Milind Joshi, KPIT’s vice president and head of its Oracle JD Edwards practice, has been a part of the JD Edwards ecosystem for 20- plus years. He and his team have had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of customers of Oracle’s JD Edwards solutions about their implementations.
In the past two months alone, he has visited KPIT customers who have JD Edwards solutions installed and are considering adoption of cloud in the United Kingdom, Sweden, India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Here, he discusses the trends, challenges, and lessons KPIT has learned along the way, and how the company is using these insights to help customers navigate their journey to the cloud.
Why are JD Edwards customers moving to the cloud?
Business models are changing due to the nexus of the Internet of Things, analytics, and mobile, with cloud becoming a significant enabler. Moving to the cloud is not just a convenient option for organizations— it is a competitive imperative. Many of our customers are leveraging the cloud to accelerate the delivery of business solutions to their customers. Moving to the cloud allows organizations to have a laser focus on delivering business value, rather than focusing on the underlying platforms that support those solutions. In addition, over the past few years, many of our customers have had to make difficult investment decisions. The cloud model has reduced the overall demand for technology capital spending as well as creating a more predictable operating cost model over time. Companies want to use JD Edwards solutions the way they use electricity—they want to leverage the power without having to worry about maintaining the back-end infrastructure. It may be extremely complex behind the scenes, but to the end user, it is simple to use and you pay as you go or as much as you use it.
How are customers making the transition?
Many of our customers who have significant investment in their current IT assets are moving to the cloud incrementally. For example, they will start by implementing Oracle Sales Cloud. Once they have established the business case, they will move certain parts of the JD Edwards enterprise resource planning solution to the cloud, such as the test environment. Other customers take on a much more ambitious digital transformation, moving multiple business processes to the cloud simultaneously. A lot of customers take on a hybrid approach, with a development environment in the cloud and production on premises. At KPIT, we understand the reasons for all of the different strategies, and we help customers determine the best approach for their unique needs and challenges.
What are some considerations in moving to the cloud?
First, understand the impact on your ecosystem. Organizations need to understand the enterprise architecture, financial, and organizational implications of those decisions over time. Second, educate your C-suite. It is a good idea for CIOs to have specific C-suite educational sessions regarding the cloud. It has been my experience that when you say “cloud” to a CFO, it is immediately translated into lower operating costs. While lower operating costs are a possibility, it is not the only value proposition. Third, develop a cloud communication strategy and messaging. Moving to the cloud can have an impact on the way the work is delivered in certain functions. Developing a specific communication strategy that addresses people’s concerns will help people directly affected by cloud decisions. Last but not least, consider the financial implications of a move to the cloud. At KPIT, we use a return on investment calculator that gives you the financial picture on the different options available to you, so that you can make the right decision.
What is a common mistake companies make in moving to the cloud?
Many customers do not take the time and effort to develop an overall cloud strategy, and end up taking an “à la carte” approach. This approach can often lead to unexpected technical, organizational, and financial impact. Customers should be developing their specific cloud strategy along with a multiyear plan to deliver. Some customers have underestimated the organizational impacts of aggressively transitioning to the cloud and realizing the utmost value for the company. In general, organizations have not done an effective job communicating their overall cloud strategy and the value proposition for people affected. As a result, many employees see the cloud as a definite threat.
How should customers be thinking about costs when moving to the cloud?
Sometimes, companies make the mistake of calculating the impact of moving to the cloud in isolation. As they move to the cloud, they may still have a legacy data center footprint to manage in addition to the cloudbased service. So, their cost might go up in the short term. If they look at cloud in a silo or isolation, they may not get the overall value expected. Smart companies develop a long-term, holistic IT strategy that shifts from technology-focused to business value–focused. Customers who have a significant investment in their current IT ecosystem will typically require a longer transition period.
What is KPIT’s philosophy and strategy on moving to the cloud?
We believe the cloud is a significant enabler for IT organizations to drive a competitive advantage. Our experience indicates that companies aggressively transitioning to the cloud are able to focus more of their resources on delivering business value rather than on solving technology issues. A cloud strategy should be a critical component of the entire IT strategy. If you don’t think of it that way, you won’t be able to realize the true potential. We offer advice to companies that are considering a move to the cloud, and we help them better align their strategies to benefit from the available technology options. What does this mean for your organization, governance, and processes that extend beyond your reach and range? How will the different paths to the cloud— public, private, or hybrid—affect you? We give customers a larger view of the potential challenges, and provide a plan for them that encompasses people, processes, and technology.
What overall value does KPIT add for JD Edwards customers going to the cloud?
When we talk about the path to cloud, we handle all aspects of infrastructure, platform, and applications. We are able to move the entire JD Edwards application into the public or private cloud and take over the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure, which includes hardware, database layer, operating system layer, router, switches—all the way to the application. Also, at KPIT, we take a vertical approach, factoring in specific industry challenges. For example, we have a JD Edwards–specific integration for life sciences in the cloud so that JD Edwards customers can leverage it without having to reinvent the wheel. Customers can depend on KPIT to manage the entire JD Edwards solution using best practices, and to stay ahead of new industry-specific upgrades, so that they can focus on their business.
This advertorial was originally published in the JD Edwards 2016 special edition of Profit.
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