Enterprise organizations have recognized the numerous benefits of moving their ERP systems to the cloud — from unifying disparate systems and streamlining financial processes, to gaining mobile functionality, cutting fixed costs for on-premises equipment, and boosting employee satisfaction with best-of-breed modern systems.
While every organization wants to achieve any and all of these goals, many companies struggle with challenges during their cloud journey. As we work with companies transitioning to the cloud, we help them identify pitfalls and follow a proven approach to create a roadmap for successful cloud implementations.
Here are some of the most common challenges our team has seen and the best practices to avoid missteps.
Challenge #1 – Failing to appoint an executive sponsor
Best practice: Identify a savvy C-suite sponsor.
Without a clear mandate from a key executive, your cloud migration project may never get the consideration it needs to be successful. By appointing an executive sponsor who can communicate the rationale, business benefits, and strategic goals of moving ERP to the cloud, the executive can help keep the project on track and facilitate a successful cloud journey.
Challenge #2 – Concern that the cloud won’t meet requirements
Best practice: Demonstrate functionality to key stakeholders.
This concern usually stems from a lack of knowledge about the capabilities of the cloud solution. The best approach is to demonstrate product functionality to different company stakeholders so they can see first-hand that it is possible to significantly streamline processes and systems.
Challenge #3 – Apprehension about cloud security
Best practice: Work with a trusted, experienced cloud provider.
There is a major shift in mindset to transition from on-premises ERP to the cloud, and it takes a great deal of trust to be confident that your data will be secure. Make sure your integration partner works hand-in-hand with an established cloud provider that prioritizes security (such as Oracle) to deliver a security profile that meets your specific requirements.
Challenge #4 – Assuming that you have the right skill sets
Best practice: Take time to focus on your IT staff.
You may think your traditional IT staff can easily transition to cloud computing. However, existing skill sets don’t always transfer over, and if your organization isn’t ready, your new cloud system may not be successful. Be sure to evaluate your existing skill sets, and if you find gaps, create a professional development plan so your IT team can acquire the new skills your organization needs to make your cloud initiative successful.
Challenge #5 – Moving too quickly to the cloud
Best practice: Prioritize your cloud journey.
If you can’t move all of your financial systems to the cloud at once because of the risk to business continuity, determine which ERP systems are most ready to move to the cloud and create a phased approach for your implementation. Be sure to focus on the big picture of the resulting solution instead of the individual requirements.
Challenge #6 – Uncertainty over integrations with home-grown systems
Best practice: Carefully plan points of integrations.
This unease is usually the result of a lack of awareness about the tools available to simplify the connections between cloud ERP and on-premises or complementary cloud systems. Thorough planning is the best approach to manage integrations to ensure that internal systems will work seamlessly with your new ERP cloud.
Challenge #7 – Requests to customize applications
Best practice: Focus on end-user change management and training.
In the old world of ERP applications, if the system didn’t fit the process, you would customize the application to meet your specific needs. However, cloud applications require a more standards-based approach, which means employees may need to change the way they work to achieve the full value of the cloud solution. Offer end-user training with use case examples so employees understand how to use the new ERP cloud solution for maximum productivity, benefit, and value. During the training, be sure to communicate why the new process is an improvement over the old way of doing things. Once they understand the benefits, employees will want to change the way they work and will buy into the cloud initiative.
Accelerating Your Successful Journey to the Cloud
Planning the road map from your current state to ERP in the cloud is crucial. It will help you identify where and how you need to prepare your organization so that you can avoid common transition issues. Keep in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires a top-down approach with executives evaluating where your company stands on the continuum of cloud-readiness. It also requires that executives and the IT team have strong lines of communication. Get any concerns out on the table early so you can address them in a timely fashion.
Fujitsu can help you transition to Oracle ERP Cloud. Using the Fujitsu Cloud methodology and following the best practices outlined here, your organization will be prepared, and your management team and IT staff aligned as you move forward in your cloud journey.
Originally posted on Oracle Blog – Modern Finance