Technology often drives enterprise systems. It seems every 10 years or so we are faced with a new shift in technology that requires re-thinking business processes. The most impactful shifts in memory were mainframe to PC in the 1980s and 90s, PC to web in the 2000s, and on-premise to cloud today. The result of these innovations is a modern business environment that is fundamentally different than it was 30 years ago.

We all witnessed the shift from mainframes to PCs when client/server technology allowed business people access to information that previously was limited to data processing staff and computer science experts. It’s hard to imagine today that the concept of downloading finance or HR data to an Excel spreadsheet was a privilege. Then the shift to the web not only changed enterprise systems but it opened up business decision making to information outside the corporate firewall. Merging social information with our coveted enterprise data made our market insight’s relevant and timely. We were suddenly all connected to this data via various platforms including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Today’s workforce is plugged in 24/7, whether they’re at work, on the beach, or touring a different country.

While the shift to cloud applications started almost 10 years ago, it was slow to get traction with business leaders until recently. Early trail blazers had innovative ideas, but lacked a viable business model. Fueled by private equity and investment hype, popular tech companies became household names by joining the cloud movement without a sustainable business model. By contrast, Oracle did their homework and has leveraged their technical and database dominance to give customers choices in the cloud. Their efforts are strategic, as there seems little doubt that eventually we’ll all be running our enterprise applications in the cloud. Aside from the economic efficiencies, we’re now seeing innovation and features delivered and adopted in cloud applications that simply can’t be matched by on-premise solutions.

Business agility is a competitive differentiator for cloud applications that is often overlooked by management, who simply want to lower the cost of ERP. Take two similar organizations that sell the same products and services. The one on yesterday’s technology will soon fall behind in system capabilities and functionality. While management is calculating the burden of procuring servers, infrastructure and maintaining software, the competitor is adopting new ways to attract talent, analyze product profitability and streamline their supply chain. This shift away from running enterprise software to just “using it” is monumental.

While many of our customers understand the benefits of Cloud, there exists some uncertainty around cost. We’re likely to debate the cost savings associated with switching to enterprise cloud applications, however, there’s little doubt that the most admired and innovative companies in the next 10 years will have more modern applications running on the cloud. From our perspective, this is a decision with strategic implications that cannot be reduced to cost alone.

BTRG has been implementing on-premise Finance and HCM solutions for 23 years. Internally we’ve committed to running our own business on the cloud. It began 5 years ago when we switched all of our email and collaborative systems to Google and it continues with Oracle Finance Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud and Taleo and Oracle Sales Cloud.

Customers ask me, “Are Oracle Cloud applications mature enough to replace my trusted on-premise solutions?”, and the answer is “Yes”!

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