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  • Writer's pictureMark Herman

Looking to Cut Costs? Start by Eliminating ERP Licenses and Reducing Security Risks

Whenever we start talking about cutting costs in Manufacturing, the first topics to arise usually deal with Operational issues like Inventory Management, Labor Efficiencies, Non-Value Process Eliminations, Automation Efficiencies, and the list goes on. While these are all very valid and worthwhile areas to focus on, there is often an invisible area that’s eating away at budgets lying completely under the radar.

Today I want to quickly address three areas where hidden costs are generated which have a significant impact on IT budgets and pose huge risks to your company:

  1. Expensive ERP licenses for Executives, Salespeople, etc, who only log into your system to view data.

  2. Hardware and software costs required to maintain Firewalls, Terminal Services & VPN’s for external users who only need to view data.

  3. Labor costs and burden on IT staff to create, maintain and support these multiple access points and remote viewers.

Think about the amount of money you spend on ERP licenses for users who only log into your system to see Reports or Dashboards. How many of them actually don’t even do that? They have a license but never use it, instead, expecting the info to be emailed or printed for them. That’s a lot of money being spent for no value.

Worse yet, many of these users aren’t in the building so you have to create and maintain access points for them. Now, add the COVID lockdown into the mix and your IT staff quickly gets buried in extra work that takes them away from the tasks you’re actually paying them to perform. (How often does your Admin answer a late-night call because a user forgot to connect to the VPN before trying to open their RDP session?) More wasted money and increased frustration levels.

Overshadowing all of this is the potential security risk that each one of these access points creates for hackers or ransomware attacks. Just one of these incidents can easily cost your company tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, what to do? You can’t cut off these users’ access to data, correct? I can’t imagine too many Execs would take kindly to being told they’re a security risk.

One method to deal with these hidden costs is to change how this data is shared and accessed by your users. Moving away from one-to-one access for each user and implementing web-based data analytics is the answer many companies are utilizing today. Instead of providing user-specific versions of each report with dedicated access into your system for each user, companies are finding much more value (and security) in replicating their data to secure data warehouses and utilizing https connections for one-way access into user-configurable charts and dashboards.

Here’s a look at a typical setup for remote data users in use by most companies today:

As you can see, there are a lot of individual access points to maintain which all add up to significant costs. Each of these users requires an ERP license and has direct access into the data source which means all the processing burden for report generations is put directly on the production server. (We haven’t even talked about additional costs required for server capacity upgrades just to handle reporting burdens)

Oh, and one further point, all of this cost and burden is to view data from just one source.

Now, let’s take a look at the typical setup for a web-based data analytics platform. In this example, we’re using our product, Analogyx BI, for demonstration purposes.

Here, data can be pulled from multiple sources into a secure data warehouse via a single, one-way encrypted tunnel. The data sources are transformed into datasets with analytic modeling applied and presented to viewers with a large selection of visualizations and slice/dice capabilities over secure https connections. Users are never accessing the source database(s), so expensive ERP licenses are replaced by much lower-cost analytics licenses, and risks of data corruption, server burden, and security breaches by data viewers are eliminated.

The icing on the cake is that today’s analytics platforms, such as Analogyx BI, offer so much more than just historical reporting... But that’s a topic for a different day.

So, in summary, while the use of data analytics in Manufacturing is growing at almost 22% CAGR for many obvious reasons – expanded decision-making capabilities through trend analysis and forecasting, Operations cost-savings, reduced time-to-market, and the overall edge a company can gain on its competitors – its potential to reduce hidden costs and security risks related to licensing and access must not be overlooked.

To learn more about Analogyx BI and the myriad of ways it can help your company level up your data management, check out our ABI Role Call Series below or sign up for a Free Demo and 7 Day Trial here.

ABI Role Call series:

E1: Accounting Receivables

E2: Sales

E3: Production

E4: Executives

E5: Marketing

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