While the sun shone brightly over San Francisco, it was the Cloud that dominated conversation at Oracle OpenWorld this year. Although Oracle projected a future heavily invested in Cloud, many conference-goers throughout the week were skeptical. When asked their thoughts on how their organization would adopt a cloud strategy, many of them struggled to articulate a plan.
Adoption of new technology takes time since users of on-premise systems may be hesitant to make the leap to the cloud. It seems that the missing element for most companies is a clear roadmap. This shift to the cloud has been compared to making a 180 degree turn in a cruise ship, implying that the process would be a long and indirect course.
What seemed to be missing from the cloud discussion was any mention of a hybrid approach – an approach that the majority of CIOs are currently planning for. According to a CIOInsight.com survey, “Eighty-seven percent of respondents say cloud solutions are important to their business. However, 83 percent assign similar importance to on-premise solutions. These results suggest a bright future for hybrid environments that integrate on-premise and cloud-based applications, according to the report.” Despite this trend toward a hybrid model, Oracle seems to be pushing an “all in” approach.
The Hybrid adoption methodology makes more sense for many of the customers I have spoken with. The Cloud means change, and many organizations are not equipped to handle rapid change in processes or functionality. Adding to the confusion, many on-premise applications such as PeopleSoft are now offering “cloud-like” functionality that nullifies top cloud drivers such as reduction in complexity and increase in business agility. At BTRG we see many of our customers benefitting from these new cloudlike features by upgrading to PeopleSoft v9.2. During the upgrade process BTRG helps organizations streamline their business by driving PeopleSoft’s delivered best practices. The result is that many of our customers are reducing customizations by up to 40%. Additionally, PeopleSoft now offers customers the opportunity to take on new features and functionality with relative ease through the use of PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM). Finally, with PeopleSoft’s Fluid UI, customers are taking advantage of fully integrated mobile capabilities and modernizing their business. All of these new features are direct competitors of cloud options and allow the customer to stay on a system they are familiar with.
The Cloud movement is real, but it won’t render on premise applications obsolete just yet. Although Oracle has been marketing cloud heavily as a stand-alone solution, it’s likely that many organizations will rely on a mix of on-premise and cloud applications for the next 10-20 years. The implementation of Cloud does not have to be, nor should it be, a quick decision. At BTRG we recommend utilizing new cloud-like functionality in on-premise solutions first, then integrating cloud applications where and when they make sense. The Cloud is not an all or nothing game. While there are quite a few instances in which an all Cloud strategy makes sense, a realistic environment for most of the market entails a blend of on premise and cloud applications. The ratio varies from client to client and is changing continuously. Adopting a Cloud strategy is an important decision, and we believe smart decisions start with intelligent dialogue. In navigating these muddy waters, having a trusted advisor by your side who understands Oracle’s Cloud roadmap for the future is strategic, if not essential.