Cloud ERP is transforming businesses but has its share of challenges

Cloud ERP is transforming businesses but has its share of challenges

In this year’s Industry Insights Report, Epicor digs deeper into the customer journey. The vendor asked 1,350 technology decision makers how they feel about their ERP transition to cloud technology, what’s important to them, and how their partners can accelerate value at every stage.

The last two years saw unprecedented challenges for hard-working businesses. From disrupted supply chains, to remote working and the need for greater flexibility, agility, and security. It was a period of huge upheaval. By some estimates, a decade’s worth of change happened in just a couple of years. With the vastly transformed business landscape now fully in focus, switching to cloud-based ERP helped thousands of businesses face challenges and come out stronger.

One significant finding is the difference between the beginning and later stages of working on digital transformation projects with software providers. The research revealed the pre-purchase stage of the buyer journey is a positive experience for most businesses. But more crucially, customers said they are looking for more support and better partnership with providers, especially during the latter stages of the journey.

Customers want a dedicated team to support them throughout the process. They also want a partner with deep expertise, who can provide a solution curated to their industry and the needs of their business. They require practical support for critical processes such as interoperability, integration, and data migration.

Businesses are also looking for greater transparency. And they want support and training that continues past the go -live stage, helping them successfully onboard staff and get the most from their solution. As the report shows, if they do not get all this from their current ERP provider, they are ready to look elsewhere.

The research says customers are staying put—for now. Most businesses feel loyal to their current provider. Many of them moved to their cloud-based ERP solution recently, and they are now appreciating the benefits. Yet while most of them feel no urgency to move to a new provider, that is only one part of the story.

The smartest customers are always on the lookout for ways to improve their systems and boost their bottom line. They understand that cloud-based ERP is a fast-changing landscape. With rapid digital transformation delivering a proliferation of new technology, businesses know that new opportunities are always on the horizon. With that in mind, most decision makers say they actively consider moving to a new ERP solution every 1 to 3 years.

What makes businesses think about changing their ERP provider? The research showed a range of triggers that can encourage customers to contemplate switching. From seeing better functionality available elsewhere to discovering a potential solution that integrates rapidly emerging, new technologies. Customers also can feel frustrated with cost increases from their current provider or be tempted by more competitive pricing. Some businesses are searching for better ongoing support or looking for a partner that provides crucial cybersecurity protection.

While there is no single concern that stands above the rest, the general conclusion is clear: ERP providers cannot afford to take their customers’ loyalty for granted, because customers value support through every stage of their technology transformation.

As the findings show, a strong sense of partnership helps most businesses feel confident in their ability to navigate the ERP purchase process. Yet looking at different stages of the journey provides a more nuanced picture. The research says that for many customers, difficulty increased as they progressed further along the path.

48% of customers found the onboarding phase difficult, while 47% found it difficult once their ERP solution went live. Customers are looking for more support and partnership during the crucial latter phases.

Cloud-based ERP is being rapidly adopted for the last few years, with most companies now convinced of its many benefits. In fact, 90% of businesses are comfortable with having cloud-based solutions.

SOURCE: Epicor, Industry Insights Report 2022

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