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If you have not read the writing on the wall, cloud-based technologies and digital transformation initiatives are quickly becoming the focus for enterprises around the world. Providing more security, reliability, and mobility, cloud technologies simply provide too many benefits to ignore. However, their adoption is not always easy. As with any significant change at the organizational level, cloud ERP implementation challenges can stack up quickly. Here are the top 5 challenges in cloud ERP implementation and how you can address them before they impact your success.

Cloud ERP Implementation Challenges

While there are far more than five challenges that cloud ERP implementation may present an organization, these are what we have found to be the most common. Several of these challenges are compounded by the increased reliance on remote workforces and the inability to meet in-person due to environmental factors.

1. Change Management

While the age-old adage is nothing is certain but death and taxes, in business the only constant is change. For most people who are comfortably entrenched in the predictability of a routine, change can be a “four-letter word”. In most cases, change will be unsurprisingly met with resistance.

Change management will be one of your biggest hurdles in moving towards a complete cloud ERP solution from a system that was either previously on-prem or a hybrid deployment model of on-prem and cloud-based.

The easiest way to address the inherent resistance to change is to illustrate where things will improve. This is done not just by saying things will be new and modern. Show where those improvements will take place, the cost savings and gains in productivity that system users and the company can expect to reap.

2. Focus

The last several months have pretty much done away with the divide between work life and personal life for a significant portion of the global workforce. Transitioning to remote work from home has presented it’s own unique challenges for enterprises of every size.

The result has been a muddying of workhours, family obligations, selfcare, and a host of other responsibilities in one venue, without end.

The ability to focus on an implementation can be a challenge in the best conditions. In a completely remote environment, where distractions are abundant, maintaining focus will be a challenge that presents itself consistently.

To overcome distraction and maintain focus, set aside specific windows of time for core project components. It’s important for businesses be open to scheduling compromises with employees and their families when the lines blur between work and home. By compromising on specific project hours, there is a higher probability of remaining focused on the progress of your implementation project. The remaining work time can be more fluid as the separation of workday duties and household obligations continue to muddy.

3. Security

One of your project initiatives may be an effort to move towards heightened system security. This is a great feature of Cloud ERP. However, during the implementation phase, you may not have advanced security in place to maintain your sensitive data. This security becomes even more difficult to maintain between remote resources, like staff and their workstations.

Make it a point to understand the risks upfront. You can take on the challenge alone, hire on a consultant or work in tandem with your implementation partner to find the right protocol for your case. Simple step, like password protecting Wi-Fi connections, not allowing users other than staff to utilize on remote workstations are a necessary first layer of security.

Firewalls and network security software should follow. If you do not provide the hardware your staff will be working from while remote, you may want to consider doing so. A small investment in this area can result in big savings when you consider the alternative.

Lastly, have a plan in place, both documented and practices, with your staff. Make sure they understand the risks and the results of a security breach and demonstrate the protocol they are going to follow moving forward.

4. Access, Permissions and Productivity

Yeah, I know that’s three things but each build on the former to deliver a complete effort. So, in the interest of time and space, they’ve been combined.

Not everyone on your cloud ERP implementation project will need access to all components of your system. Working with IT to designate the proper permissions will be critical in ensuring that staff remain on task and don’t have an opportunity to ruin transitioning data, either by malice or mistake.

Provisioning web and mobile access may fit into this implementation scenario, too. If your staff have spotty connections based on their location, consider bolstering their coverage through their provider to ensure your project isn’t impeded by poor connectivity. This is usually as simple as flipping a switch on the provider’s end. This way, you won’t lose precious time in the event cloud cover conceals the satellite internet connection of your data analyst in rural Illinois.

5. Knowledge

When making the leap from on-prem and, in many cases, outdated data management systems, tribal knowledge and training will be integral as you move forward.

By relying on your most knowledgeable IT professionals and department heads to deliver their expertise during the cloud ERP implementation process, you have your top minds tackling your biggest challenge yet. However, there will be scenarios for which even they are not prepared. This is where training can be one of your biggest assets. Whether training is provided by your vendor or consultant of choice, or you have chosen to produce your own training plan, enabling your project staff with defined direction and knowledge will ensure their success.

Lack of familiarity with a new environment is sure to produce plenty of anxiety and opportunities for missteps. Proper planning can help to mitigate these pitfalls. Having an experienced and knowledgeable guide through the process can all but eliminate them entirely. That is because every implementation is different, and every company is different. With the experience of an implementation professional, there is is a wider breadth of experience to draw from in the event an obstacle presents itself.

There will inevitably be some unexpected challenges for even the most experienced vendors, VARs, and consultants to guide you through. However, doing your research and taking the time to get familiar with the nuances of cloud ERP implementation will impart the confidence and understanding any business needs to go through the project on their own.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

 


The article “7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Data Safe” was previously published by Epicor Chief Information Officer Rich Murr, here.

It’s challenging to understand how to keep your data safe and secure from hackers. Whether you’re moving your IT assets to the cloud, keeping them on-premises, or taking a hybrid approach, data security is a top concern.

Not everybody is an IT expert, so I’ve created a list of actions that even non-technologists can take to get started:

1) Simplify the Goal—Secure Your Data

Data security is like most other IT disciplines. It’s full of arcane acronyms, complex technologies, and thousands of vendors claiming they can help. All these factors can make it difficult to confidently assess risks and solutions.

Cut through the noise. Simplify your goal to:

  • Preventing  unauthorized users from accessing your data, or
  • If they do get access, being able to quickly detect and remove them

I’ve found that these two simple goals resonate with both technologists and business leaders. Filtering every security effort through this lens will get you off to a good start.

2) Find a Trusted Partner To Help Keep Your Data Safe

Wading through countless security risks and potential solutions is a daunting task. Find a trusted security partner to help. There are plenty of boutique firms ready to lend a hand. Some of the larger, enterprise-class security vendors also have credible resources you can tap.

Don’t hesitate to leverage your own network to help find experts—your peers likely face the very same challenges. Interview potential partners just as you would an employee—it’s a critical role and relationship.

So, how do you know if you’ve found a good match? If they can both explain your security risks in plain English and how potential solutions line up with the above goals, it’s a pretty good sign.

3) Don’t Install a Security Solution You Don’t Understand

The incentives to protect your data are extremely high. You may feel pressured to buy expensive solutions you don’t yet understand.

Spare yourself the headaches that come from ill-fitting and poorly implemented security solutions. Take the time to fully comprehend:

  • The problems they claim to resolve
  • How to successfully implement them
  • How to measure the solution’s efficacy once it’s in production

If you find a trusted partner, this task becomes a little easier.

4) Educate Your Employees on Their Role in Preventing Data Breaches

Employees are often the biggest security risk in an organization. Teach them how to spot phishing and other social engineering attacks. Education is one of the least expensive and most valuable data security measures you can take. Education is one of the least expensive and most valuable data security measures you can take.

Staying ahead of the hackers requires regularly refreshing employee security awareness training, making security awareness part of your staff training and development, and—ultimately—establishing clear, security-related goals for everyone.

5) Weave Security Into Your Daily Operations

Learn how to read the reports that your security vendors and systems generate. Make sure you know what actions to take based on the information they provide.

Walk around the office and ask your colleagues if they’ve received any suspicious emails. Ask your trusted partner (see #2 above) to teach your employees about some of the current top security threats and how to react to them.

Bottom line—do at least one very visible thing every single day to keep security top of mind in your organization.

6)   Identify Problems, Fix Them, and Confirm They’re Fixed

Once a security issue is brought to your attention, never leave it unexamined. Set a great example by taking each one seriously. Even simple issues like phishing emails can balloon into something very damaging if left unremedied. You should only check issues off your list of to-dos when you know for sure that the risk has been satisfactorily addressed.

7) Pin This Data Security Checklist in Your Office or Cube

It’s easy to lose sight of data security. You have a million things demanding your attention every day. Tie a string around your finger, put your watch on your other wrist, or better yet, print this list and tape it to your office or cube wall.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm, NetSuite Solution Provider, Suite Success Partner, and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


With so much news and industry coverage concerning information security challenges, the topic is one that is never far from people’s minds. This is especially true when sensitive financial information is being exchanged between systems. Maintaining the latest version of security tools in conjunction with these actions is essential not only for your customers’ peace of mind, but your company’s ability to maintain their confidence. TLS is one of the defining security protocols that make secure data transfer, and by proxy internet commerce, possible. Here’s a bit more background on the subject and why you should be considering making the latest upgrades to your system in order to be in compliance.

Transport Layer Security (TLS)

Transport Layer Security and HTTPS both work in tandem to encrypt the data being sent back and forth between customers and payment service providers such as credit card companies and digital wallets like PayPal.

Experiencing issues with payment processing? Upgrade your POS/PMS solution today and ensure you meet today’s Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) using TLS, and are able to process credit card payment without interruption. Not sure how to go about it? Contact Encompass Solutions experts to get your system up-to-date.

Using PayPal as an example, the payment service provider made a service-wide upgrade to TLS 1.2 just last month. The upgrade made it mandatory for businesses using the service maintain the same version to enact payment transactions through their business. This means support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 has been discontinued and businesses maintaining those versions will find their ability to use PayPal for payments and order processing no longer in effect.

On the client side, all it takes is a properly updated browser to ensure the latest TLS protocols are in place. Here is a breakdown of which browsers and their versions are following the latest TLS protocols:

On the provider-side things get trickier. Encompass works with many manufacturers utilizing Epicor ERP software, so we’ll use this as an example. However, any similar software or ERP platforms your business operates on will likely utilize the same protocols to protect electronic data exchanges. Therefore, the practical application remains the same. Businesses operating on legacy versions of the Epicor ERP platform, primarily those on 8.3 and prior, are most significantly impacted. With many of these businesses so far behind on technology, they’re quickly realizing the true cost of waiting until the problem is upon them, rather than staying ahead of the curve with regular updates. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a recent version of Epicor, and any other ERP product, for that very reason.

You may think that a current SSL certificate is enough, but this only addresses security when it comes to incoming web traffic to your server. You need an up-to-date protocol in place that addresses the connections your server is making to other services, such as credit card and other payment services providers.

Get Up To Speed And Avoid Downtime

To begin, take a good look at your Epicor ERP system. Is it version 10.X or above? That’s a tremendous step when it comes to ensuring you’re following alongside modern security standards. Maintaining the most up-to-date version of Epicor will ensure your operations are never compromised by changing industry standards. You’ll always be caught up with industry standards as long as you’ve got your business running on the latest version of Epicor.

If that’s not the case and you’re on an older version of Epicor, you may find your business quickly being outpaced by an industry in line with every effort to maintain the most modern standards of technology and security. Because industry and commerce are constantly at odds with malicious activity in a digital landscape, it’s important to maintain a framework that addresses those potential risks and places adequate security to obstruct their path.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Manufacturers are implementing technological advancements to enhance automation processes every day. We call this latest wave of rapid development Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. While modernization presents numerous opportunities for growth and process enhancement, experts are increasingly aware of their need for heightened security in an increasingly insecure digital landscape. Manufacturing and other industries are taking a closer look at cloud-based ERP and unified systems to address vulnerabilities.

IIoT Network Security Threats And How To Protect Operations

Over the last 10 years, system control integrators and industrial automation thought-leaders have sought to address what they’ve identified as the chief IIoT network security concerns. Manufacturing operations in the US and abroad have suffered a significant increase in disruption due to cyber threats and the trend appears to be steadily increasing. In 2013, of 257 total cybersecurity incidents, critical manufacturing comprised 15% of all attacks. That number rose by 12% in 2015, and another 6% to 33% of all incidents in 2015.

A picture of digital devices on a table connected through a chain of paper clips.

Manufacturing And Other Industries Are Taking A Closer Look At Cloud-Based ERP And Unified Systems To Address Vulnerabilities.

The proliferation of cyber-attacks, as evidenced in Triton, WannaCry, and Petya events, have left the executive suite on edge. According to a recent global survey, conducted as part of the Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report 2017/2018, 86% of executives put cybersecurity among their top anxieties, which the report refers to as a “new normal”. Seven in 10 of those surveyed in the manufacturing sector reported such an incident, either in the form of information/data theft, fraud, loss, or attack, has taken place within their operations over the last year. The report paid particular attention to organizations’ workforces, which routinely emerge as either paramount security assets or threats. This only highlights the importance of adopting comprehensive approaches to securing resources, equipment, and operational capabilities.

Cyber Arms Race: Cybersecurity IACS/IEC 62443-4-2 Certification

Among the reported incidents over the last 12 months, virus/worm infestations and email phishing scams topped the charts, at 36% and 33% of total incidents respectively. Examples of modern cyber threats, along with how they can be avoided, have been acknowledged by system integrators and cybersecurity professionals in a recent release of training resources from WoMaster, a networking and computing solution provider. Among the topics addressed are accidental unauthenticated access, common attacks experienced by system integrators, and intentional access by hackers who utilize specific skills and tools rank among the most critical concerns. Among these tools and skills are IP Source Guard, Dynamic ARP Inspection, DHCP Snooping, Denial of Service, and Distributed Denial Of Service exploits.

a picture of a hooded individual working at a desktop PC.

The Proliferation Of Cyber-Attacks, As Evidenced In Triton, Wannacry, And Petya Events, Have Left The Executive Suite On Edge.

The series seeks to educate critical manufacturing operators on the nuances of modern cybersecurity, the importance of adopting strict cybersecurity procedures, and conforming to the standards outlined in Cybersecurity IACS/IEC 62443-4-2 Certification. Such standards-based certifications offer economically efficient means of maintaining best practices when it comes to cybersecurity along with tangible benefits to operators and peace of mind for anyone whose data is stored in targeted digital systems.

How Cloud-based ERP Systems Address Security Expenses For SMEs

Cloud-based ERP systems are being relied upon by enterprises of every size more and more as time goes on.  Cloud-based security is perhaps one of the biggest topics surrounding the efficacy of modern ERP systems.

A picture of coworkers in a boardroom around a table.

SMEs Should Take Advantage Of This Highly-Secured Environment To Allow For More Focused Efforts On Growth.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which may not have had much experience with cloud-based software, are typically the most skeptical. This is not to say that security risks don’t exist in the cloud. Security risks are always present. Handling security issues for cloud-based ERP is a challenging and complex process, not to mention costly. However, Cloud ERP providers, such as Epicor and NetSuite, spend hundreds of millions of dollars erecting formidable security apparatuses and maintaining and updating these safeguards regularly. That said, large, international manufacturers tend to keep their ERP systems on premises, despite ERP providers offering high-level security for their cloud solutions. Solutions that SMEs are generally unable to implement themselves. As a result, it is advisable SMEs to take advantage of this highly-secured environment to allow for more focused efforts on growth. This way, SMEs can more readily compete in a marketplace where they are still considered the underdog.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Your operations are scaling nicely at HQ, but coordinating with remote resources and even inter-departmentally in real-time is proving to be a significant hurdle. Most of your team is in-house, while any number of employees can be out on the road, on the manufacturing facility floor, or logging in remotely. However, you need everyone connected and on the same page to be functioning at 100%. A robust ERP system fro the likes of Epicor keeps everything in the pipeline and within arm’s reach, but you’ll be pinned to the desktop when making any significant maneuvers that rely on data from your ERP systems.

Bezlio Offers Mobile ERP Solutions To Users On The Move

Developed by Bezlio in 2016 as a response to a workforce that is increasingly on the move, the platform grants remote and secure access to the crucial data you need to reference or readjust, from anywhere.

With an agile approach to utilizing resources remotely, Bezlio delivers a modern solution to operations that provides stability and agility in a constantly shifting environment. Keep your sales team, warehouse procedures, and audits in line and on point with live data your workforce can access on their mobile phones and tablets.

a picture of the Bezlio mobile platform logo

Bezlio is not just a fancy interface for mobile devices. It is exactly what you want it to be, with the capability to take shape according to your needs. Robust and detailed dashboards can be created for every department, putting the data employees and executives have to see right in front of them for a streamlined process from every angle. You gain essential insights from everything, including parts inventory and payroll sheets all the way out to the big picture with quarterly trends, annual projections, and beyond.

A Picture Of Bezlio ERP Sales Module Dashboards On Different Mobile and Desktop Devices.

Up And Running In A Fraction Of The Time

Compared to traditional ERP implementations, which can take months and even years to complete depending on the size of an operation, Bezlio can go from “in box” to “in action” in a day. Don’t know exactly what you want out of a dashboard or how to go about creating one? That’s OK: Bezlio has pre-made templates for your essential divisions to get them started straight away. Each template can be altered as you see fit. These exist for everything from sales to distribution, rapidly mobilizing your data for use in any direction the business day can take you.

Have existing software you need integrated? Bezlio already has direct compatibility with the most widely used enterprise tools. Plugins for Salesforce, Microsoft SQL Server, Epicor ERP, ODBC and Crystal Reports are already available.

Modern Security Without Compromise

Depending on who you’re talking to, ‘cloud’ can be considered a four-letter word. Security is on everyone’s mind, but with Bezlio you never have to compromise the integrity of your sensitive data when working in the cloud.

An infographic of Bezlio's security protocol and process

The platform utilizes a token-based entry system. Meaning, only those users, and their associated devices, that have been specifically granted access to the platform can access the data. Going further, admins can restrict exactly which subsets of data each user can access at any given time.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


‘The Cloud’ is more than just a buzzword these days, it’s an important tool for many companies. Yet like most emerging technologies, there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding–some of it valid, some of its exaggeration. Epicor has partnered with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Security technology to deploy ERP solutions to enterprises of every size, in the cloud.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Security

Adopting the Cloud can be a scary prospect–‘Storing files on the Cloud,’ basically means ‘Storing files on someone else’s computer’–but this infographic from Microsoft delivers the facts about Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Security. Check it out here.

“Microsoft’s focus on the ‘Intelligent Cloud’ and ‘Intelligent Edge’ complement our customer-centric focus. We looked at several public cloud options. Microsoft Azure offers the best foundation for building and deploying enterprise business applications that will enable our customers’ businesses to adapt and grow. Today, we are seeing more than three-quarters of prospects ask about cloud ERP. As that deployment model becomes the norm, we are ready to enable our customers to move to the cloud with confidence leveraging the reliability, security, and scalability of Microsoft Azure.”

Steve Murphy, CEO, Epicor

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Security

Epicor and Microsoft forged their partnership in the cloud earlier this year and announced the union at Insights, Epicor’s annual event. The move comes as an effort to standardize cloud deployment of its Epicor ERP and Epicor® Prophet 21® enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites on the Microsoft Azure framework. This will empower customers to more quickly drive growth and innovate as they move to digitally transform their business.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.