Moving an ERP, or legacy built client-server system, with 'old code', to a new code base of web services, web-enable functionality, and multi-tenancy [shared resources among many users]; entails careful thought, planning and cost-benefits calculation.
There are many benefits to Cloud-enabling your sales, field and remote workers. However, for most firms, there are enormous legacy investments including ERP, and Client-Server, which cannot be thrown away. In the real world of distributed computing, most companies will be deploying a Hybrid Cloud Computing Model, which integrates distributed computing with existing legacy systems.
In this scenario, some of the ERP or client-server modules stay within the on-site, or company hosted location. Other modules are cloud-enabled, connecting back to the legacy systems via a VPN.
The main advantage of this hybrid approach is its contained implementation and maintenance costs. It also allows a targeted approach to cloudifying new code and modules. Necessary migration of code is not easy, nor hassle free. Having a clear target – for sales, marketing, client management – makes calculating an ROI and managing the entire project, much easier.
Steps in migrating a legacy system to a hybrid cloud:
Identify what exactly, and why exactly, you want to cloudify
Cloudification should be enabled for sales, field, or remote workers
Make sure your legacy code is completely documented, understood and explained
Contract a Cloud Software Provider to help you with; a) migrating your code b) hosting the cloud module
Work with the Cloud Software Provider, to identify the proper code migration tools; a responsible and realistic manner to migrate the code; the intended web-services code; and the customization details of the ERP module to be cloudified.
Have the prototype Cloud ERP module built, tested, re-tested and then running in parallel with the ERP module, and properly connected to the existing legacy systems
Check and QA the test system ERP-Cloud module for quality and performance
At some point when thoroughly vetted turn the new ERP Cloud module 'on', and make the legacy system ERP module a historical data store
Confirm the ROI through a methodology which tracks benefits and costs – new sales, happier clients, more productivity, a decrease in Call Center personnel and costs; more orders and revenue processed etc.
An additional advantage worth mentioning is the service level agreement (SLA) with the Cloud Service Provider, which protects a company from various infrastructure risks.