By Manuel Pumarada, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Multi-tenant vs. single-instance ERP? What exactly is the difference? And, more importantly, why should a system user care?
In a recent report by the Mint Jutras research-based consulting firm, 57 percent of manufacturing companies admitted to not understanding the difference between multi-tenant and single-instance solutions.
Plex Systems has been providing our multi-tenant Plex Online SaaS, or Cloud, ERP solution to manufacturers for more than a decade. Hundreds of manufacturers have benefitted from our multi-tenant model, which we – and they – see as necessary for a true SaaS model.
So it’s troubling that more than half of manufacturers don’t understand the model – and equally troubling that some members of trade media recently lauded Epicor’s multi-tenant SaaS ERP solution as the first such solution for manufacturers.
True SaaS applications must be delivered from a “multi-tenant” system, which means that there is a single instance of the software running and multiple companies use this system as if it were dedicated to their own use. Each company has its own configurations and customizations. It can choose among the available set of Plex Online functions to tailor the solution to meet its exact needs, and then add more functionality later as its needs evolve.
Only multi-tenant systems can deliver the long-term advantages of the SaaS model. These advantages include ongoing enhancements, ease of implementation and ease of expansion.
With true (multi-tenant) SaaS, system enhancements and new functionalities can be introduced constantly. As ongoing improvements, those are immediately in place for all users. New functions and features are made available as options to users, not forced upon them. Customers choose when to upgrade to the new features that they want.
This “living system” approach replaces the traditional version release schedule (version 1.0, 2.0, etc.). So, with true SaaS, users are never faced with cumbersome, time-consuming, sometimes cost-prohibitive system upgrades. They are always using the most up-to-date version of the software.
The final advantage of the true multi-tenant SaaS model is the ease with which the system is launched and expanded to new sites. Plex Online customers have been able to achieve pain-free implementations and launches within just months. For example, Inteva Products launched Plex Online smoothly in 14 global locations, for 1,200 users, in under 12 months.
As manufacturing enterprises expand, they can easily add additional sites and users. Shape Corp. is one of many Plex Online users that implemented the system several years ago and continued to add new sites over time. Its IT director continues to communicate that they are pleased with the long-term benefits of Plex Online; adding new sites is simple, with virtually no business disruption.
In today’s manufacturing environment it is smart to ensure that new software products meet all the requirements of a true multi-tenant SaaS solution. Well done, Epicor. As Plex Online customers can attest through a decade of experience, a multi-tenant solution brings long-term strategic benefits.