Enterprises are at a crossroads. CIOs and IT leaders know they need to transition their ERP and other critical business processes to the cloud but are still stymied by the inherent risks that come with such a change. With nearly two-thirds of businesses planning to migrate an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to the cloud or already doing so, executives who still look at cloud warily need to adopt a new perspective, or risk their business falling behind early adopters and digitally-native start-ups.
If data transmission or network traffic is interrupted in an ERP system, crucial business processes could be delayed or missed completely, potentially causing serious issues across business functions, from finance to customer service. For example, a coffee shop chain could have shipments of beans delayed and be unable to serve customers because the company’s ERP system failed to register the need for more beans or complete the order in their supply chain process. So, it is not difficult to see why many enterprises want to avoid or delay moving to the cloud given the prospect of interruption during the transition. However, the laundry list of benefits greatly outweighs these risks. Companies using cloud-based ERP have an advantage in speed, agility, cost-savings and new opportunities.
While there is little question that cloud is the way forward for ERP systems – and many other enterprise systems and tools – leaping to an exclusively public cloud strategy just isn’t always feasible. A hybrid cloud model, or a computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and public cloud services, can be the “best of all worlds” approach for those who are just embarking on their cloud journey, with a multitude of legacy technologies in tow.
Err on the side of caution
Even for those companies that feel they might be behind the competition; a conservative approach can work when it comes to cloud. Especially in the current regulatory environment, where GDPR and other data privacy legislation are top of mind, taking a cautious tack is recommended and being meticulous in the process is encouraged. Using a phased approach will allow your business to adopt cloud and reap the benefits in key areas, while leaving other segments unchanged.
When shifting individual applications to the cloud, whether it is private or public, opt for a phased rollout, starting with the least risky ones first, such as Office 365. IT providers can also help to streamline this process via automation, safeguarding the movement of sensitive data and applications while guaranteeing speed and savings.
At the start of cloud transition, begin cautiously by only moving the applications that require scalability, and those that are less risky. In other words, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. With the hybrid cloud model, companies will still gain the benefits associated with cloud, while maintaining compliance, security and minimal disruption to their day-to-day activities by keeping certain data on-premises.
Adding automation to the mix can streamline the process further. By letting go of all of the manual work associated with this transition, IT teams can feel more confident that they are eliminating the threat of human error. Additionally, as many automation tools intrinsically have built-in compliance features, CIOs can rest assured that the data migration will meet any regulatory requirements. Not to mention, automation software will be able to speed up the entire process.
A non-negotiable for the millennial workforce
In addition to worries about keeping up with the competition, the C-suite is also under pressure keep up with the expectations of the new millennial workforce. The CIO is especially tasked with making their organization appealing to the next generation. This is no easy feat. Handling a 40-year-old mainframe when you are younger than the computer and used to cutting edge solutions and consumer IT experiences is a tough sell. A balance is achievable for enterprises, and hybrid cloud is a great way forward.
Hybrid cloud, with built in automation, streamlines and modernizes existing legacy technology, like ERP systems, while offering that intuitive interface and cancelling out the mundane, repetitive work that millennials dread. CIOs can gradually shift their company’s fundamental processes to the cloud, scaling as needed, while deescalating the old school systems and ways of thinking at their own pace.
Don’t put data in a box
CIOs are quickly coming to terms with the fact that keeping data in a metal box is no longer cost-effective. Modern solutions inherently come with a higher return on investment and empower businesses to capitalize on their data.
Simultaneously, enterprise CIOs have a whole new challenge in their midst. Deploying multiple cloud-based solutions can become a complex undertaking, not even counting the slew of on-premises solutions that are usually in play, with critical ties to an ERP system. Luckily, it is possible to automate the movement and maintenance of cloud applications and data, allowing businesses to more quickly and simply attain the many benefits of a hybrid cloud environment.
At the end of the day, enterprises must embark on their cloud journey to fend off disruption and gain credibility with millennial talent. A strategy that combines hybrid cloud and automation is a sure-fire route for CIOs to innovate their tech stack at a scale that matches their pace.