By Rahul Sharma and Nitesh Indar Jadhav, Accelalpha
With vastly improved network speeds, secure internet connections, a focus on reducing capital expenditures, and the new normal of working from home, cloud-based applications are the strong front runners for enterprise performance management solutions.
Users want to reduce error-prone, manual tasks and streamline IT-related activities to spend more time on their core business.
Oracle’s recent customer survey shows that 35% of planning activities are still dependent on spreadsheets. Organizations are focusing on an IT landscape that is leaner, with reduced infrastructure deployment and maintenance costs, and simpler, faster implementations. Oracle’s survey also found that over half of the organizations who implemented planning in the cloud said they had cut planning time per cycle, and 44% said they’d increased planning accuracy.
Functionality: Cloud solutions go above and beyond the on-prem applications to provide solutions that employ industry best practices, giving you an opportunity to rationalize existing FP&A processes. For example, Oracle Cloud EPM doesn’t simply duplicate the functionality of its on-premises predecessors—it exceeds it by continuously delivering innovation with monthly updates, providing new features that can be consumed without the need to upgrade..
Cost: The total cost of ownership is an important factor when choosing an EPM solution. Our experience shows that Cloud EPM is actually less expensive and covers every EPM requirement an organization may have.
Since Oracle Cloud EPM’s inception in 2014, thousands of organizations have implemented it and they vouch for Oracle’s robust security framework. Scalability is also a huge benefit; new cloud solutions allow for connections across the whole company, as well as fast hybrid on-premises-to-cloud connections.
Upfront investment costs: On-premises solutions require clients to set up infrastructure, bringing in installation and configuration expertise that adds to their up-front costs. Cloud, on the other hand, does not need this additional overhead as instances are available in a “ready-to-use” state.
Implementation time: Cloud instances, with their prebuilt modules and best practices, ensure that clients don’t need to custom build the application from the ground up. For example, the most common account hierarchies of P&L, balance sheet and cash flow—along with their inherent data flows—are already built into the system, so developers don’t need to spend time creating them. On-premises applications often require adding custom solutions, so business rules, logic, and even system design must be done from scratch. For example, the last version of the Oracle Hyperion planning on-premises solution (11.2) no longer offers workforce or capex planning modules, so these complex logic flows have to be built from scratch, adding to the implementation time.
Improvement to business processes: With pre-built modules that adhere to industry best practices, organizations can take the opportunity to analyze whether they can improve their processes. On-premises solutions are limited on this front, so organizations upgrading to the latest on-premises version will continue to work the same way as before.
Unified user experience: All Oracle Cloud applications, be it EPM, ERP or CX, offer the same user interface. Your employees get a unified experience across Oracle applications.
Maintenance: Oracle Cloud applications are updated several times a year, with the activity handled entirely by Oracle support. This means that you don’t have to worry about working on an outdated system, vulnerable to security threats or software bugs. The system is automatically backed up every day. This drastically reduces overhead maintenance costs for support personnel and hardware. In the case of an on-premises solution, the maintenance costs are higher because backup, upgrades and redundancies must all be provided by the client.
While many customers are at different stages of their EPM journey, cloud is scalable and modular in design, so you can start with one process and expand as you need. This differs from on-premises, where you would normally look at your end goal and purchase everything in a big bang approach: hardware requirements, 3rd party software licences, etc. Cloud allows you to start small and grow as your requirements grow. You don’t have to consider investing in more capital purchases (like servers in a data center) as you would in the on-premises world.
For organizations that have been using Oracle Hyperion on-premises for years, this is the right time to evaluate migration to the cloud. That is because EPM cloud applications have matured into a robust and more complete solution. With the experience they’ve gained from working with an on-premises EPM solution for so long, organizations know exactly what they need from EPM in the cloud.
For new entrants or organizations considering a move to the cloud, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to evaluate potential problems with their current business processes so it could be the right time to move to a more innovative and connected solution.
There are two ways to manage your cloud migration:
1. Big bang
This approach involves all solutions, stakeholders, and systems that need to be migrated right from the start, all in one go. This approach is recommended for small or medium-sized business or for current on-premises EPM users with relatively simple environments.
2. Step by step
This approach migrates existing on-premises applications to the cloud in stages, starting with the most straightforward solutions first. For example, modules like workforce planning can be moved into the cloud first and then you can advance to migrate more complex functions later, using pre-built integrations between on-premises applications and the cloud. This approach works well for large organizations with complex environments.
Accelalpha has helped clients with a tailored approach to cloud migration and enhancements for their on-premises environment. We provide these services based on our clients’ unique landscape, complexity, and strategic roadmap. Contact us today to discuss your EPM update or cloud migration.