By Olin West, Managing Director, KPMG Advisory
These days, it’s becoming much harder to find business leaders who question the validity of moving to the cloud. The cloud value proposition is just too compelling. Rather, the question has become: How do I do it? How do I manage the risk when I make this kind of change?
I’d like to propose the following five keys to a successful enterprise cloud deployment.
The way you work with your technology provider will change dramatically when you move to the cloud. Daily operational support will be different, with many responsibilities shifting to the cloud provider, so clients need to look at their vendor relationships more strategically. Ask yourself what you need in a long-term relationship with a business provider. How will you be able to evolve the system and add innovations for the future? This will require deeper levels of communication and partnership with your vendor. Consider how to structure the right type of relationship up front.
Oracle rolls out updates to its cloud applications 4 times a year. The ability to consume new features and enhancements is very different from an on-premises cycle, where upgrades might happen every few years. This requires a different of skill set on the part of your team. They need to understand the business and the implications of new functionality. If you are thinking about this during the testing phase of your implementation, it's too late; it must be planned before the project starts. This skill set may not exist within your IT support organization; more and more, we are seeing clients looking for a managed services partner that can provide both the business and technical skills required to consume new functionality with each release.
Based on the clients we work with at KPMG, I’ve found that one of the best ways to leverage a cloud solution is to lead with best practices. That means starting with the “to-be” state and skipping analysis around the “as-is.” Spending time on the “as-is” only serves to maintain customizations and legacy processes. Instead, aim for standardization on modern best practices.
In our solution-design sessions, for example, we’ll show clients what a truly world-class finance or HR organization looks like, and then ask: “Why can’t you do that too?” The future state is likely to look different from the footprint you have today. Some things to consider as you develop your roadmap:
This is easier said than done, but executing the basics well will pay big dividends in the future.
Governance – Complex multi-pillar enterprise deployments involve thousands of decisions, and some of them will be unpopular. To keep the deployment on track, you’ll need a solid governance structure with sensible procedures for escalating disagreements. The structure usually includes a governance committee that reviews requests for customization, among other things. Appointing a “transformation officer” to secure buy-in from business leaders and make the tough calls is always a good idea.
Change Management – Do you have an approach that will get users engaged and aligned around the business objectives? Make it clear, make it known, make it real, make it happen, make it stick.
Pick the Right Partner
While no means exhaustive, these recommendations should help most companies get on the right track to a successful multi-pillar cloud deployment.