The Importance Of Proactive Cloud Strategy

Claus Jepsen Headshot
Hesitation is a tech leader’s worst enemy when it comes to digital transformation.

As the old adage goes, there’s no time like the present. This rings especially true in our current age of innovation at a breakneck speed. And yet, IT leaders may still feel fear surrounding large-scale digital transformation.

However, with the right planning process, challenges can be mitigated before the migration process even begins, says Claus Jepsen, chief technology officer at UK-based Unit4.

Jepsen shares actionable advice for tech leaders on migrating core enterprise systems to the cloud to set up organizations for long-term success.

Why should tech leaders migrate their ERP systems to the cloud?

A significant majority—80 percentof companies report operational improvements after adopting the cloud. Now is the time for companies to move forward with digitization and upgrading legacy systems to remain competitive in today’s business landscape as it continues to change rapidly.

Organizations must transform how they manage all aspects of their business—from procurement, to reporting and payrollto remain competitive. A cloud-based ERP system increases organizational resilience, enabling organizations to be agile in the face of uncertainty. It also enhances efficiency, giving organizations a single source of truth as they expand.

What are the benefits of ERP cloud migration? What are the risks?

Common fears tech leaders have surrounding ERP cloud migration include a drain on time and resources, potential workforce disruption and employees resisting change to new processes.

It’s no secret that large-scale projects like migrating ERP systems to the cloud can be difficult, but the risk of relying on legacy systems and diminishing organizational resilience far outweighs the challenges of cloud migration. With the right planning process, these challenges can be mitigated before the migration process even begins.

What are the top three factors tech leaders should consider before ERP cloud migration?

Start with critical systems, then go “all in.” Before you embark on cloud migration, it’s crucial to identify your critical systems. From there, you can mold your cloud architecture around these systems and begin the migration process.

Once this is complete, it is best practice to identify cohorts of systems that would be easy to migrate simultaneously. For example, move all applications dedicated to one business function over at the same time, rather than in chunks, to prevent business disruptions.

Understand the “data gravity” of your ERP vendor. Data gravity is the measure of how difficult it would be to move from one cloud provider to another, should the need arise in the future. Not understanding data gravity can lead to a host of implementation challenges—so be sure to ask this question of your vendor upfront so you work with the right partner from the start of migration.

Don’t wait! One of the biggest, and most common, mistakes I see companies make with ERP migration is waiting too long to officially make the move to the cloud. Reactive ERP cloud migration, as opposed to proactive, can hurt your organization’s competitive advantage in the marketplace and hinder the customer experience.

Are there any specific industries uniquely suited to embrace ERP cloud migration this year?

People-centric and service-centric organizations and industries, including non-profit, education and professional services, are always uniquely suited for digital transformation, and ERP cloud migration is no different. ERP cloud migration takes the burden off employees to complete tedious administrative tasks, opening their time to focus on projects that directly impact the business.

If employees can spend time more time communicating and supporting customers, rather than on administrative work, customer relationships will grow stronger, improving both retention and lead generation. 

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