Most organizations today have planned an IT roadmap that takes advantage of cloud resources and deployment models. However, that does not mean buying every cloud product a vendor places on its product roadmap or following the exact route and timing the vendor prescribes.
Many companies we work with at Rimini Street have made the choice to move from a vendor-dictated roadmap to a Business-Driven Roadmap designed around their business objectives, not the enterprise software vendors’ objectives. (See “Do You Know Where Your ERP Roadmap Is Taking You?”)
Following a Business-Driven Roadmap means reclaiming control over where your organization spends time and money, focusing it where it will do the most to create capacity for innovation and business success. In the context of the cloud, a business-driven strategy means moving critical systems when the time is right. You may or may not agree with your vendor that cloud ERP is your ultimate destination, but you should make your own decisions about how to get there and how quickly.
Your organization has undoubtedly migrated many things like email, storage, data warehouses or even virtualized desktops to the cloud. However, if you have invested heavily in your existing ERP solution, the decision of whether to move or migrate such a critical system requires much more careful evaluation and planning.
Here are three reasons why:
- Risk: Vendors often promise a seamless transition to the cloud, but if you’ve made mission-critical customizations to your ERP software, your cloud migration could be a rocky one.
- Cost: Migrating your ERP to the cloud or software as a service (SaaS) means handing maintenance over to your ERP vendor, and this often includes many hidden costs. As one analyst recently pointed out, “Vendors think scale and pricing only work one way — up.”1
- Vendor support limitations: ERP vendors are great at supplying software but far less effective when it comes to providing high-quality service tailored to your organization’s individual needs.
These factors are explained in more detail in our e-book, Getting to the Cloud on Your Terms: 3 Things That Get in the Way.
One of the most important things to understand is that there are many ways to use cloud resources to improve your ERP performance and functionality. For example, if you decide moving to an SaaS, ERP doesn’t make sense — perhaps because important features are missing — you can redeploy your existing ERP applications to cloud hosting (infrastructure as a service, or IaaS).
Many of our clients are already working with AWS, Azure and other cloud infrastructure services to host their ERPs in the cloud — and we are consulting with many more to help them evaluate their options.
Running your ERP on IaaS can make a lot of sense. If you configure your cloud implementation properly (which is something we can help with), you can take advantage of the cloud provider’s geographically distributed data centers to deliver better performance for global offices, plus high availability and disaster recovery. At the same time, you can begin to tap the advanced analytics and machine learning technologies available from the major cloud providers.
Deciding that the time is not ripe to move your ERP to the cloud is an equally valid decision. Maybe you need to wait for cloud ERP technology to mature or offer better support for your industry. Perhaps you do not want to trust ERP security to a cloud provider or face issues of regulatory compliance that could be difficult or impossible to meet in the cloud.
Even if your ERP stays put in your data center (or more traditional hosting), you can extend it through integration with innovative cloud applications.
While organizations that host their ERP in the cloud have some advantages when it comes to integrating with other cloud services, for the foreseeable future the dominant IT architecture will be a hybrid. Technologies and strategies for bridging the gap between local and cloud services are evolving rapidly. We see many big companies moving selected ERP applications or the ERPs of subsidiaries to the cloud and keeping other ERP applications in their own data centers.
In the end, it may be true that all roads lead to the cloud, but how you get there matters. Whether you take the fast lane, the slow lane or the next exit off your ERP vendor’s roadmap to the cloud, your journey will be unique. Rimini Street can help you maximize your investment in your ERP solution while making your route to the cloud smoother.
1 Brian Sommer, “The SaaS memo most ERP vendors missed,” Diginomica, December 18, 2018