Face disruption head-on: Move core business processes to the cloud

If IT transformation is done right, the benefits can outweigh the disruption says Oracle's Swami Natarajan.

We are facing unprecedented times in business. Understanding how to navigate the new normal of work is crucial. According to a recent study, EY CEO Imperative Study 2019, digital transformation and innovation are the top new C-suite capabilities critical to continued growth. This means every decision counts. All members of the C-suite, from the CTO to the heads of HR and Finance, should turn their attention to the beating heart of their organisation – its key business processes. 

Crucial functions – from HR to procurement – have often been confined to on-premise data centres. Yet, as the speed of change and organisational demands increase, this way of doing things is becoming more challenging. If the C-Suite is determined to make the most transformative and positive change in a limited time-frame, it should be to elevate their back office to the cloud.

Reaching the cloud

On-premise ERP systems have increased efficiency and ROI while improving operational oversight. Yet will this be enough a year from now? At a time of constant change, new business models need to be adopted quickly for a company to remain relevant in its industry.

It’s a real challenge to do this based on a system fine-tuned to meet outdated needs. Siloed systems are slow and laborious to update and can’t be scaled up or down as needed.

By contrast, the main advantage of a cloud-based system is its scalability and flexibility. Unbound by the restraints of on-premise systems, capacity can be scaled up and down quickly as needed. Updates are made once by the platform provider and roll out as one across all processes. 

With all your data in one place, it’s also much easier to coordinate and evolve as a business. A cloud-enabled back office creates intersection points where the different lines of business can collaborate. With the same pool of shared insight, HR and finance can expand their outlook and perform roles that add more value to the business, like budgeting for new staff and performing what-if analysis on the impact of expanding the team.

Learning from others

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) found that by moving its budgeting and forecasting functions to the cloud, it could deliver a more immediate and relevant customer service. Its strategic modelling has been sped up drastically, helping it on the way to zero-touch rolling forecasts for its customers.

Italian coffee company Illy also leveraged the cloud to create a global, centralised HR system for its employees. Its cloud-based HR platform gives managers a single source of information, helping them identify the best talent for new locations. It also allows the company to offer the same quality benefit packages and standard pay across all geographies.      

Time waits for no one

Organisations that go down the cloud route could see shorter, less costly implementation periods. Yet there’s always an element of risk. 

Sometimes there are bumps along the road. With CxOs changing roles so often, a key stakeholder can leave an implementation partway, putting a project back months or even years. The longer a project lasts the more chances there are for failure to creep in.

An automated migration solution may help core systems reach the cloud faster, for less. These tools automate many of the processes where human error or dependency can delay a project. They drastically reduce the chances of failure and help an organisation get its system up and running and generating value much sooner.

When combined with machine learning capabilities, migration tools have further benefits. Capturing data points from previous implementations, these tools are able to learn, respond and adapt to ensure the smoothest implementation possible. Instead of relying solely on the experience of your IT team, you benefit from the lessons of thousands of successful implementations.

No IT transformation is ever painless. Yet when done correctly the benefits will likely quickly outweigh the disruption. By moving its core business processes to the cloud, an organisation can face disruption head-on with the latest tools and technologies. It’s an emphatic way for a CxO to leave their mark and ensure the business is ready for the future.