For many organizations, Cloud based ERP transformation projects are part of a robust long term strategy that is well aligned to their business goals; while for some others it could be a misguided panic move that offers short term band-aid solutions but not much long term value. Amid a global pandemic and uncertain economy, large projects come under increased scrutiny and many cloud transformation projects may struggle to justify their business value.
For PeopleSoft customers who are considering cloud based ERP transformations, this article is intended as a self-assessment guide for understanding and evaluating the true nature of transformation needed for your organization and the answers you come up here can help in justifying your next big cloud investment.
The “3P”s of an ERP ecosystem that are interdependent on each other and together determines the value of the ERP systems to your organization are The Product, The Process and The Provider.
Evaluate your Enterprise Application “Product” aspect on these questions:
- Does the product have a long-term strategy and commitment from the vendor?
- Is the product meeting your core business needs and keeping pace with the changing global, regional, and industrial regulations and is it enabling you to stay compliant?
- Is the product getting enhanced and modernized to keep pace with the latest technology developments? and is it meeting and exceeding the expectations of its users?
- Is the product and its technology compatible with rest of your IT systems and long-term IT strategy?
- Does the product offer reliable, repeatable, flexible and an agile process to take updates and stay current?
If the answers to majority of these questions are YES, then your current enterprise application does not warrant a full scale replacement. Instead your efforts should be focused on maximizing the ROI from your current enterprise application. If the answers to majority of these questions are NO then either consider products to augment your enterprise system by addressing specific gaps or consider a full scale replacement where one is warranted.
PeopleSoft customers can rest easy on majority of these questions because of Oracle’s continued commitment to PeopleSoft.
- Recently Extended Support Commitment until at least 2031
- Swift action to Covid-19 by prioritizing product enhancements that enable customers to easily navigate the pandemic response.
- Continuing investment to deliver customer driven, strategic enhancements to the application on a quarterly basis, with the power to customers to selectively adopt them as and when they are ready.
Evaluate the “Process” aspect of your organization with these questions:
- In addition to standard business processes, does your business require flexibility to build and maintain custom processes that are uniquely value adding to your organization?
- Does your business require high flexibility on change management to better control the introduction new functionality and features to users?
- Does your business require better control over storing, securing, distributing, archiving, and purging sensitive data?
If answer to these questions are Yes, then PeopleSoft applications offer the best in-class flexibility across all these aspects and replacing it with cloud applications reduces this flexibility and will be a less rewarding experience. If answers to these questions are No and your organization prefers to offload the overheads associated with enterprise application maintenance and prefers a subscription based model then Cloud SaaS applications offer a better fit.
Evaluate the “Provider” aspect of your organization with these questions:
A ‘provider’ in this context refers to the entire IT function that could be internal or external to the organization and that is responsible for provisioning, supporting, upgrading and keeping the enterprise applications current.
- Is your technical infrastructure (Datacenters, Hardware, Virtualization etc.) kept up to date to maximize the benefits offered by the ERP product?
- Does your technical infrastructure meet your business expectations on availability, response, and recovery times for planned and unplanned events?
- Do you have a Life Cycle Management strategy, plan, and process in place to keep the ERP product current?
- Do you have the right resources, skills, and access to talent pool to keep your ERP product current?
It is these questions where organizations have a mixed bag of responses and where the transformative IT projects and investments can deliver best value. Specifically for PeopleSoft customers, most often than not, it is their internal Processes, People and Technology that constrains them from leveraging the latest product capabilities as soon as they are available. Listed below are some recommendations to address the deficiencies in each of these areas.
- If your technical infrastructure is aging and not kept up to date, then Cloud Infrastructure (IaaS) can offer great value at a lower cost, spread over a long duration (OpEx), instead of large Capex investment upfront to modernize your infrastructure.
- Leveraging Cloud IaaS can vastly improve your enterprise application’s availability, performance, scalability, and security. For organizations that require better control over the physical hardware, then the “Cloud at Customer” options bring the latest cloud capability to their own datacenters.
- Instead of full-scale replacements, organizations can also augment their existing on-premise infrastructure with cloud infrastructure for specific needs such as Disaster Recovery.
Process and People deficiencies:
- If your life cycle management processes are not agile enough to keep the enterprise application current, then consider Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings where possible to reduce the burden on internal IT staff. For instance, running your database on Cloud Autonomous Database Service will cut down the dependency on internal process and personnel to keep the database current.
- If staying current on your enterprise application is impeded by resource or skill shortages or if the resourcing requirements for the software maintenance does not align with your long-term IT strategy, then consider getting external help from specialist vendors who offer comprehensive managed services to supplement your IT function.
- PeopleSoft applications are truly cloud enabled with its own Orchestration Framework ‘Cloud Manager’ that automates majority of the ongoing operational tasks (scaling up/down, cloning, etc.) and periodic maintenance tasks (patching, upgrades, etc.). For organizations that are constrained by internal process/people/technology aspects, running their Peoplesoft application on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure using Cloud Manager can alleviate these constraints and offer great value at a lower cost by vastly improving the pace of adoption of new functionalities and features.
If the People, Process and Technology of the ‘Provider’ function is well refined, then the organizations have a repeatable and efficient mechanism to keep their enterprise applications current and offer much better experience to its business. When the “Process” function the enterprise application is optimized in your organization, then you can retain the flexibility of their on-premise enterprise applications, while delivering the SLAs equivalent to that of Cloud SaaS applications!
Covid19 pandemic has resulted in most organizations reviewing their IT spending priorities and with budgets getting squeezed, maximizing the ROI from existing ERP investment makes best economical sense. For some organizations this economic downturn and low activity period also provides an opportunity to introspect and execute well justified transformative cloud projects. In either case, perform a thorough due diligence and execute the projects that deliver biggest bang for your buck!