Not even sure what the "cloud" is? We've got you covered.
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Aspiring craft brewers are often stretched in numerous directions, running their businesses at warp speed. Even after a full day of production processes, there’s a ton of operational responsibilities to manage. Readily accessing information in real-time may be adding to the chaos if they’re using a combination of computer tools, paper, and/or white board collections to track their operations. This can quickly become unmanageable.
If this sounds familiar, it might be a good time to consider investing in a business management software solution — one system that manages how many products, batches, recipes, tasks, and inventory items your business has and uses. It’s actually not that complicated. But what can be complicated is the decision between choosing a cloud-based system or on-premise brewery software.
When something is stored “in the cloud,” it means that you gain access to it via the internet rather than through stored information on your computer. Think of the email, document sharing, or calendar service you use (e.g. Office 365, Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) — all your emails, appointments, and documents aren’t stored on your computer’s hard drive. That would take up a lot of space. Instead, that info is physically stored elsewhere and accessed by your computer via an internet connection. It helps your computer run faster because it’s not bogged down by all that data.
On-premise brewery software lives within your facility, on your owned computer systems and can only be accessed from specific computers. You buy the software and the hardware, and you run that system in-house including all the maintenance, upgrades, security and other ongoing needs.
With on-premise brewery software, you often have to pay for additional updates or new versions of the software. It’s a lot to manage, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team on site to handle issues with that hardware.
Cloud-based brewery software, on the other hand, is available any time on any device over the internet. It is regularly updated and your vendor takes care of security, storage, and overall maintenance without any extra effort or costs on your end.
Not all "cloud-based" brewery software is created equal. Some software providers will label their product cloud-based, but what they mean is that you use a VPN to connect your brewery's computers to the server the software is located on. While truly cloud-based solutions only require you to log in through a web browser to access your brewery's database, a VPN requires the extra steps of waiting for authentication and waiting for a connection to be established before you can access the information you need. In other words, the user experience with a VPN is less than ideal, so it's smart to ask your potential provider how their network is set up before you make a decision.
Now, what you came here for: below are some of the benefits of cloud-based brewery software.
As your business grows, and so does the amount of data you have, on-premises solutions require expensive hardware upgrades just to ensure you have enough storage space for your data. This is, of course, not ideal. If you expect significant growth any time in the next few years, a cloud-based solution will likely fit your team’s needs best as you can easily upgrade your software solution without having the hardware to go with it. Let the tech professionals handle the nitty gritty details.
With on-premises software, only devices that have physical access to the database will be able to work in the system — meaning your teams who are often on the road, like sales and delivery, will have to wait until they’re in the office to update the status of invoices, deliveries, payments, and more. This communication lag isn’t practical when the success of your business depends on each team having access to up-to-date critical information regarding the sales and production processes.
Basically any cloud-based brewery software you look at will have some sort of mobile app, but trust us when we say that not all apps are created equal. When you choose a company with an on-premises solution, understand that many of the features that you use in the desktop version of the platform may be unavailable on mobile or tablet devices due to how much data is required. It would take an extraordinary amount of storage space — and time — to load all features on phones or tablets that don’t access software via the cloud, so many of these apps will be “light” versions, or you may be required to download separate apps for all the functionality you’re used to.
How much do you know about managing servers? Is it in your budget to hire at least one dedicated IT professional to manage and troubleshoot IT-related issues for you? If not, an on-premises solutions is likely unwise for your team. When you’re busy managing your business or brewing beer, you don’t want to be pulled away to deal with computer issues. Save yourself the headache.
Do you already use other pieces of technology to help your team communicate and share information better? Cloud-based brewery software can be another (BIG!) piece of the puzzle that closes the gap among teams and helps your brewery’s processes operate seamlessly from day to day. Brewery favorites include:
Cloud-based brewery software that is safe, scalable, and user-friendly does exist — and you can get all the benefits we mentioned above when you partner with Ekos. At Ekos, we are committed to helping craft brewers in the U.S. and around the world make more beer with intuitive business management tools. Our proprietary brewery management software, Ekos Brewmaster, helps you optimize your inventory, production, sales, and accounting processes all in one easy-to-use system that is tailored to the needs of craft brewers. Each registered user on your team gets their own custom dashboard based on their specific role in your brewery. We work with you directly to get your team set up and ensure you feel comfortable using Ekos as part of your daily routine. Plus, with unlimited customer support and an expansive Knowledge Base filled with helpful instructional resources, we’re always here to help.
Looking for more helpful information? Get practical advice that will help you run your brewery more efficiently, produce more, and continue to succeed year after year with our free "Knowing the Guts of Your Craft Beer Business" PDF »