fee structures, and no surprises.
  2. Unlimited user access without having to purchase user licenses.
  3. Fully adapt and customize the solution to meet your evolving business requirements.
  4. Transparent, fair pricing and agreements without long-term commitments.
  5. Deploy the solution on a public or private cloud.
  6. An open platform with robust APIs to rapidly integrate your other systems.
  7. A complete security model that covers your application access, data, reports, and devices.
  8. Own and access your data, now and always—in full, usable data formats.
  9. Take advantage of all knowledge and resources developed across a broad community of employees, partners, and customers.
  10. Professional online training that is free and comprehensive.

If the ERP software vendor you’re considering doesn’t advocate for these or similar rights, you may want to rethink your decision.

“Acumatica is kind of this golden thread that runs through our business and supports us culturally as well. The post-implementation support we’ve had from both our partners in the UK, Tascoli, and Acumatica directly, has been second to none. They make you feel like you are their number one customer, and they can’t do enough to help you. So, we’ve been very impressed.” – Chris Drake, Chief Operating Officer, Smartnumbers

When is the right time to switch to Cloud ERP?

The right time to switch is now. Over the past few years, the world has changed dramatically, and, to keep up with these revolutions in the digital economy, businesses have to change with it. Modern businesses must be flexible and mobile, and modern Cloud ERP solutions have the functionality and scalability needed to make that happen.

As the world’s fastest-growing Cloud ERP vendor, with the only Customer Bill of Rights in the industry, Acumatica is ready to help you move forward and gather all the success the future holds for your business.

Take your business to the next level.

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