The decision to implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution may seem overwhelming. And to choose the solution that's right for you, you'll need to weigh multiple factors. To help you begin the process of finding a solution that delivers ERP on your terms, we've launched a series of blog posts that will equip you with key questions to ask as you consider your options. In week one, the opening question was: "Will the ERP solution fit the way we work, or will we need to change our processes to run it?" You can read the full post here and catch up on the discussion via Twitter at #ERPONYOURTERMS. As this first question suggests, flexibility is a core component in the right solution. So here's a second question that drills deeper into a topic you are likely hearing a lot about these days: cloud versus on-premises deployments. Does the solution offer the flexibility to deploy both on-premises and in the cloud, or in some combination of each? Depending on your current and potential future business needs, both deployment models offer advantages. Cloud computing commands lots of attention today because it offers the potential for: Low start-up costs and short time to benefit. Low initial hardware requirements-which is appealing if capital is particularly tight. Simple software management, which can help you trim IT costs. The ability to quickly flex IT capacity to changing workloads or rapid growth, which lets you convert fixed expenses to variable. On the other hand, running your ERP on-premises offers its own potential advantages: Improved integration with other business software you're already running. Greater flexibility for customization if needed. Maintaining ownership of your data. Bottom line, what's best for other businesses might not be right for your business. As noted in an April 2011 report from Forrester Research, Inc., Vendors' cloud computing/SaaS models get the headlines, but hosting-again, dominated now by channel partners-is a leading model for Internet-based application delivery and consumption. Forrester's research concluded that customers' plans for the future are even more telling: 25% of customers indicate that they will deploy business applications in a private hosted environment, versus only 9% opting for a public hosted-environment deployment model. So if you decide that the cloud is right for your ERP solution, be sure to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of public cloud and private hosting providers-their stability, service offering, service level commitments, track record, customer service reputation, and more. In other words, don't let initial pricing alone lead your decision-making process. Why Microsoft Dynamics ERP? With Microsoft Dynamics ERP you have the flexibility to choose between on-premises deployment, a variety of cloud deployment offerings delivered through the Microsoft Dynamics partner channel, or a blend of both. Our commitment to "ERP on Your Terms" enables our customers to choose the deployment strategy that's right for their business and move between those options as needed. Microsoft believes that the combined strength of our proven product capabilities and flexible deployment models provides the best of both worlds. What are our customers saying? Don't just take our word for it. Check out the stories of four businesses with various deployment models that are turning their business visions into reality with the help of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. INFOMA: Software Company Helps Small Public-Sector Customers Meet Regulations with ERP System Mays Mission for the Handicapped: Nonprofit Generates Large Cost Savings, Focuses on Mission with ERP in the Cloud Amax Incorporated: Office Products Distributor Optimizes Finances with Easy-to-Implement ERP Solution Print Management Partners: Print Distributor Strengthens Customer Ties with Flexible ERP Solution Join us again next week for a new blog post, when we'll continue to look at deployment options by posing the question: What deployment model is best for my business? And in the meantime ... Register to attend the upcoming webcast: "ERP On-Premises or in the Cloud: What's Right for Your Business?" Until next week. Jen Dorsey  "Hosting Service Providers - Cloud Partners or Competitors?" Forrester Research, Inc., April 21, 2011.