One of the key trends small-to-medium business (SMB) leaders currently focus on is modernizing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. As cloud technologies evolved, many SMBs resisted moving to the cloud because they relied on heavily customized applications. SaaS solutions are often based around standardized processes, and many SMBs feared these solutions wouldn't meet their unique needs. However, as the landscape has matured, a strong business case has emerged for growing companies to bring their ERP solutions into the 21st century.
The SaaS standardized practices are based on best practices, which means that most growing companies don't need as many customizations as they previously required with on-premises solutions. If a customer needs a mission-critical customization now and there's no other option than to customize, that functionality can be rebuilt using Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) and easily integrated with the Oracle SaaS application. This flexibility has made it simpler to tap into the opportunities created by the latest modern ERP solutions.
As Oracle Cloud technologies have evolved, we're able to remove barriers, including the "lack of customizations" argument as an inhibitor to moving PeopleSoft applications to the cloud.
In fact, with nearly every PeopleSoft upgrade project in recent years, growing companies have moved away from heavy customizations. Or, they've been looking for SaaS applications that can co-exist with their on-premises solutions. For example, if a SMB has been using PeopleSoft Financial Management, they can migrate some of the functionality to the appropriate finance modules of Oracle ERP Cloud as a way to make their path to the cloud less daunting. With today's Oracle Cloud solutions and tools, there are many, many different roads to the cloud that don't include the traditional barriers for migration.
When working with PeopleSoft customers who are delaying a cloud migration because of customizations, we drive a series of steps to help them understand that moving to Oracle ERP Cloud really does make sense for their business. Starting with a fit-gap workshop, we walk through the features and functionality of the latest version of PeopleSoft to show them that they don't really need that many customizations anymore. Then, we highlight similar functionality in Oracle ERP Cloud as an alternative to an on-premises upgrade that fits the needs of growing companies.
If necessary, we create a business case to illustrate to the customer that they can actually save money by moving to a more standard cloud application versus continuing to use so many customizations. The main objective is to demonstrate to customers that they can realize significant cost savings and a better Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when they move away from multiple customizations and migrate to Oracle Cloud. In addition, customers find costs savings from lower support and maintenance costs and a streamlined upgrade/testing process since that burden shifts to Oracle.
Once a customer is ready to migrate from PeopleSoft to Oracle ERP Cloud, even with numerous customizations, the process for a cloud application migration can run quite quickly. We use native Oracle tools and other intellectual property, like our project management process and integrations, to accelerate the migration.
For example, we conduct a full assessment to understand the SMB's goals and whether they want to move all or just some of their functionality to Oracle Cloud. Next comes an analysis of their overall architecture using the PeopleSoft toolset. Then, we use Oracle Cloud Manager to help us plan their path to the cloud. We focus carefully on mapping networking and security components, like IP addresses, servers, and firewalls, to ensure that all elements integrate properly in a way that's easy for SMB clients to manage.
With a full regression test, if the customer has deployed PeopleSoft Test Framework and built test scripts, that can also be used to speed the testing. Also, leveraging the record-and-build tool, the customer has the ability to record test scripts and reuse them.
If you use Oracle development products and a fine-tuned project management process, it will speed the deployment and testing of cloud solutions—which helps get Oracle Cloud Applications up and running in days instead of weeks.
A Florida-based mid-sized investment and financial services company faced an end-of-life situation with the underlying hardware for its on-premises PeopleSoft Financials applications. With a major upgrade looming, the growing company evaluated and ultimately deployed an Oracle ERP Cloud solution as a modern alternative to its legacy application. With a concerted effort to avoid customizations, the business opted for a "vanilla implementation" to make use of the best practice functionality and ensure that the twice-a-year upgrades would be as low-impact as possible.
According to the project manager, "We've had to change our mindset to adopt the SaaS application functionality as it's packaged. We use some of the functionality that's available with each release, but we don't always use all of it. And that's okay for our organization. With that said, the big benefit is that we always have the latest and greatest functionality when it hits the market. I find that once our accountants get comfortable with the regular tasks that they perform every month, their comfort level improves, and in turn, our user adoption rises."
Investing in a modern ERP solution that is made for growing companies has a major payoff. Tapping into the latest SaaS solutions makes it easier to adopt industry best practices and helps small-to-medium businesses. Customers save money, increase productivity, and reduce system complexity.
By Paul Laverty, Oracle Americas Practice Leader, DXC Technology