New technologies change the way businesses operate with startling regularity. New methods of performing tasks and directing operations spring up perennially, sweeping away the standard practices of yesterday.

But not all technology is simply replaced. As a recent discussion featured on Supply Chain Drive eludes to, some systems, like ERPs, actually benefit from new and powerful advancements. The article traces the evolution of ERPs, and how they have grown stronger and more capable with the onset of new technologies, particularly the cloud.

The proliferation of information and how that information is distributed via the cloud has left many systems obsolete, but has perfectly complemented the evolution of ERPs. Not only has the cloud enabled new useful ERP features for businesses, it had permitted universal access to critical data from anywhere in the world.

The cloud has been instrumental in augmenting the impact that ERPs have on modern businesses. As Paul Ferrell, senior VP of product marketing for NetSuite global business unit states, “The cloud is helping ERP fulfill its promise.”

ERP in the cloud is a far superior entity than iterations. Though all versions, even those dating back to the early 90s, offered businesses some value, each onset of new technology has boosted the value of ERPs rather than compromised them. The flexibility and configurability offered by the cloud has taken ERP solutions to a new apex.

The cloud’s impact on ERPs has not been limited to effectiveness. Indeed, the cloud has made ERPs more attainable, especially for small businesses. The implementation of an ERP once necessitated great expense, lengthy training and frequent rebuilds. “In the past,” says Farrell, “Once a company implemented after so much time and expense, they said, ‘we’re done.’ They wanted no new releases.”

But the cloud has reduced installation and operational costs. Now, substantial improvements are easy to implement and upgrades are easy to learn. “ERP software needs to be consumer oriented,” states Farrell. “They have to be able to work without much training,” and cannot interrupt user experience to any great extent.

The cloud has eliminated the need to choose between relying on a legacy system and reinventing complex operations each time an ERP becomes outdated. Now, reconfiguring and upgrading are quick and comparatively simple undertakings.

Thanks to the cloud, “ERP Companies can offer services, rather than projects to clients,” says Ricahrd Howells, VP of solutions management at SAP supply chain. What was once an expensive and esoteric tool is now simple and obtainable, and because of this shift, is more useful than ever.