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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How to Start Your Move to EPM in the Cloud

Guest Author

By Bobby Ellis, Global Practice Lead – EPM, Datavail

Last month, Oracle published its annual EPM Top Trends Report. Among the major findings: organizations are moving enterprise performance management to the cloud in record numbers—in large part to avoid upgrading their on-premises systems. In fact, “Avoiding on-premises upgrades” is now the top reason for moving EPM to the cloud, cited by 48% of respondents.

Organizations that make the move are realizing significant benefits, including the ability to leapfrog competitors that are still wedded to inefficient spreadsheet-based processes. Yet there are still organizations that are clinging to their on-premises EPM systems—partly because they aren’t sure where to start when moving to the cloud.

Best Practices for EPM Cloud Migrations

After performing hundreds of Oracle upgrades and migrations for our customers at Datavail, we'd like to think that we know a few things about the best way to go about a cloud migration. Here's a few of our top suggestions:

  • Get help: You're never alone in the move to the cloud. If you have questions, consult your migration partner, your cloud provider, or your industry contacts. The cloud products evolve rapidly and you need a partner who keeps up with the changes.
  • Think long-term: Although the move itself is a significant undertaking, you also need to consider what the post-migration landscape will look like in terms of technical administration and support. Ask questions like, “Who will perform routine administration tasks?”
  • Prepare for change management: It’s a refrain we hear over and over again: the biggest adjustment with the cloud is that it’s updated several times per year by the provider. While this offers significant advantages—including immediate access to the latest innovations, technology and best practices—it’s also a huge change for your staff. Maintain constant communications with your users and your IT teams, to help them adjust to new ways of working. Take time to read through release notes and perform testing before you put the next release into production.

Let’s look at a few case studies of companies that have successfully migrated from their on-premises systems to Oracle EPM Cloud.

Data Analytics Company Moves from Hyperion to Oracle EPM Cloud

One of our clients, a data analytics company that helps consumers better understand their financial situation, was already using a 5-year-old installation of Hyperion. Roughly 25 employees were using the deployment, which included heavy utilization of the workforce planning module.

What are the top trends in EPM? Get the report.

The client knew that it would have to upgrade soon to continue receiving Oracle Premier Support. With a migration on the horizon, the client also decided that it would switch from Hyperion on-premises to Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud.

Datavail worked with the client on a 3-month migration project, leveraging the client's existing on-premises applications. The client was able to realize all the traditional benefits of a cloud migration: lower IT support costs, mobile access, and automatic patches. In addition, the client realized additional benefits, including an improved user experience, faster calculation times, and access to more granular detail for variance analysis.

From Spreadsheets to EPM Cloud: Energy Corporation

Another of Datavail's clients, an east coast power and energy company, saw even more dramatic improvements by switching to Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud. Before the migration, the client was using a manual Excel-based process managed by a single person. This individual was responsible for not only preparing Excel templates for two dozen department heads, but also receiving and aggregating the results.

By moving to Oracle EPM Cloud, the client hoped to avoid the standard woes of Excel-based processes: wasted time, lack of standardization, and limited reporting capabilities. The client also wanted to take advantage of the positive aspects of the cloud, including less physical infrastructure and fewer upfront costs.

The client approached Datavail for a 2-month migration project. Once the upgrade was finished, the client saw major gains in their process efficiency, exactly as they had hoped. Users could enter information directly into the system and automatically aggregate it, without the need for manual data processing. These improvements to efficiency also freed up more time to analyze and gain insights from the data.

How to Start the Journey

The prospect of moving from on-premises to the cloud can seem daunting, leaving one wondering where to start. You may take comfort in knowing that others have gone before you and benefit from their collective experience. Based on our experience with helping dozens of clients make the transition, we offer the following initial steps to help your organization get started:

  • Engage a Trusted Advisor. From SaaS to PaaS to IaaS, navigating the myriad options when it comes to the cloud can be overwhelming. Partnering with a trusted adviser, who understands the cloud landscape, is critical to a successful cloud migration.
  • Establish a Roadmap. Developing a roadmap for moving your on-premises applications to the cloud is an important part of any cloud strategy. Understanding the impacts to upstream and downstream systems and related considerations is important when deciding which applications to migrate first.
  • Choose the Right Solution. With the number of cloud offerings available, it can be difficult to identify the right one to replace your existing on-premises software. Requesting demos or proofs-of-concept is an effective way to help you understand which offerings may be a good fit.
  • Get Started. The most difficult step in migrating to the cloud is often the first one. Spending too much time deliberating without acting only delays the numerous benefits your organization can reap from moving to the cloud.

With benefits including better scalability, higher performance and lower costs, cloud-based computing has become the norm for organizations of all sizes and industries. Indeed, many of the capabilities in Oracle EPM Cloud are now more robust and feature-rich than their on-premises equivalents.

Let Us Help

Interested in leveraging the benefits of Oracle EPM Cloud for your own organization? We can assist with everything from roadmap development to post-go-live support, including automated regression testing for regular updates. Contact Datavail today for a free consultation about your business needs and objectives so we can help you along the way.

Learn more about EPM trends in our annual report.

 

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