If you're a Chief Information Officer, the data says you already get it. You understand the value, rewards and competitive necessity of digital transformation — and the transition to a modern cloud-based ERP.
As CIO magazine notes in a recent piece on forward-thinking CIOs: "Multiple sources say their three-year roadmaps are heavily weighted toward cloud — in particular, increased public cloud adoption. CIOs and researchers believe a robust cloud environment will be mandatory for capitalizing on other technology trends expected to be in play in 2025.”
But for many CIOs, one of the biggest challenges in making that move may be getting the rest of the C-Suite on board. Digital transformation can't succeed without adoption and participation at all levels of the organization — and that begins with the C-level executives who need to support and sign off on the implementation.
Fortunately, moving to a cloud ERP sooner rather than later offers substantial benefits for every stakeholder in the C-suite. So, to make a successful pitch, all you have to do is show them how implementing one will not only address their pain points, but boost their capabilities and help them achieve their goals.
Let’s start with a look at the most compelling rewards of a cloud ERP — followed by general insights into which arguments are likely to be persuasive to specific members of the C-suite.
Making the Case: 10 Key Benefits of a Modern Cloud ERP
- Centralization. You can't make good decisions based on bad data, and when your data is scattered and siloed among different legacy apps and systems, you can't see the larger patterns within it. Getting it cleaned up and centralized into a single source of truth will have massive payoffs.
- Democratization. One of those payoffs will be making up-to-date data accessible to team members throughout the organization — enabling better collaboration and greater efficiency. Get everyone on the same page so that nobody has to wait for someone else to provide the data they need.
- Automation. Freeing team members to focus on higher-level tasks by automating low-level repetitive tasks can have positive ripple effects at every level of the organization.
- Visualization. Cloud-based ERPs come with customizable dashboards that draw on real-time data and display it in an easy to assimilate way, leading to greater insight and understanding.
- Supply Chain Optimization. Modern ERP systems can provide you with real-time visibility into your supply chain from the production line to the warehouse and beyond, as well as tools for planning and optimization, so you can predict disruptions and take proactive steps to address them.
- Better Forecasting. Speaking of forecasting — having quality, centralized data coupled with the power of cloud-based analytics, AI and machine learning makes possible everything from better forecasting of customer demand and cashflow, to predictive maintenance of equipment so you can repair it before it malfunctions. You can also draw on advanced technology like digital twins to help improve products or develop contingency plans for a wide range of what-if scenarios.
- Happier Customers. Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is easier when you're armed with quality data, supply chain visibility, and predictive technology. Cloud-based ERP tools can help with achieving on-time delivery and accurate tracking, as well as anticipating and responding to changes in customer demand, and providing better customer service.
- Security. Modern ERPs deliver all sorts of security benefits. For one thing, the evergreen approach to security updates helps provide better and continuous protection from risks. Getting away from the security deficiencies of legacy systems, which often rely on vulnerable technologies like clear text exchanges or FTP, can help protect your organization as well. And security is another area where the AI and machine learning capabilities of cloud-based ERP delivers value. They can prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks by scanning your system for vulnerabilities, monitoring logs for anomalies, detecting suspicious transactions and more.
- Keeping Up with Competitors. Failing to modernize means falling behind the competition. Ultimately, you'll lose out on customers, who will be won by businesses who've embraced the tools necessary to deliver better customer experiences.
- Staying Ahead of the Curve. Of course, it's not just a matter of keeping up with others — it's also about the opportunities you can take advantage of when you've got the technology to capitalize on them. One thing that's not going to change anytime soon is the accelerating pace of change itself. Known emerging trends include Web3, augmented reality, mixed reality and the metaverse. The years ahead will no doubt bring plenty of unforeseen disruptions to respond to, as well, and successful organizations will need the agility and resilience made possible by the latest technology.
The ABC's of the C-Suite
For all members of the C-Suite, a key benefit is the way a cloud ERP will put up-to-the-minute data at their fingertips. Instead of waiting for reports to be generated, they'll have access to dashboards that are continuously updated with high-quality real-time data.
A survey from FiveTran and Dimensional Data found that 86% of executives say they need access to real-time data in order to make smart business decisions. And yet only 23% said they had the necessary capabilities in place with their current ERP systems, and 99% said it was a struggle to access the information they need.
In addition to the CEO, who as the overarching generalist of the C-suite should have a stake in all the concerns listed below, here's a look at where a few of the key players may be coming from — and what benefits they may be most responsive to.
- CFO: The Chief Financial Officer is one of the stakeholders with the most to gain from this transition. Focusing on cost savings — like the savings on maintenance achieved by getting away from an on-premise system — can be compelling.
Beyond that, the sophisticated financial analysis that CFOs need in order to make sense of the information available to them and visualize the road ahead will benefit immensely from the data visualization capabilities of cloud-based ERP. The right financial dashboard can deliver the insights and understanding they need to make a big leap forward.
- COO: Chief Operating Officers recognize that smoother operations can be achieved through better access to quality data throughout the organization — which in turn enables better collaboration and teamwork.
The potential for improved productivity through business process automation is another important payoff. Better visibility into the supply chain at every step of the process, and the ability to detect and fix problems before they arise through monitoring of real-time data should be attractive, as well.
- CSO: For Chief Security Officers, the improved security features of an up-to-date ERP are a clear win.
- CMO: Chief Marketing Officers know that marketing as a field is more data-driven than ever. The days when marketing and advertising could run on gut instinct are long gone: Every marketing professional depends on data insights and analytics to determine the best next steps, from high-level strategy to everyday implementation.
With that in mind, help your CMO see how a better ERP will lead to better insights into customer behavior and better assessment of how campaigns are performing — along with providing superior analytics tools and data insights for SEO and social media data, and easier and more up-to-date reporting.
Want to learn more about how Columbus can help your organization successfully plan and implement the transition to a cloud ERP? Get in touch with us today.