Author: Teemu Lepola, Consulting Project Manager at Oracle
I have now seen several examples of projects where customers are moving towards SaaS Cloud with their applications such as ERP, EPM, and HCM. I would like to share some key points that you should consider when moving towards SaaS Cloud. These are beneficial for someone working as a Project Manager or Project Sponsor on the customer side, as well as on a general level for anyone participating on the project.
Application projects are always a chance to change the conventional ways of working. ERP projects, especially, should be treated more as a business-project than just an IT-project. When moving to cloud services and SaaS, it becomes important to have the ability to challenge old processes and requirements. Cloud ERP should be process-focused, not requirement-driven.
At least in Oracle ERP Cloud, there are some best practice for all modules and processes under them. These can be configured based on customer needs, but of course, within the limitations of the functionalities of the software. More complex process needs can be implemented with custom objects – integrations, extensions, custom reports – which can be built with Oracle PaaS Cloud Services. So do not worry if you have some mandatory functions that the standard does not support, however, with every exception you should think why you cannot go ahead with the standard process. If it works for other companies similar to yours, why not for you.
At Oracle, we have something that can help you to reconsider your processes – it is called Cloud Adoption Services.
One benefit of SaaS Cloud is that you do not have to worry about the infrastructure. The SaaS provider handles the updates, however, you should still know what is happening there. There are many activities happening on the Cloud side - patches, updates, and data refreshes from one environment to another.
During the project, the Project Manager of the provider side helps you with creating the Environment Plan, but you should quickly have some dedicated resource from your organization who is responsible for following the notifications, communicating the needed actions internally, and planning the updates and refreshes – Environment Manager as we call her/him.
Even though your SaaS service provider is handling the updates, you should have enough resources for testing at least the most important processes after the updates. New features presented in the updated versions are not implemented automatically, so you should make relevant test plans when considering the new features to use. In addition, the core processes should be tested after every update from end-to-end, to ensure that everything is working fine.
We are living in the year 2018 and moving forward automation is something that should be considered testing. There are many ways to implement testing automation for applications as well; we at Oracle can help you.
In every project, it is essential to have support from the top level. This kind of huge change project is probably doomed to fail if you do not have support, to drive the change from inside the organization. To make the change smoother and reduce the resistance within the organization, remember to create a clear communication plan and execute it accordingly. What, when, and why - if people know these simple things, it is easier for them to adapt to the change. Of course the SaaS provider is helping you with these plans as well, at least if you are working with Oracle Consulting.
Find out more about Oracle ERP and Oracle HCM customer stories: