Brewery Management Systems recap - Part 2

Part 2 of a 2 part series (Part 1)

In part one of this two-part article, we covered the benefits of a unified platform vs integrated solutions.  Continuing here in part two, we'll cover other considerations when you’re doing your search:

  • Cost
  • Ability to customize
  • Cloud-native vs Hosted Cloud

These three tend to go hand-in-hand.  The cheapest solutions are cookie-cutter, have an out-of-the-box approach and don’t allow customizations. It’s how those systems are able to keep the costs down. If you’re on a hosted cloud solution you are limited again to the customizations that are typically associated with on-premise system.  The dirty secret a lot of people don't realize is that hosted is really an on-premise system hosted at someone else’s site versus a multi-tenant data center. Think house vs apartment building. Cloud-native solutions are fully customizable, are hosted at a data center with multi-tenant architecture.  A Cloud-native solution could be more expensive initially, but result with a lower cost of ownership over time. For more information about hosted cloud vs cloud-native, please read here.

For some businesses, out-of-the-box may work, while others may need the flexibility to customize.  On-premise or hosted solutions begin cheaper, but in the long run will cost more when you consider the maintenance, upgrades and development expenses associated with customizations.  Hosted solutions will include hardware, databases as part of their services fees but will have additional consulting costs to administer and optimize. On-premise solutions will require you purchase things like hardware, databases, operating systems and often require one or more dedicated headcount to manage them.  Cloud-native solutions are the best, but will come at a higher upfront cost because they assume all responsibility for the running of the software, including maintenance, hardware, databases, upgrades, etc.. When comparing costs, you should include the costs associated with what it will take for you to support and manage the software over time.

Key questions to ask yourself when doing your due-diligence:

  • How big are our operations?
  • What are our growth plans for the next 5 years?
  • Are we a standard brewery operation, or do we have a unique business plan?
  • How much do we care about things like lot traceability and detailed inventory tracking?
  • Are spreadsheets and clipboards good enough for our size operation?
  • Do we want the system to do the analysis, or do we want to hire more people?
  • Will moving to the new system help us grow without hiring more people?

There’s a lot to consider when comparing systems. When you are ready, moving to a new system should help you grow your business and as you scale, help to automate, remove duplication, replace spreadsheets, giving you a Single Source of Truth. Allow you to concentrate on your core business and its growth.

Make sure you understand what you’re getting, and not just relying on what the brewery next door may or may not have researched before they made their system selection.

Fair comments made in this article are the opinion of its author.  Readers are encouraged to use this article as a basis for further research.