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Tourism Vancouver’s mission is to make the city of Vancouver “the most exciting, attractive and welcoming city in North America”. It’s a tremendous goal that the staff at Tourism Vancouver take very seriously! To accomplish it, the organization must operate at peak efficiency – there can’t be any bottlenecks or service disruptions, everything has to run smoothly.

Running an outdated version of an on-premise ERP system, Tourism Vancouver was looking to upgrade to gain some operational efficiency. That is when they contacted Catapult. While we, at Catapult, had extensive experience with the on-premise ERP system they had implemented, we weren’t sure it would effectively meet their needs moving forward. As Vancouverites and solution specialists, it was our mission to ensure that Tourism Vancouver could overcome the limitations of the old system with a modern ERP platform that could evolve with their needs and best support their ambitious mission.

On-Premise ERP versus Cloud ERP

With 60 full-time employees, 20 part-time & seasonal employees as well as 200 volunteers at Tourism Vancouver, the cost of software licensing had to be a consideration when evaluating whether to move forward with their on-premise ERP solution versus starting fresh with a cloud ERP solution.

Also,the ability to upgrade is different when comparing their on-premise ERP solution versus a new Cloud ERP solution, which could mean the difference between a month long upgrade or a day to upgrade.

However, other factors had to be considered with the legacy on-premise solution already well integrated with other systems and employees’ familiarity with the existing system. These factors needed to be weighed heavily before any decision could be made.

Here is how the factors stacked up:


Factor On-Premise ERP Cloud ERP
Licensing Costs Per User $$$$ $
Ease of Upgrading 🙁 🙂
Integrations MANY FEW
Staff Familiarity 🙂 🙁
New Technology to Improve Processes FEW MANY

The Case for Cloud ERP

As you can see, there were obviously advantages to both systems. It is common for many organizations to chase the sunk costs in an existing legacy system with additional investments – what is known as commitment bias. And sometimes, that is the best choice to make. However, in this case, it was obvious to the Catapult team that Tourism Vancouver would gain greater efficiency switching to a cloud-based ERP solution. Why?

Cloud ERP Licensing Cost

With 80 employees & 200 volunteers, Tourism Vancouver would have required significantly more software licenses to upgrade their existing on-premise solution and extend it’s functionality to new use cases, but as a non-profit this had to be affordable. The concurrent user licensing model of their existing ERP system made this a very expensive proposition.

Cloud ERP Ease of Upgrading

Tourism Vancouver is evolving at a rapid pace. They can’t afford system downtime or big distractions, especially when their staff doesn’t take the weekend off (so it goes in tourism). Simplifying upgrading moving forward was a good fit for this non-stop organization that didn’t require custom-built modifications to run their system.

Cloud ERP Expanded Features/Technologies

To become more productive and efficient, Tourism Vancouver needed to move manual business processes online, make systems accessible through mobile devices to their on-the-go staff, and further integrate their system with new business planning and forecasting systems.

With these requirements defined and the understanding that Tourism Vancouver’s existing on-premise solution would not meet their needs moving forward, we introduced a Cloud ERP solution, Acumatica.

Making the Move to Acumatica Cloud ERP

Introducing Tourism Vancouver to Acumatica meant the Catapult team needed to work closely with the Tourism Vancouver staff to learn all the processes and procedures that were in place so that they would be replicated on the new system accurately in order to minimize disruptions to the workforce. Not only that, but the data from the +1,000 members also had to be successfully migrated at the same time.

Acumatica Cloud ERP was an easy solution to recommend to Tourism Vancouver.” said Blair Hurlbut, ERP Solution Lead at Catapult. “The robust functionality, unlimited user licensing and straightforward upgrade model makes it very appealing from a total cost of ownership perspective. And for Tourism Vancouver, the ability to meet all the capabilities of the old system while opening up new opportunities for efficiency and bringing more business processes online is a huge win.”

Knowing that the release of Acumatica 6.0 was just around the corner was also a factor influencing Catapult’s recommending that Tourism Vancouver adopt the Cloud ERP solution, Acumatica. Version 6.0 delivers a number of important new features, including:

  • Advanced Dashboards & KPIs
  • Outlook Add-In Integration
  • Mobile ERP Applications
  • Multi-Language Interfaces
  • Streamlined A/P & A/R Processes

With Tourism Vancouver’s highly mobile workforce and demanding purchase order processes, they have already tested and flexed many of these great features.

“Adopting a new financial accounting system is never easy. Now that we have fully transitioned to Acumatica Cloud ERP, I am really looking forward to seeing what’s possible. I’m confident it is the right platform to bring efficiency and better reporting into our financial accounting operations,” said Irene Low, Controller for Tourism Vancouver.

The Importance of On-Premise ERP versus Cloud ERP

The situation that Tourism Vancouver faced, deciding between upgrading a legacy on-premise ERP solution or adopting a cloud ERP solution, is a common dilemma that many organizations face today. In the case of Tourism Vancouver, there were significant advantages to moving to a cloud ERP solution.

We are happy to support both on-premise ERP solutions as well as a cloud ERP solutions, as there remains in a need in the marketplace for both deployment models. The trend is moving rapidly in the direction of cloud as more organizations embrace the advantages and these systems evolve. There are still some cases, unique cases, where an on-premise solution may provide better flexibility or may be preferable. Recognizing this, Acumatica is available in both a full SaaS and on-premise flavors with the ability to transition easily between deployment models.

Jason Steblay of Acumatica says, ““Tourism Vancouver’s dilemma is all too common for midsize organizations who have been running an on-premise ERP system for 5-10 years. A missed upgrade here or there and the ERP is suddenly an organization-wide bottleneck. With Acumatica’s cloud delivery and unlimited user pricing model, Tourism Vancouver is spending more time helping people discover one of the world’s great cities.”

If you currently facing this dilemma of choosing between an On-Premise ERP or Cloud ERP, we’d love to help. We have been there with dozens of organizations to help assess, research and propose the best solution to move forward based on your unique business requirements and goals moving forward. Give us a call at 778-383-1090 or email erp@catapult.com.

If you’ve recently transitioned to a Cloud ERP solution, we’d love to hear about your experience. Please comment below.

Photo Credit: Tourism Vancouver

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