Making your Move to the Cloud

By Steve Viarengo - Originally posted on Oracle for Midsize Companies

In business software today, Cloud based solutions are all the rage. While Cloud based business applications, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), have been around for more than a decade, there have never been more options for customers. There are solutions in the Cloud for almost any area of business need, from CRM to HCM to Supply Chain. The number of vendors with SaaS offerings has grown dramatically, with thousands of small as well as large software companies selling cloud-based solutions. 

As a small to midsized business, the promise of the Cloud can be very enticing.  Letting someone else host and manage the solution spares you the expense and burden of having to staff your own internal IT resources. According CedarCrestone’s 2012-2013 HR Systems Survey, deploying a SaaS solution requires 75% less staff to support than an on premise solution. Additionally, with many solutions you can subscribe and pay “by the drink,” only paying for the amount of the service you need and increasing or decreasing your subscription as your business changes. Moreover, you are also always on the latest version of the software, never having to worry about upgrades, backward compatibility or upgrading your hardware to support the latest version. Everything is managed and supported for you, just like your telecommunications or utilities.

However, the move to the Cloud understandably generates a number of questions and concerns. Common questions tend to be:

  • How do I know my data is secure with the vendor I choose?
  • Will Cloud solutions integrate and work with my existing applications and IT infrastructure?
  • How can I make sure I am getting the maximum ROI?
  • Is it better to go with a single vendor or piece together best of breed solutions?

Many, if not all, of these concerns can be addressed by selecting the right solution from the right provider. Selecting a SaaS solution from a vendor with robust and complete Cloud capabilities is crucial when moving to the Cloud. Critical things to look for when evaluating solutions and their providers are:

  • A clear picture of the vendor’s security model and hosting capabilities which includes:
    • The physical security of the data center
    • The network security that will block hackers and malicious parties
    • The application security that ensures your data and information is separate from other users
  • The integration capability of the solution. Well developed solutions have very well defined interfaces that allow you to:
    • Easily and quickly pull information out and push information into other solutions 
    • Use web services such as REST and SOAP to allow information to be easily callable via well know web standards
  • Quick, fast and easy implementation. 
  • Flexible and configurable to accommodate the special needs of your business without expensive customizations or waiting for a future release.
  • A vendor who can provide a broad but deep solution. Just like you are not likely to hire one gardener to mow the lawn, another to edge and another to cleanup after, you want one vendor who can provide you a complete service
  • Not required to manage many different logins, store data across different solutions, and navigate different support models

So while the leap into the Cloud can be daunting, the benefits are compelling and selecting the right partner with the right solution can make the difference between achieving your business goals and a painful crash landing!

Go here for more information on your move into the Cloud.

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Steve is the Vice President of Product Management for Oracle Taleo Business edition Cloud Service where he is responsible for product functionality, roadmap, strategy and product marketing activities. He has close to 20 years of software experience focusing in product management, strategy and business operations working for large organizations, various startups as well as successfully starting his own company.  Prior to coming to Oracle he was the VP and General manager of the Sports market at the Active Network where he managed a division with over 30,000 SMB customers.


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« March 2015