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Moving from traditional ERP to cloud ERP.
Dan McManusSep 22, 2023 8:00:00 AM15 min read

Demystifying the Transition: Moving from Traditional ERP to Cloud ERP

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, making the right technology decisions can make or break your success. If you've found yourself tangled in the debate of cloud vs. on-premise ERP, you're not alone. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the transition process, walking you through the intricacies of shifting from traditional ERP systems to more agile cloud-based alternatives.

So whether you're a business owner looking for scalability or an IT manager striving for operational efficiency, this article has something for you. Keep reading to discover the pros, cons, and a roadmap for this critical business transition.

Table Of Content

The Rise of ERP: A Brief History

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have come a long way since their origins in the 1960s. Initially, these systems were designed as Material Requirements Planning (MRP) solutions to facilitate inventory management in the manufacturing sector. 

Over the years, ERP systems evolved to integrate various aspects of business operations, including human resources, finance, and customer relations.

Traditional On-Premise ERP Systems

The turn of the century saw the dominance of traditional on-premise ERP solutions. Companies housed these ERP systems directly within their physical location and required significant investments in hardware, software, and IT personnel. 

Businesses had complete control over their on-premise ERP systems, including data security and customization. These solutions were particularly effective for large enterprises that needed a high level of customization and had the resources to manage the complex infrastructure.

While cloud ERP solutions are becoming increasingly popular, it's essential to appreciate traditional on-premise ERP systems' role in shaping the modern business landscape. These systems laid the groundwork for automating various business processes, providing a unified platform to manage diverse organizational needs.

Significant benefits marked the era of traditional on-premise ERP, but also notable drawbacks. While these systems offered great control and security, they lacked the scalability and flexibility that cloud-based solutions offer today. 

The debate of cloud vs. on-premise ERP has become more relevant as technology evolves, setting the stage for businesses to make informed decisions about their ERP needs.

Understanding this history is vital to appreciating the transformative potential of modern ERP solutions, particularly cloud ERP, as you explore in the following sections.

What is Traditional ERP?

Traditional ERP Server room

Enterprise Resource Planning is a comprehensive software suite that integrates various business functions into a single, unified system. Traditional ERP, usually deployed on-premise, acts as the backbone of an organization, streamlining different processes like inventory management, human resources, finance, and more.

Core Functionalities and Key Features

Traditional ERP systems offer a range of core functionalities tailored to automate and manage several business processes. These can include:

  • Inventory Management: Monitor and control stock levels, purchases, orders, and product deliveries.
  • Human Resources: Manage employee data, payroll, benefits, and recruitment processes.
  • Finance and Accounting: Oversee all financial transactions, budgeting, and reporting.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Track customer interactions, sales pipelines, and customer support.
  • Supply Chain Management: Facilitate efficient planning, execution, and monitoring of supply chain activities.

When comparing on-premise and cloud ERP, one of the standout features of traditional ERP is its high level of customizability. Businesses can tailor the software to meet their specific needs and maintain control over data security, given that the servers are typically within the company's physical premises. 

This control can be a benefit, especially for organizations in industries where data sensitivity is paramount.

Typical Business Scenarios for Traditional ERP

  • Large Enterprises: Organizations with a large workforce and diverse business needs often choose traditional ERP systems because of their depth of customization.
  • Data-Sensitive Industries: Businesses in sectors like healthcare, government, and finance may prefer on-premise ERP solutions due to strict data security and compliance regulations.
  • Legacy Systems: Companies that have been operating for many years often stick with traditional ERP to avoid the costs and challenges associated with migrating to a cloud-based solution.

Understanding the role and functionalities of traditional ERP is crucial for any business considering the transition to cloud ERP. As technology advances, the debate of cloud vs. on-premise ERP becomes increasingly essential, urging business leaders to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

What is Cloud ERP?

What is cloud ERP

Cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning, or Cloud ERP, is an enterprise-wide software solution hosted on a cloud service provider's platform. Unlike traditional on-premise ERP systems, Cloud ERP is accessed through the Internet, offering a more flexible and scalable option for managing various business processes.

Core Functionalities and Key Features

Like its traditional counterpart, Cloud ERP offers a range of core functionalities that include:

  • Inventory Management: Real-time tracking and management of inventory levels.
  • Human Resources: Streamlined processes for employee management, including payroll and benefits.
  • Finance and Accounting: Comprehensive financial reporting and budget management tools.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Seamless customer interaction tracking and management.
  • Supply Chain Management: Integrated tools for managing procurement, production, distribution, and logistics.

ERP as a Service and ERP Cloud Services

One of the significant shifts in the ERP landscape has been the emergence of ERP as a Service, a model where the company provides the ERP solution as a service rather than a product you own. This allows for a lower upfront investment and the flexibility to scale up or down based on business needs.

ERP cloud services often have added benefits like automated updates, data backup, and enhanced security protocols. These services reduce the burden of maintenance and updates, allowing businesses to focus more on their core operations.

Business Scenarios Where Cloud ERP Is More Applicable

  • Small to Medium-Sized Businesses: With lower upfront costs and greater scalability, Cloud ERP is often the go-to solution for SMEs.
  • Rapidly Scaling Startups: For startups experiencing fast growth, the scalability of cloud-based solutions is invaluable.
  • Remote Work Environments: Cloud ERP enables remote access to critical business data and processes, making it ideal for companies with distributed workforces or those embracing a hybrid work model.
  • Organizations Prioritizing Digital Transformation: Cloud ERP seamlessly integrates with other cloud-based solutions, making it a cornerstone for businesses looking to undergo a complete digital transformation.

Understanding Cloud ERP, its functionalities, and the business scenarios where it shines can help organizations make an informed decision when caught in the cloud vs. on-premise ERP debate. In the upcoming sections, we will delve deeper into how Cloud ERP compares to traditional ERP, helping you make a more informed decision for your business needs.

Cloud ERP vs Traditional ERP: A Comparative Analysis

Traditional ERP vs. Cloud ERP

When choosing an ERP solution for your business, the debate often boils down to cloud vs. on-premise ERP. Both have merits and drawbacks, and your choice largely depends on your business's unique needs and constraints. Here's a comparative analysis to guide you through this decision:

ERP Cloud Software Functionalities

Cloud ERP often offers similar functionalities as traditional ERP but with added benefits like real-time analytics, easier integrations, and mobile accessibility. One distinct advantage is the speed of deployment, as cloud ERP systems usually have pre-configured templates that can be customized easily, allowing quicker implementation than on-premise systems.

Cloud And Traditional ERP Comparison


Cloud ERP

Traditional ERP

Initial Setup

Lower upfront costs as there's no need for hardware or infrastructure.

Requires hardware and software investment, increasing initial costs.


Maintenance is generally handled by the service provider, reducing the internal IT burden.

Requires an in-house IT team for maintenance, thereby increasing long-term costs.


Upgrades are streamlined and managed by the service provider, usually resulting in less downtime.

Upgrades can be complex, costly, and time-consuming, requiring internal resources.


Offers scalability and flexibility but may have limitations on customizations depending on the service provider.

Offers more control over data and customizations but is less flexible regarding scaling.

Performance and Speed

Offers better performance in terms of data processing speed and real-time analytics. Ideal for businesses that require quick decision-making.

May offer robust performance but often lacks the agility and real-time data processing capabilities of cloud solutions.

Choosing between cloud and traditional ERP involves weighing the pros and cons, particularly when it comes to costs, functionalities, and the future scalability of your business. This analysis aims to provide you with a clearer understanding of what each option offers, aiding your decision-making process.

Benefits of Transitioning to Cloud ERP

As businesses grapple with the evolving technological landscape, the benefits of cloud ERP become increasingly apparent. While traditional, on-premise solutions have their advantages, the cloud-based model offers a host of benefits that can address the modern business's more complex and fast-paced needs. 

Here are some of the compelling reasons to consider making the transition:


One of the most significant benefits of cloud ERP is cost efficiency. With no need for physical infrastructure or an in-house IT team for maintenance, businesses can significantly lower their initial and operational costs. 

Moreover, the subscription-based pricing model allows companies to pay only for what they use, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes.


Cloud ERP systems are more flexible, especially regarding accessibility and integration. Employees can access critical business information from anywhere, provided they have an internet connection. 

This flexibility is crucial for remote or distributed work environments, facilitating easier collaboration and quicker decision-making.


As your business grows, so too does the complexity of your operations. Cloud ERP solutions are inherently scalable, allowing you to add new functionalities or users without significant system overhauls. 

This adaptability ensures that the software grows with your business, mitigating the risk of future migration costs or compatibility issues.

Increased Productivity

Streamlined workflows, real-time analytics, and automation are features commonly found in cloud ERP systems. These functionalities contribute to increased productivity by reducing manual tasks and providing insightful data for better decision-making. 

Businesses can focus more on strategic tasks, leaving routine processes to be automated by the ERP system.

Transitioning to cloud ERP can be a strategic move for businesses looking to modernize their operations. The benefits range from cost-efficiency and flexibility to scalability and increased productivity, making it an appealing choice for companies striving for growth and efficiency.

Potential Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Person standing in a bear trap.

Transitioning to a cloud ERP solution is not without its challenges. While the benefits are numerous, there are also potential pitfalls that businesses should be aware of to ensure a smooth transition. 

Here's a rundown of some of these issues and how to avoid them.

Possible Issues During the Transition

  • Data Migration Challenges: Moving data from an on-premise ERP to a cloud-based system can be complex and prone to errors.
  • Cost Overruns: Although cloud ERP systems are generally cost-efficient, poor planning or unexpected issues can lead to budget overruns.
  • Change Management: Employees may resist the change, leading to slower adoption rates and reduced productivity during the transition period.
  • Security Concerns: Transitioning to a cloud-based system can raise questions about data security and compliance, especially for businesses in sensitive industries.
  • Downtime: As you transition, expect some downtime, which can affect your operations if not appropriately planned.

How to Prepare for a Smoother Transition

  • Thorough Planning: Create a detailed transition plan that includes timelines, responsibilities, and key milestones to keep the project on track.
  • Employee Training: Prepare your staff for the new system by providing comprehensive training. This will speed up the adoption rate and reduce resistance to change.
  • Pilot Testing: Before rolling out the new ERP system company-wide, conduct a pilot test to identify any bugs or issues you must address.
  • Consult with Experts: Consider hiring or consulting with experts who have experience in ERP transition projects. Their insights can help you avoid common pitfalls.
  • Data Backup: Ensure you have a backup of all your essential data before the transition starts. This serves as a safety net in case of data loss during the migration.
  • Security Measures: If security and compliance are concerns, work with your cloud ERP provider to ensure all necessary protocols and measures are in place.

Being aware of these potential pitfalls and how to avoid them can significantly improve the success rate of your ERP transition project. Preparation and planning are key to leveraging the full benefits that cloud-based ERP solutions offer.

A Roadmap for Transitioning to Cloud ERP

A roadmap for transitioning to cloud ERP

Successfully migrating from a traditional ERP system to a cloud-based solution requires careful planning and execution. Here's a step-by-step roadmap to guide you through this critical transition.

Planning and Preparation

  • Conduct a Needs Assessment: Analyze what you need from an ERP system and how a cloud-based solution can meet those needs.
  • Assemble a Transition Team: Include critical stakeholders, IT experts, and end-users for a holistic view of the requirements.
  • Choose the Right Vendor: Evaluate various ERP cloud services and select one that aligns best with your business needs and objectives.
  • Develop a Budget and Timeline: Outline the costs involved and set a realistic timeline for the transition.


  • Data Migration: Prepare your existing data for transfer. This may include cleaning up redundant data and ensuring it's in a format compatible with the new system.
  • System Configuration: Customize the cloud ERP solution to match your business processes and integrate it with other software tools you're using.
  • Pilot Testing: Roll out the new system to a limited set of users to gather feedback and identify any issues that need addressing.
  • Full Deployment: Once satisfied with the pilot phase, implement the solution across the organization.


  • Employee Training: Conduct extensive training sessions to familiarize your team with the new system.
  • Performance Assessment: Monitor key performance indicators to evaluate the system's effectiveness and identify any areas for improvement.


  • Ongoing Evaluation: Regularly assess the system's performance against predefined benchmarks to ensure it continues to meet business needs.
  • Security Audits: Perform routine security checks to ensure effective data protection measures.


  • Utilize Advanced Features: As your team gets more comfortable with the new system, explore advanced functionalities to improve your operations.
  • Regular Updates: Take advantage of ERP cloud services that offer automated updates that ensure your system always has the latest features and security protocols.

By following this roadmap, you can make the transition to a cloud-based ERP system seamless. Each stage is crucial for ensuring that the new system meets your immediate needs and offers scalability and optimization opportunities for the future.


The transition from traditional on-premise ERP to cloud-based ERP is more than just a technological switch; it's a strategic move that can significantly impact your business's efficiency, scalability, and long-term growth. 

While both systems have advantages and disadvantages, the current business landscape often demands the flexibility, cost-efficiency, and real-time capabilities of cloud ERP solutions.

However, the success of this transition relies heavily on meticulous planning, informed decision-making, and continuous optimization. 

By being aware of potential pitfalls and following a structured roadmap, businesses can set themselves up for a successful transition, reaping the numerous benefits of cloud ERP.

Are you considering making the switch to cloud ERP? Don't navigate this complex transition alone. Book a demo with Evosus today to discover how our state-of-the-art cloud ERP solutions can revolutionize the way you do business. 

We're here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your transition is smooth, efficient, and tailored to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Transitioning from traditional ERP to cloud-based ERP can be a complex journey with questions and sometimes misconceptions. To aid in making an informed decision, we've tackled some of the most commonly asked questions below.

What is traditional ERP?

Traditional ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, refers to software systems directly installed and run on hardware within an organization's premises. This usually involves a one-time investment and the ongoing need for an in-house IT staff to manage and troubleshoot the system.

What are the three major disadvantages of using cloud-based ERP systems?

The disadvantages of using cloud-based ERP systems primarily revolve around security concerns, especially since data is stored off-site. In addition, these systems are dependent on reliable internet connectivity for optimal functionality. Lastly, while cloud-based ERP offers a range of features, it may not be as customizable as its on-premise counterparts, posing limitations for specialized industries.

Why is cloud ERP better?

Cloud ERP has a clear edge over traditional ERP in several areas, such as cost-efficiency, scalability, and flexibility. These systems are generally easier to implement and require less maintenance. Also, their internet-based nature allows remote access, making them a fitting choice for today's dynamic business settings.

What is the difference between traditional and modern ERP systems?

Traditional ERP solutions are typically installed on-site and come with a substantial upfront investment in hardware and software. In contrast, modern, cloud-based ERP systems offer greater flexibility and scalability. They often operate on a subscription-based model, negating the need for a significant initial investment.

What are the three common types of ERP?

ERP solutions come in three main types: On-Premise ERP, which is installed and operated from a client's server; Cloud ERP, which is hosted on the vendor's cloud platform and accessed over the Internet; and Hybrid ERP, which combines elements of both on-premise and cloud solutions, providing more flexibility for data management and scalability.

What is cloud ERP with advantages and disadvantages?

Cloud ERP is hosted on a cloud computing platform and comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the positive side, it offers lower upfront costs, greater scalability, and easier maintenance. However, it's essential to note the potential for data security risks, the necessity of stable internet connectivity, and possible limitations on customization.


Dan McManus

Dan McManus, President and CEO of Evosus, is a seasoned technology executive with over 17 years of experience. His deep industry knowledge and strategic leadership make him a trusted authority on technology and software development trends, best practices, and innovations.