While global ERP companies are still trying to find their way to the heart of a new generation of large businesses, Israeli Priority dares to lead with a blue & white SaaS version that fits customers like a glove. Priority, which caters to the ERP needs of businesses of all sizes, leverages the agility of a company that sticks close to its customers – local and overseas – and has swiftly met their demands of a cloud solution.

The competitive advantage of agility

“We were the first company in Israel to offer an ERP cloud solution, and the first to sign up 800 customers for cloud services”, says Andreas Richter, CEO of Priority Software. “In today’s world of software, providers are expected to make solutions accessible quickly and without wasting time on changes in work processes. Thanks to our quick adoption of new technologies, we’re also the first to support a hybrid SaaS environment, paving the way from on-premise to cloud without incurring licensing fees”.

“The advantages for customers are clear,” explains Richter, “First of all, attractive costs – no need for CAPEX investments and the OPEX is significantly lower because the system’s flexibility allows customers to decide on the number of users and types of modules. But more important, the solution replaces maintenance headaches with peace of mind. Cloud hosting ensures that software is always up-to date, freeing the IT department from on-going maintenance tasks and allowing it more time for building strategies, adopting technological innovations and implementing them. This is true as long as the provider is accessible to the customer and close enough to handle special situations or to develop local regulatory customizations”.

“Close cooperation with customers has helped us understand the concerns of IT managers regarding cloud migration. One of the main issues is that of losing control over different aspects of system management, such as upgrades”, says Andreas Richter. “Even though Priority upgrades (on-premise and hosted) are performed at the touch of a button, large companies that are bound by regulations are afraid of this process and prepare for it by strict backups and tests. Enterprises are not always interested in automatic upgrades and this may hold them back to a certain extent. The solution we offer some companies is moving to Priority in a private cloud in the initial stage. This way they can benefit from both worlds: On one hand they free themselves of maintenance responsibilities, but on the other hand they still have a reasonable amount of control.”

Another advantage of Priority is that its core activities and infrastructure is in Israel. Customers know that special regulatory or market requirements will be quickly addressed. “In principal, a company can serve customers all over the world from any location”, says Andreas Richter, “Even so, there are times when it is to our Israeli customers’ advantage that our infrastructure is here in Israel. Technically, it prevents latency and at times it is also psychologically significant. But most important, there really is someone to talk to”.

The CEO as “Head Technology Hunter”

Priority’s solutions to migration concerns allow CIOs to see their role in a new light. “CIOs must realize that their role has shifted from system maintenance manager to “Technology Hunter” and leader of innovation. When a CIO understands this, he will also understand that it pays for him to reduce existing system maintenance to a minimum in order to devote time to more important tasks. Moving the ERP system to Priority’s cloud, reduces a good part of the CIOs workload and promotes his ability to turn theoretical technological innovation into a reality.

When management doesn’t perceive the cloud concept as a threat to the current order, even veteran users realize that moving the ERP to a cloud is a good thing. Andreas Richter explains: “Over the past year, we saw an increase in even veteran customers who have moved to the cloud. This trend isn’t just at Priority. An international survey shows that 47% of companies who use ERP programs are planning to move the system to the cloud within the next five years. Their motives include aging infrastructures, the need for new functionality and business expansion. In general, businesses with many sites find that the cloud solution is a big help in IT management. In our market segment, we’re talking about thousands of customers that will definitely prefer Priority’s cloud to an adventure with a different provider”.

A hybrid solution for the indecisive

To help customers make a decision and follow through on it, Priority has made several of the cloud’s advantages accessible to customers with local hosting. For example, Priority users can enjoy an up-to date and intuitive experience from their browser interface irrelevant to the location of the data or system. For customers, the move from local to cloud-based Priority is almost transparent” says Richter. “Especially, if they make sure to use an updated version and they’re careful to use Priority’s SDK for software developments. The short process consists of backing up the customer’s environment and loading the system to the cloud. After receiving a URL, the user can immediately resume working from where he left off”.

The hybrid cloud approach is very popular among Enterprise customers, but some have found themselves in a trap. On-premise licenses are not valid in a public cloud. This creates the need for duplicate licenses and is a waste of money. This doesn’t happen to Priority customers. “Another area where we spearheaded solutions is adapting costing models to hybrid solutions. We allow customers (even those with local hosting) to rent the system and its modules on a monthly basis. This greatly reduces the customers’ initial investment and leads the way to moving activities, partially or fully, to the cloud at their convenience”. It’s no wonder that 800 Israeli companies are already smiling all the way to the cloud.

Translated and excerpted from Globes, IT Magazine, July 2015.