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How ERP software platforms have evolved from on-premise to cloud ERP

The focus for ERP platforms is evolving away from business, but how is this better? And if my business isn’t central to my business’s ERP, what’s driving my innovation and growth?

All great questions. Because, with all the excitement around changes in ERP software and platforms, it’s sometimes difficult to clearly understand how this evolution helps businesses. So what has changed and why is this actually exciting news for you? Let’s take a look.

ERP software in flux

Traditional manufacturing product-focused ERP software is becoming outdated. The pace of change has made managing technology harder than ever. This has led to people switching to the cloud for a more accessible, available, affordable and flexible solution.

But switching to the cloud is only the first step of your ERP’s evolution, it’s where it goes next that is getting everyone talking. 

The 3 stages of ERP platform evolution

We created an infographic to give you a quick overview of the evolution of ERP platforms.


The ERP platform’s origins were in-house and wholly-owned. These platforms offered highly personalized and reliable solutions for ERPs that were also expensive to run, update or replace. So how do you solve this and make your ERP platform more cost-effective and efficient?

Cloud for business: 

The cloud offered a wonderfully simple solution for businesses wanting to innovate their ERP’s. Giving them a more workable and cost-effective way to run their ERP. However, this approach simply focused on business process savings and efficiencies and lacked a broader, more strategic understanding of what the cloud’s power could offer ERPs.

Cloud for people: 

Businesses wanting to innovate are starting to realize the power a cloud ERP platform offers their people. Allowing for greater collaboration, integration and engagement. With the cloud helping businesses to develop better experiences across the board and helping organizations move beyond efficiencies and focus on real growth and innovation.

Benefits of the cloud for people

People Experience

Cloud ERPs offer flexibility and connectivity and put people at the heart of your solution. Transforming People Experiences at every stage and boosting productivity and efficiency through engagement and communication. Helping you personalize your People Experiences and services to the needs of the user.

Future thinking

Cloud ERPs help you future proof your ERP in a changing world. Aligning your solution with the needs and expectations of customers and users, while providing a scalable and adaptable platform for future growth.

Smarter thinking 

Evolving to a cloud for people lets you harness the tools of tomorrow that people will come to rely on, such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. Cloud for people ERPs give you the scope and functionality to instantly adapt to the demands of users and systems.

Services reimagined

Cloud for people thinking lets you reimagine what you do and how you do it. Giving you the flexibility to adapt, update and rethink your services for the modern user. Helping provide highly innovative and intuitive People Experiences. 

Powering people with data

The cloud for people also lets you focus how you use data and understand what your customers want. Giving you the power to truly investigate, understand and visualize all the data you collect. Putting data at the heart of your future.

The result

By evolving to focus on people, cloud ERPs have transformed how businesses work and will work in the future. People no longer simply want efficiencies from their ERP, they want innovations and opportunities. 

The cloud for people lets you make systems more intuitive for customers and staff alike. Coupled with a cloud solution that gives you unrivaled flexibility and usability in almost every area. Making the evolution to cloud ERPs undeniably powerful for business.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research has written a paper on how Unit4 pushes the ERP Platform to the next level.

Claus Jepsen

Claus Jepsen

Chief Technology Officer

I’ve been fascinated by technology since age 14: from my first Tandy TRS Model 1, through to developing cloud-based, super-scalable solutions and bringing innovative technologies such as AI, chatbots, and predictive analytics to ERP. We really can now have better, non-invasive and pervasive solutions — to improve People Experience and help us focus on what we truly love.

My spare time is spent with family and friends. I can often be found road biking to stay in shape, and I love experiencing different cultures through traveling.