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What is Cloud Washing? How to be Sure You’re Buying a True Cloud ERP

woman washing window on cloudy day

Written by Laura Schomaker

February 7, 2019

So, you’re thinking you no longer want the hassle of maintaining the hardware and IT infrastructure needed to run your legacy ERP? You are not alone. Considering cloud ERPs offer the same capabilities without all the management hassle and oversight, it is no wonder they’re so popular.

With the business opportunity the cloud brought to ERP vendors, it’s no surprise that each one of them would want to offer its own cloud product. However, not all cloud ERPs are created equal. Some legacy ERP vendors have used cloud washing as a way of repackaging their solutions. Basically, they make the software accessible on servers owned they or a third-party hosting company owns.

While both true cloud systems and those retrofitted to the cloud with cloud washing free you from having to buy and maintain your own servers, there are some important differences to consider when deciding which one is best for you.

Cloud Washing vs. True Cloud ERP

  • Cloud washed legacy ERPs were written by their vendors many years ago using coding languages which are quickly becoming outdated. So, customizing them to meet your needs will only become harder and more costly as trained developers become scarce. By contrast, many true cloud vendors write their ERP systems using HTML and other commonly known languages.
  • One of the main reasons cloud ERPs have become so popular is that they are available on any Internet connected device. However, sometimes even after cloud washing, legacy systems fall short of delivering on this promise. They require the user have specialized software on their device to gain access.
  • Most true cloud ERPs offer open APIs, which means a developer can easily connect it with many other complementary tools. Even with cloud washing, many legacy ERPs rely on proprietary tools developed by the vendor to connect with other systems. So, building these connections requires specialized expertise.
  • True cloud ERP designers build their solutions from the ground up to live in the cloud. So, these vendors put a great deal of money and effort into understanding the best ways to maintain, manage and host their software across hundreds of servers with multiple levels of data redundancy. It is this special expertise which helps to ensure users have virtually uninterrupted, instantaneous access to their software. Legacy ERP vendors who simply cloud wash their existing software must play catch up in understanding how best to deal with these issues.

For these reasons, even after cloud washing, legacy ERPs are often more expensive in the long run than their true cloud counterparts.


Dig Deeper Into Cloud Washing


If you’re in the market for a new ERP and want to make the switch to the cloud, how do you tell the difference between true cloud solutions and those trying to fool you with cloud washing? Doing your research is key. If you’d like to learn more, check out the white paper, “True Cloud Versus Fake Cloud.” It explains eight full proof ways to tell if the ERP you’re looking at is a true cloud solution or not.



Though Acumatica originally wrote it for the manufacturing industry, the advice it offers applies to any organization looking to move its ERP to the cloud.

Want to learn more about some of the most popular ERP systems on the market today? Visit this webpage. Should you need help to decide which is best for your business, contact us. Our experts have been matching businesses with the technology they need to succeed for nearly 3 decades.

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