I am a believer in the cloud with all of my heart and soul, especially after nearly 20 years of experiencing the challenges of on-premise Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) enterprise projects. I am also practical and realize that going from an on-premise environment to the cloud requires planning and work to move systems, data and processes. It is not magic.
While there is work to be done- and don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t- the good news is that your project to move to the cloud is not an overly difficult one. Once complete, this migration from your on-premise system lays a cloud foundation that will greatly simplify your future efforts to stay current.
On top of this, this project effort comes with the knowledge and confidence that many other organizations worldwide have successfully gone down this path before you.
The only real way to get started with your migration plan is to get started.
Getting started involves five critical project tasks:
Every company has processes, including those which are designed and documented with others that have evolved by chance and circumstance. Moving to the cloud doesn’t mean copying your on-premises processes but rather identifying processes important to your company and leveraging best practices to map the needed configurations. It takes time and often goes better and faster with an Oracle partner, but this investment helps inoculate your organization from “paving cow paths” and aligns your operations with the best processes.
Few companies have only one computer system and moving to a sophisticated and experienced cloud provider often still requires connections to other enterprise packages. Moving to the cloud is a great opportunity to inventory and understand all of your systems not just to define integration points but to rationalize their very existence.
Like process mapping, this is not a simple activity but when it is done with a sophisticated cloud provider you can save money in the long run by reducing redundancy because of your new cloud capabilities. You get to eliminate systems no longer needed. And through best practices you can align no longer needed third party systems to cloud products (which are already integrated with a common data schema). As a bonus, every system turned off is a solid ledger entry for cost savings across your enterprise that pays dividends year-after-year.
Enterprises run on data, and every year more data is collected and consumed to drive business decisions. Moving from your on-premises ERP requires a deep understanding of your existing data not just in terms of structure but also the age and cleanliness of all those bytes.
Here’s the good news. With archiving strategies companies only have to move a part of their data. And with automated data normalization tools for mapping and cleaning dirty data, which is often unstructured, the work to move your data from on-premise ERP to the cloud does not need to be an overwhelming task.
Perhaps it is a throwback to our school years, but nothing seems to scare ERP project managers as much as the idea of testing. And for good reason. With on-premise systems, testing is a bit like Halloween – scary, unknown and with drama lurking around every corner. With unit testing, integration testing, system testing, performance testing and load testing, it is no wonder on-premise ERP budgets often go underwater when projects enter testing phases.
With the cloud, as you deploy your solution, you typically need to just complete limited integration testing and only if you still need third party systems. The other testing is already resolved due to the nature of configuration and off site technology managed by your top-tier cloud provider.
Once deployed, new cloud users will typically need some training but it is mostly orientation rather than in-depth product knowledge transfer. Cloud ERP systems leverage modern software design that deliver Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google experiences across desktops, smartphones and tablets.
Using the innate abilities of today’s tech savvy employees, and coupled with the logic of Modern Best Practice, users learn quickly without spending endless hours trying to figure out old fashioned on-premises, heavily customized, ERP systems.
Unlike the advertiser that showed retail customers pushing an “easy” button, there is no similar button for moving from your on-premise system to the cloud. But working closely with your cloud partner and understanding the differences between on-premise and cloud ERP will greatly simplify your migration.
In my next post, I’m going to focus on the things that make CFOs and CEOs happy- cost savings. Going with the right cloud application allows you to eliminate major capital components and operational expenses.
As you can see, I’ve saved the bottom line for the bottom line!
For more detailed information on moving to the ERP Cloud read our new eBook, Your Complete Guide to Modern ERP.