SAP Business One in the Cloud: 5 Things to Know

SAP Business One is a powerful, uniquely flexible ERP solution that’s perfect for growing businesses. One aspect of that flexibility is that SAP Business One is equally comfortable as an on-premises or a Cloud deployment.

While the Cloud is now the most common deployment model for many business systems, it’s important to carefully consider all your options. So, before you make the switch (to Business One or the Cloud or both), it’s worth taking the time to understand what a Cloud deployment does and doesn’t mean, and why many find the Cloud so beneficial.

To guide you on your journey, here are 5 things to know if you’re considering SAP Business One in the Cloud.

Not new to SAP Business One but new to the Cloud? We’ve included pro tips throughout the article just for you.

1. Find the Right Functionality First

The right first step isn’t deciding on your deployment strategy. It’s finding the ERP solution that delivers the best functionality for your growing business.

While it’s wise to strongly consider the Cloud, begin by identifying and assigning value to the tangible changes your new system may deliver. The business needs come first, and those center on what a new ERP solution means for you regardless of the deployment model.

Start by identifying your business needs and outlining your requirements. Compile an extensive list of current and future functional and process needs and wants for each department. Then look for an ERP solution proven to meet those requirements.

Once you’re confident you have the right functionality to support your growing business, you’re ready to consider the Cloud.

Consider the robust functionality within SAP Business One. Core functions include:

PRO TIP: If you’re ready to migrate your existing SAP Business One ERP solution to the Cloud, watch out for vendors who promise to migrate you (and collect your ongoing hosting fees, forever) but who won’t support you well in the long run. With a typical vendor, you get sporadic, unfocused support from nameless agents that don’t know your business, and it’s a different person every time you call.

A strategic ERP partner like Third Wave Business Systems is the better choice: you get a dedicated SAP Business One expert for life, someone who understands your business and what you need SAP Business One to accomplish for you. You’re also armed with proven Cloud deployment options tailored for SAP Business One and carefully vetted by Third Wave.

2. Cloud or On-Premises, SAP Business One Offers the Same Experience

Whether you decide upon an on-premises, private cloud, or public cloud option, SAP Business One delivers the same experience. SAP doesn’t prefer one over the other, nor does it encourage ERP partners like us to favor one over the other.

This flexibility stands in contrast to many other ERP solutions that exist only as a SaaS platform provided by the vendor that makes the ERP solution. In the latter model (employed by NetSuite and Dynamics), the deployment model is king: everything else, from your functional requirements to your resource needs, is a lower priority.

The SaaS-only model also locks businesses into their chosen vendor, leaving little to no room for trusted advisors and partners. In other words, you do it their way, whether it’s good for you or not.

SAP Business One operates in any deployment configuration and doesn’t steer you toward one or the other. This freedom allows businesses to choose the deployment model that truly best meets their needs, and it allows ERP partners like Third Wave to focus on what’s best for your business—not on conforming your business to the vendor’s requirements.

The Main Difference Is Your IT Commitment

Ultimately the most significant difference between a Cloud or on-premises SAP Business One deployment is your internal resource commitment. Organizations considering on-premises should ensure they have the resources necessary to successfully run a complex ERP system. Conversely, moving to the Cloud offloads much of the IT labor overhead, allowing a broader range of organizations to get the most out of SAP Business One.

Here’s just a sampling of the tasks required for on-prem deployments that go away when you move to the cloud:

There are good reasons that some organizations prefer on-premises deployments, but be aware of the internal resources required.

PRO TIP: Remember, when comparing the costs of on-prem and Cloud deployments, the true costs of on-prem go beyond hardware. Labor—including skilled labor that may be hard to source in a tight market—carries both financial and opportunity costs. Most ERP systems require IT expertise with networking, server deployments and maintenance, DBA support, end-user support, and more.

3. Ready Access to Data Varies with Cloud Deployment Options and Vendors

Third, ready access to your data may be a major distinction between the various Cloud deployment options and vendors you’re considering.

For most businesses, this data is mission-critical. Losing it wouldn’t just be an operational risk; it would be devastating. When you operate your ERP on premises or on a private Cloud, you own your data, and no vendor will take that access away.

Yet moving to the public or multi-tenant Cloud (more on these terms below) or to a SaaS solution often means you no longer have direct access to or control of your data. If you stop paying the bill, your access to your own data disappears.

Worse, some SaaS vendors know that because they can hold your data hostage, you’re likely to stay with them. Sudden major cost increases aren’t uncommon, and you may find that, when you try to leave, exporting your data is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

The Cloud Is Not a Monolith

One common misconception is that “the Cloud” is a singular thing, and that everyone operating in the Cloud is offering essentially the same thing. The Cloud has multiple “flavors,” with various vendors and providers dealing in various flavors. The most important flavors to understand are public and private.

Public or multi-tenant Clouds share Cloud resources between multiple tenants or clients. Think of it like renting server space from your Cloud provider (because that’s essentially what you’re doing). You have less robust access to that server space and the data within it, just like a renter has less ownership of the home he’s renting than a homeowner would.

Private Clouds, on the other hand, belong to you exclusively: no one else shares your Cloud servers. In this way, the private Cloud is similar to on-premises.

Whichever configuration you choose (public or private Cloud or on-prem) – and ALL have their benefits — Third Wave Business Systems is ready to guide you end-to-end through the migration process.

PRO TIP: SAP Business One is a powerful ERP system, but many growing businesses need additional tools or integrations to interface Business One with other crucial tools and services. Third Wave Business Systems offers exclusive applications Bizweaver and Versago to meet these needs, allowing users to integrate other systems and data sources with Business One and vice versa.

4. Understand Your 10-Year Total Cost of Ownership

The various deployment models use differing financial models, and this too often leads to apples-to-oranges cost comparisons. Be sure to understand your 10-year total cost of ownership (TCO) across each deployment model you’re considering.

Public Cloud options are often sold and bundled as SaaS tools. These deliver a reliable annual fee, but that fee never goes away. (SAP doesn’t offer a true SaaS option for Business One, but many lesser tools do.)

Year-one costs will be lower here than with private Cloud or on-prem, but a better way to view true costs is over 10 years. In year 10, public Cloud customers will still be paying the same. Private and on-prem customers will have seen their yearly costs drop considerably, even factoring in labor.

All things considered, a one-time license fee (typically associated with an on-premises install) combined with a private Cloud is the best of both worlds for many businesses. Annual outlays diminish quickly, and the 10-year TCO is typically much smaller than a similar configuration on the public Cloud or with a SaaS tool.

PRO TIP: Most businesses don’t have to wait 10 years to realize the TCO benefits of license+private Cloud. Initial licensing investments are usually finished in three years, and costs drop off considerably at that point.

5. The Private Cloud Is a Good Choice for Many

Last, we want to reiterate that the Cloud isn’t all about SaaS. In fact, some of the most powerful applications of the Cloud don’t use the SaaS model.

Most other Cloud ERP solutions force businesses into the model the vendor requires, regardless of whether that’s actually the best solution for the customer. But SAP Business One is different: it’s uniquely flexible, running optimally in any configuration. Whatever Cloud option you choose—and even if you elect to remain on-premises—SAP Business One can meet you there. And so can Third Wave.

PRO TIP: If you’re already running SAP Business One on premises, moving to SAP Business One in the Cloud is a surprisingly easy switch. The same license you’re currently using can be run in the Cloud, so there are no usability changes. If you decide that the Cloud is the right move, Third Wave can guide you at your time and pace, with minimal disruption.

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