It’s been amazing to see just how far cloud, DevOps, and the modern application have come. Over the years, I’ve been a part of a lot of migrations and initiatives to move services and entire application architectures into the cloud. Today, we’re starting to see organizations look at the fringes of cloud migration to support some of their most critical business functions. That said, moving an ERP into the cloud can be a daunting and even scary task. Look – this is your business engine. It runs many of the functions that help you go about your day-to-day tasks. It’s arguable one of the most important pieces of your organization. And, for the most part – it works.
But, with digital transformation already here, organizations are actively looking for ways to improve their competitive stance in the market and make themselves even more agile. Integration with ERP systems is huge. And, cloud can actually make this much easier.
Let me give you an ERP example: Oracle’s JD Edwards. This is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and supply chain management solution that provides ERP applications and tools for finance, consumer goods, human resources, distribution and manufacturing sectors. Furthermore, it supports organizations of all sizes. Over the course of more than 40 years, this solution has helped organizations run more effectively and has supported even the most advanced business functions. Now, cloud is knocking on the door.
But, before you jump on the ERP bandwagon, there are several reasons as to why so many organizations have hesitated in moving or modernizing these systems. This includes:
- Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Let’s be honest, not a lot of people have done this. And, it can be scary to move your entire business engine into the cloud. There aren’t a lot of uses-cases and moving these platforms can be really risky. Many organizations simply can’t afford this multi-million-dollar experiment.
- Some ERP systems have been in place for years; even decades. And you know what? They still work. Many organizations are ingrained in working with their ERP solution, but only on premise.
- Cost and Investment. Some enterprises have invested millions, and even tens of millions of dollars into their ERP systems. This includes years of development, investment in infrastructure, contracts, personnel, and so much more. You’d need to show some real ROI to even consider moving these systems to the cloud.
Now for some good news. Many businesses are realizing that to disrupt a digital-driven market, they must themselves be disrupted. This means breaking traditional deployment paradigms and looking at ways to migrate ERP systems like JD Edwards into the cloud; or create a powerful hybrid cloud ecosystem.
Migrating JD Edwards and other components into the cloud
Moving an ERP system into the cloud can be a seriously complex process. Plus, if you get it wrong, there can be serious consequences on the business. Remember, for an enterprise, ERP solutions like JD Edwards are literally their entire business engine. Once you overcome that fear, you begin to see the big picture and architect a design or the future.
The most successful migrations that I’ve seen have all been down through proof-of-concepts in parallel designs. Let’s say, for example, you wanted to move a part or all of your JD Edwards ecosystem into the cloud. To do so, you’d need to:
- Closely work with the business to understand how and where JD Edwards fits into the organization and the specific benefits your ERP system provides.
- From there, you’ll need to identify key gaps in business requirements. These are your drivers to migrate into the cloud. It could be as simple as agility and scale; or as complex as trying to integrate entire new functions into your ERP system.
- Once you understand your gaps, it’s time to analyze the underlying landscape. How is your JDE environment being housed? Are there a lot of legacy components? Who will need to be involved as part of the migration? Understanding what you have today will go a long way in helping you design for the future.
- On that note, you’ll start to create a vision of the target cloud solution. This means working with a good partner to help you outline the JDE roadmap as a transformation project.
Staying on the example of JDE, there are a lot of big benefits in moving to the cloud. You’ll experience added flexibility, cost savings and resiliency that only cloud can provide. As Oracle points out:
The real reason JDE users should be pursuing a cloud migration now is that it could be the first step toward greater innovation and success in the era of digital transformation. With a JD Edwards cloud migration strategy centered around innovation, you can position your organization to benefit from groundbreaking new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and automation.
JD Edwards recommends that your cloud strategy include elements of software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service:
- SaaS to complement your JDE apps
- PaaS to extend your JDE apps
- IaaS to optimize your JDE apps
That said, moving an ERP system is a truly multi-faceted approach. However, it’s also one that could yield major business benefits. Unlike traditional applications, however, I really recommend you work with a good partner on this. This is a longer-term project that can, literally, revolutionize the way you do business in a digital economy. This is where you’ll need to challenge your partners to help you digitize your footprint in the cloud and grow your business in the cloud economy. Moving an ERP system does not need to be a nightmare. A good approach can absolutely make this kind of project feasible; yielding some pretty amazing technology and business results.