This post was contributed by Hitachi Consulting.
It seems like whenever a business decides to move finance to the cloud, people inevitably raise questions about connectivity. Will they still be able to connect to applications and data that were left on premise? What about third-party apps, specialized homegrown apps, or apps that run in their own separate cloud? How hard will it be to plug those into a cloud-based financial system?
As a technology and business consultant who has worked on dozens of Oracle Cloud ERP projects, my short answer is—relax. Modern cloud finance solutions—and Oracle Financials Cloud, in particular—allow you to connect to anything, across every part of the business and beyond. This includes legacy on-premises systems, other clouds, third-party apps, mobile and social platforms, and even the Internet of Things.
I’ve found that you can approach your move to “connected ERP” in two ways. One is to adopt a unified suite of applications that inherently provides a single repository for your trusted data. The other is to use cloud platform tools and services to bring together a complete picture of your enterprise and synchronize critical business data to enable real time analytics.
Oracle PaaS tools are great for enabling hybrid or co-existence models where companies choose to maintain on-prem applications alongside a cloud ERP or other cloud applications. At Hitachi Consulting, we frequently use Oracle Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) products, such as Oracle Integration Cloud Service and Process Cloud Service, to simplify the job of connecting systems to Oracle ERP Cloud and allow clients to maximize re-use of existing IT investments and assets.
For example, let’s say you decided to maintain an on-premises system that creates purchase orders. Using Oracle Integration Cloud Service, you can easily create a connection that seamlessly passes the required information to the cloud financials application. And with Oracle ERP Cloud, all the integration points are governed by centralized role-based access controls, so security is never an issue and you get the peace of mind that those connecting only see what they are supposed to.
One of the best things about Integration Cloud Service and Process Cloud Service is the intuitive, wizard-based user interfaces that allow non-technical “citizen developers” to integrate systems and design business processes without writing a lot of code. In addition, using Oracle Developer Cloud Service, companies can develop apps faster than traditional methods and at significantly lower cost.
The connections don’t stop there. With Oracle Cloud ERP, you can connect to employees anywhere on their mobile device and simplify mobile app creation. Now employees can request travel funds from the smartphone, and collaborate and share documents more easily when crunched for time, such as during financial closes. Analytics and reporting are all connected in the cloud, as well.
The newest frontier in connectivity is the Internet of Things, and I expect to see more and more companies linking their Cloud ERP platforms to IoT platforms, and reaping significant benefits in the process. For example, sensors on trucks could detect damaged goods in transit and order replacements before reaching their destination. Connecting that data to the ERP would also speed financial claims and write-offs.
Guiding You to the Cloud
Of course, ensuring connectivity in the cloud doesn’t come without a few challenges, especially if you’re a large, complex, geographically dispersed business. That’s where an experienced consultant can help guide you through the ins and outs of the process.
In my experience, there’re a lot of ways to “do cloud” and Oracle just does cloud the best. With Oracle Cloud ERP, you’ll get more control over your data, and more flexibility when rolling out system updates and upgrades. Plus, Oracle has been in ERP for so long that they’ve gained the wisdom and vision to give you exactly what your business needs to be successful.
The challenge often becomes determining what parts of your business should move to the cloud first. Hitachi Consulting can guide you through the first journey into the cloud and help you draw a roadmap to realize the benefits of connecting your ERP to each part of your business.
Hitachi Consulting can leverage proprietary utilities such as our Oracle Cloud Migration Tool and battle-tested HFusion methodology to help you chart a course to the cloud and navigate your organization through to a connected ERP.
Still worried about connecting to your financials cloud? Don’t be. With the right Cloud ERP platform, a modern integration skillset, and solid guidance behind you, you can interface anything to your financials and start to reap the benefits of a modern Connected Cloud.