By Corey West, Oracle Executive Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer
As enterprise leaders contemplate moving traditional on-premises applications to the cloud, one of the key questions they must answer is, “Where do we start?” The instinct of many executives is to first send general business applications, such as email or file-sharing platforms, to the cloud, while keeping mission-critical platforms, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, on premises. I understand the desire to move carefully, but I respectfully urge leaders to consider a different approach: go bold.
By moving ERP financial operations to the cloud, enterprises reap a variety of near-term benefits and set the stage for ongoing improvements that capitalize on the cloud-based ERP foundation. I know, because I’ve been closely involved with Oracle’s decision to run its entire global enterprise on Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud (Oracle ERP Cloud).
I respectfully urge leaders to consider a different approach: go bold.”
What benefits is Oracle seeing from the move? First, there’s the ability to quickly capitalize on new ERP features as they become available in the cloud. This contrasts with the sometimes-extended time frames associated with on-premises applications because of challenges resulting from customizations, data migration, and other factors.
Second, our move to Oracle ERP Cloud enabled us to create one global transactional chart of accounts by consolidating the multiple charts that had been running throughout Oracle’s global operations. That’s been a big win in terms of making data management easier and simplifying reporting activities.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that cloud-based ERP gives us a unified data model, which is opening up a host of follow-on opportunities. For example, Oracle also moved the enterprise to Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud to support our 140,000 worldwide employees. Oracle now has a unified data model underlying both its ERP and human capital management systems. That means Oracle can manage identities, passwords, authorizations, workflows, and approval processes without having to replicate data in the ERP system. This level of integration eliminates data redundancy and any associated data synchronization problems that arise with different models.
By moving ERP financial operations to the cloud, enterprises reap a variety of near-term benefits and set the stage for ongoing improvements that capitalize on the cloud-based ERP foundation.”
Based on these successes, Oracle is now in the process of moving the company entirely to Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud Service and Oracle Order Management Cloud; implementations are slated for completion by early 2019.
How can others achieve similar benefits by moving to cloud ERP? Obviously, each enterprise is unique—in terms of how it’s organized and in the pain points surrounding financial operations. To gauge the potential impact of cloud ERP, executives must first identify the problem areas and then create an appropriate cloud implementation strategy. For example, if the existing procurement or order management systems aren’t keeping up with the company’s growth and efficiency requirements, executives might first roll out cloud-based modules for those areas.
Finding opportunities for immediate benefits such as these is important, but I also advise executives to look for future opportunities. For example, Oracle’s goal is to eliminate manual intervention as much as possible for corporate transactions, whether that’s filing expense reports, procuring office supplies, logging customer orders, or performing scores of other tasks.
With Oracle’s core financial operations and a unified data model in the cloud, Oracle now has the integration and automation it needs to move its business closer to touchless transactions. And ultimately that may be the best reason of all for going bold with cloud ERP. It lays a foundation for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies that can turn automation into a competitive differentiator.
Photography by Bob Adler/Studio at Getty Images for Oracle