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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

Considering a move to the cloud? Here are 5 of the 10 conversations you should have.

Guest Author

By Stephanie Hlavin, Senior Content Strategist Integrated Marketing, Cloud Technology, Oracle

Call small-to-midsize businesses what you will – start-ups, emerging, scaling or growing businesses – scrappiness becomes them. They’re typically lean, agile and free from the constraints of decades-old, “We’ve always done it that way. It’s fine.”

When it comes to moving to the cloud, ‘fine’ may allow a large, established enterprise to limp along a bit longer, but with such a short-sighted mentality, grab your popcorn and a seat because a dinosaur is about to experience a slow and certain death.

But that’s not you. Your growing organization isn’t risk averse nor afraid to fail fast. That said, if you’re debating migrating your business to the cloud, here are five conversations you should have before do:

Conversation 1: What’s our overall business strategy?

Sounds obvious, but that’s ok. Without a destination in mind, it’s difficult to plan a trip. Migrating to the cloud is the same. A basic chat (with the right people) about goals is a prudent place to begin. Then, you’ll have a clear path to back into. Talk to key stakeholders about the organization’s long-term strategy.

Ask: “Where do you want the company to be in the next five years?”

Don’t leave until you’ve reached consensus among all key stakeholders.

Conversation 2: What should we move to the cloud?

Now that you know the organization’s short- and long-term goals, you need to figure out where to start. Back into the desired outcome for the organization by determining the processes you want to improve now and those that will come later. This is a conversation you should have with functional units (or individuals, if that’s the case).

Ask: “Hello < insert function: finance, marketing, HR > colleague/unit, what are your goals? How do they align with our overall business strategy?” (The one that you recently shared with them.)

Have them get granular here. The more measurable and specific their answers, the better equipped you’ll be to evaluate the tools you need to achieve your shared goals.

Are you attending Oracle OpenWorld next week?  Don’t miss the general session, ‘Strategies for Mastering Cloud Adoption,’ Tuesday, October 3rd.

Conversation 3: What’s our current state?

By now, you’ve had quite a few conversations, but better-informed means agreement, alignment and a reference point or playbook to refer to throughout your cloud migration project. Now, it’s time to investigate.

Ask: What applications are we currently using? How well are they performing?

This is a question for you and for others in the organization. It’s also a pretty straightforward conversation, but it’s more than just an audit. This conversation intends to unearth any issues and inefficiencies like disparate systems and processes that may require attention pre-integration and migration.

Conversation 4: What areas offer early wins?

Quick review: You have level-set on goals, and you know exactly what your current state looks like. You have the information you need to decide which changes will yield the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.

Ask (yourself): Which of our processes will benefit most from migrating to the cloud? What improvements will stakeholders see in speed, efficiency, ease of use and cost?

The answers you come up with are your North Star; they form the basis of your implementation plan that you can now create.

Conversation 5: What is our adoption path, and do we need more than one?

Congratulations. You have identified one-to-two areas that will get you a quick win, and your supporting implementation plan is complete. One more question.

Ask (yourself): Should I roll this out in phases? 

Doing so will give you flexibility to determine the speed and order of adoption. Say you identified procurement as an area that begs for improvement, but your business is getting ready to hit the seasonal rush. Better to wait and address the other process(es) you’ve designated. Correct – this means more than one plan. That’s ok though – the plan for transitioning procurement will be ready when you need it.

Stay tuned for part two discussing five more cloud conversations you should be having. And let us know your thoughts in the comments area below. What conversations have you had – or are avoiding?

If you’re ready to begin your migration and integration to cloud, start now – and for free.

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