by Rick Carlton
Today’s cloud ERP providers offer a range of service levels in order to ensure the launch, operation and maintenance of their system performs at the highest level. However, in the same way that issues of scale can play against difficulties associated with ERP implementations, problems based on cloud ERP service level can occur leading to lost revenue or unexpected costs of operation.
To help you understand today’s typical cloud service level, here is a short primer on what is generally accepted in today’s market.
Cloud ERP service package options
‘Knowledge-only’ agreements typically offer the following elements; business analysis, operational assessment, systems purchase research and evaluation, and end-to-end roadmap development. The next rung up on the ladder includes ‘core integration’ packages. Packages of this type include more technical, development-oriented or operational tasking such as end-to-end data mapping, enterprise platform identification, analysis and migration, operational implementation, enterprise rollout, module and affiliate systems integration, pre-launch testing and QA, defined support and maintenance and periodic upgrades.
if you have not considered these service packages in a linear fashion, all bets will be off, and significantly more money will be required to effect positive change than perhaps you might expect.
Finally, once your cloud ERP implementation is up and running, enhanced service packages are typically offered. This group of tasks typically include elements such as provider hosting, tailored development, BPO analysis, big data/analytics, and mobility-derived integration.
In each case cloud ERP scale and complexity plays a major part in a company’s cost management and operational decision-making. If you get it wrong, well, you need to be prepared to get your checkbook out.
The implications of your service package decision
In the launch phase, if you have purchased a ‘knowledge-only’ cloud ERP service package, you must accept that the entire responsibility for an ERP system’s viability will rest with your enterprise’s IT cadre. So, if one is running a small shop with limited technical resources, the cost of trying to avoid going beyond the paper analysis stage can demand more money downstream, rather than simply accepting the additional cost of a middle level operational package at the outset.
Recommended reading: ERP software in the cloud - your introduction to cloud ERP projects
In these middle level cloud ERP service packages, the majority of all operational pre-launch and post-launch testing, and initiation elements are included. However, package costs will be relative to the depth of service. Once a system has matured and developed both its own dense data mass and operational character derived by daily use, the scalability of the system and service package will be critical.
If scalability becomes an issue, it may be useful, as well as cost-effective, to purchase an enhanced service package. These can cover the movement of an operational system from one hosted platform to another, the application of additional analysis, or enhancing a baseline system by developing custom code specific to one process or another.
A well understood plan of action
In all cases, these opportunities begin with a well understood plan of action typically based on a multi-year operational schedule, lest the enterprise lose overall technical momentum. The final stage of this planning should involve all that the enterprise and its cloud ERP provider have learned about how and why the company operates effectively, and, in this case, can quickly close the loop on a service decision.
At the end of the day, if you have have selected the correct cloud ERP service package, the expansion of your ERP system ‘should’ be reasonably straightforward. However, if you have not considered these service packages in a linear fashion, all bets will be off, and significantly more money will be required to effect positive change than perhaps you might expect.