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Cloud Computing: More IT Leaders Turn to SaaS ERP

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It's in the clouds It's in the clouds

As cloud-based business applications enter the mainstream, objections to using SaaS-based ERP software are fading fast.

In 2006, Epec Engineered Technologies found itself in a situation familiar to many in corporate IT. With a series of business acquisitions behind it, the New Bedford, Mass.-based manufacturer of printed circuit boards, battery packs and other electronic components needed to replace multiple ERP systems with a single platform capable of supporting the entire organization.

How Epec ultimately accomplished that task, however, was a bit more unusual at the time. Rather than standardize on one of its existing on-premise ERP applications or replace them all with a different locally-installed product, the company migrated everything onto a software-as-a-service (SaaS) system from NetSuite of San Mateo, Calif.

"We were probably taking a chance going with that type of solution five years ago," concedes Rob Forand, Epec's director of administration. But cloud-based ERP offerings like NetSuite's came with a key capability that on-site alternatives couldn't match.

Specifically, a cloud-based ERP system would support Epec's many remote employees. By choosing a SaaS ERP application, Epec could give all of them easy access to financial and inventory data from any device with a Web connection and a browser. "It was a good fit with our business model," Forand says.

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