Every organization is unique, and so is every cloud migration project. The project scope, timeline, and expense involved can vary widely depending on the size of the organization, how many geographies it operates in, how many applications are being implemented, and how many lines of business are being affected.
Upon first glance, a cloud migration project can seem like a daunting process, but when organizations are armed with the proper knowledge, fear quickly turns to confidence.
I host the Partner Perspectives Podcast, a series that features interviews with leaders at the most trusted consulting firms in the world. They give the inside scoop on enterprises who have successfully moved to the cloud, providing best practices and advice along the way to help demystify the cloud migration journey.
During each podcast episode, we ask our Oracle partners if they have any advice for customers looking to transition to the cloud. Season 1 of the podcast has just concluded, and we are excited for season 2. Here are the top five most-often recommended pieces of advice that they’ve given our audience.
There is one common theme I hear consistently among the guests I interview on the podcast: the cloud migration journey is a three-sided partnership requiring active participation by all three parties at all times.
“If you think of a project as a stool, the stool has three legs,” says Edward Roske, CEO of ArganoInterRel. “One of those is definitely the customer; they're paying for the stool, and they have all of their needs. There's an implementation partner: someone has to take the customer's needs and figure out how to implement it. But a huge portion of that stool is the software. It's the vendor. It's picking the right solution.” For example, Roske worked with Humana to implement Oracle Cloud EPM Financial Consolidation and Close. He says the customer chose Oracle to streamline consolidations and reporting, helping them onboard acquired companies more easily.
“The advice that I'd give anyone about embarking on a similar journey is to truly embrace the one team approach,” says Richard Clayton, managed services director at Namos Solutions. “We're trying to realize what's best in the long run, not the here and now. Pull in the same direction at the same time, and that's what yields the best results.”
When all parties involved trust each other and communicate regularly, projects have a much higher likelihood of being completed on time and on budget. Clayton gives the example of University of Greenwich, who implemented Oracle Cloud HCM. For that project, Clayton says, all the teams were tightly aligned on the end goals, which were to streamline HR business processes, give staff anytime, anywhere access to accurate and consistent information, and give employees access to career development and management opportunities with Oracle’s talent solutions.
It may sound like a cliché, but communication is critical, especially for organizations undergoing the cloud migration and change management process. The more informed your users and stakeholders are, the better. Employees are naturally resistant to change, but if they are informed, included, and made to feel a part of that change, they are more likely to embrace it.
“I think from a transformation standpoint, it’s very important to create the excitement for change within the organization,” says Duygu Becermen, senior manager at PwC. “This shouldn't feel like something that is being done to the people, to the employees. We ask our clients to get their people involved and delegate authority to influence and design that change. People adopt what they create.” PwC worked with Direct Line Group to implement Oracle Cloud ERP and EPM. Collaborating with stakeholders throughout the project helped them deliver a multi-release finance transformation on time and on budget.
Implementing cloud applications is more than just an IT project. It’s an investment in your employees and the future of your business. When making an investment of this scope, it’s important for business leaders to examine all the potential areas of the business that need to be addressed, not just the most obvious ones. Too many organizations have the wrong approach when moving to cloud, resulting in missed opportunities.
“For companies who are considering a move to the cloud, treat it as more than just a technology project,” says Adam Pitt-Stanley, management consultant at PwC. “Treat it as more than just a technical upgrade. It's an opportunity to truly transform your business, to transform your end-to-end processes. So, I would say, be, be ambitious and be bold and be brave, and really go for it. Because once you're up on the cloud, then you'll continuously improve.” Continuous innovation is one of the reasons our partners recommend Oracle Cloud ERP: we add new capabilities and features every 90 days, so the customer can continually improve and innovate.
Cloud implementation projects can seem intimidating upon first glance, but setting goals and KPIs up front is key. Establishing a clear timeline, goals, and roadmap is a prerequisite for a successful project.
“It's important to know exactly what success means for your business,” says Grazielle Sbardelotto, VP of Pmweb. “What KPIs will you measure to make sure your efforts are heading in the right direction?” Brazilian healthcare company dr. consulta deployed Oracle Responsys Campaign Management to improve communication with patients and realized increased revenue by 20 percent.
“These programs can seem daunting. However, there's a lot of payback in the end,” says Walter Reinoehl, managing director at KPMG. “The ability to have a single view of your business, the ability to plan for and execute across multiple lines of business, and across multiple geographies and areas of the globe can pay huge dividends. Whether it's a small program or a large program, the benefits of the payback can be significant.” Reinoehl discusses how his team took Hormel Foods through one of the largest Oracle Cloud back-office transformations in a Fortune 500 organization. Hormel was able redesign their finance and supply chain functions to automate the financial close, gain intelligent forecasting and integrated supply chain planning, and create a single source of truth for decision making.
Roske advises testing as early as possible in the process. “Do stress testing. Do load time. Understand what your windows are at the very beginning of the project. Definitely make sure you're working through the technical logistical side as early on the project as you can.” While working with Humana, stress testing helped the ArganoInterRel team see how large volumes of data would affect load times and prepare Humana’s systems to deliver more power and speed.
Armed with proper knowledge and resources from Oracle’s experienced partners, organizations can move to the cloud with confidence, following proven best practices.
With a focus on innovation and results, Susan Aumack is a marketing leader at Oracle. Currently she manages marketing initiatives focused on Oracle’s global partner communities. Over her 20+ year career at Oracle, she has led various global teams and implemented award-winning marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Oracle, Susan worked at several prominent Silicon Valley companies, including Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer.
Outside of her professional work, Susan actively strives to make a positive difference in the lives of women and children. She is a mentor in ASU’s Thunderbird for Good’s Project Artemis program and an advisor / past president of Afghan Friends Network, a non-profit organization that delivers sustainable programs to empower Afghans, enabling thousands of Afghan women and children to learn to read, graduate high school and go on to university.
Susan holds an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University and a BA from the College of New Jersey.