Cloud computing: From promise to fruition

|December 23, 2015 0

Atul Sareen

Businesses are transitioning the way they operate and manage their operations spread across multiple geographies and executed with multiple partners to tap newer growth opportunities. This results in organizations no longer developing and managing the entire life cycle of product development and shipment. With multiple partners involved, it is imperative that this network of partners function seamlessly and efficiently.

To address this complexity, there is a need to create a multi-enterprise ERP, which includes a new generation ERP on cloud and business applications developed on open source platform.

Since 2013, analysts had anticipated the growing use of cloud to offer business agility and rapid growth that was not possible in the past. This year the predictions have come to fruition as businesses picked up momentum to move their applications like SCM and HCM to cloud from the on-premise model. However, CIO’s are reluctant to fully explore the true potential of cloud due to heavy investments already committed to the on-premise IT infrastructure. To address this, cloud service providers need constant engagement with businesses to educate them on the commercial, business and SLA aspects of cloud.

As cloud adoption continues to mature, a number of trends are emerging to address key challenges in implementation. Among them the most important is the increased demand for looking beyond the ‘one solution to address multiple business problems’ approach. Organizations want their business applications to be treated as per the industry and micro-verticals in which they operate. This approach demands deep domain expertise and cloud vendors who can differentiate themselves are set to gain competitive advantage. For example, a business application in retail will have completely diverse requirements than Food & Beverage industry. Additionally, even sub-verticals within Food & Beverage industry will have completely different processes. The traditional approach of customizing one application for different industry will not address business challenges. The need is to create highly specialized cloud based software to support the very specific needs of each micro-vertical is critical.

In addition to the emergence of new approaches to cloud adoption, cloud vendors are continually searching for ways to facilitate faster ROI and superior industry functionality for their customers. Newer cloud offerings now provide businesses with expanded access to applications within their enterprise cloud environment. This advanced software can support capabilities across functional business process areas including project manufacturing, contracts and billing, governance risks and compliance (GRC), enhanced business analytics dashboards and integrated document management. These enhancements support companies of all sizes, from one location to multi-national, by allowing users to view real-time data at any time and from any location. Businesses also experience a faster ROI and a reduced total cost of ownership, as cloud delivery is typically managed through a pay-per-use model.

The key here is to deliver industry-specific functionality in business application over the cloud. This will truly deliver a highly agile, flexible and proven cloud model to drive business benefits. Organizations need to derive their cloud strategy to adapt to various business environments and manage demand fluctuations as per need basis and pay for only what they use.

Reducing complexity on existing deployment and decrease the burden on IT resources is another area organizations can gain competitive advantage and grow rapidly. Additionally, having the most secure environment is the top agenda to not only protect data but also provide confidence for exploring new business opportunities. Finally, it is imperative that CIOs keep their systems up-to-date and more easily take advantage of innovative new technologies.

As aging legacy applications just can’t keep pace with the agility of new solutions, outdated systems put a drag on productivity and business profits. If rightly deployed, cloud computing can become a true arsenal in helping CIOs execute their business strategy. One of the key catalyst for cloud gaining traction is the desire to get more returns for investments. It is believed that organizations have saved more valuable dollars with their transitions to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model during the past year.

With this in mind, 2016 promises to be an excellent year for cloud applications as more and more companies realize the core benefits. In addition to the cross applications like SCM and HCM, enterprises are expected to make the transition of moving their core applications like ERP on the cloud. Additionally, mid-market segment will witnesses the maximum traction on cloud as there is limited issues of having made investment on-premise model. The coming year also will see development of industry solutions which will help accelerate innovations and delivery of higher quality cloud based applications to set an upward growth demand.

The author is MD, Infor India

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