The evolution of IT services with the new ERP Cloud solutions
To keep up with the new reality of ERP Cloud solutions, with all the innovation and improvements embedded in these new systems, the execution of IT services is undergoing a moment of transformation as well.
Benefits of Cloud Solutions for IT
With a budget increasingly directed to "keep the lights on" in the company, every IT department is going through an exciting (not to say challenging) time these days. Keeping legacy systems and their integrations on the air and, at the same time, dealing with the speed of transformation witnessed in technology, aligning IT with corporate strategies, and keeping the risk of cyber attacks or other security breaches under control are some of the challenges faced by IT executives in many different business segments of today's world.
However, the new reality made available by ERP Cloud solutions presents several benefits for the company as a whole. The differentials range from the IT department, with cost reductions in infrastructure and agility in systems maintenance, to the business areas, through the evolution of the functionalities required for the company's daily routine at a speed never seen before.
From the IT department's point of view, with the advent of these new solutions, we can observe positive impacts on the daily operation, allowing the use of time for strategic activities for the company's business. With this, the old scenario of "survival" begins to transform itself into a scenario of opportunities. IT starts to present itself as a catalyst for systemic and technological business innovation, becoming an important participant and influencer in the strategic decision of the company's directions. Time and energy previously spent on operational activities are now invested in nobler activities in the company.
The elimination of operational activities, such as server maintenance and system updates, due to its SaaS model, in which all the responsibility is transferred to the vendor, increases the focus on the business.
In this new scenario, the IT department's time starts to be invested in activities that effectively generate direct benefits for the company's business.
The contribution to the company's growth strategy and the identification of new solutions that present a competitive differential for the business are just two examples of the new possibilities created by the Cloud reality.
Changes in the way to deploy the ERP Cloud:
The deployment of ERP systems with long timelines, with several months of project time, and large multidisciplinary teams involved, is going through a transformation phase. We observe a moment of adaptation to a new reality that is much more dynamic and focused on "quick wins", with short shots in terms of project time and pursuit of results.
At the same time, it reinforces the concept of evolution of the implemented solution as a natural medium/long term path. The expression "the great is the enemy of the good" has never been heard so much these days!
Project activities become shorter, summarized, and many times eliminated in this new reality. Many methodologies are even being revised and adapted for this new Cloud scenario.
Process Definition vs Best Practice Adoption
Due to the set of business processes and best practices embedded in the ERP Cloud, the current process review activities for the definition of the future model (As-is and To-be) are being replaced by workshops of the Cloud solution, with the presentation not only of the new system, but how the various areas of the company should perform their work in alignment with this new solution.
Of the many examples that we can highlight, the purchase-to-pay process is one of the most illustrative: requisition, quotation, purchasing, receipt, and payment. It is a simple and objective flow based on the best market practices, in this process that involves several areas of the company such as requisitioners, purchasing team, then the financial department, and ending with the treasury department.
The new Cloud solutions, such as Oracle Fusion ERP (100% Cloud ERP solution from the American giant Oracle), offers a solution developed based on this process flow, allowing some variations, such as, for example, some approval steps between one area and another, but not running away from this concept already recognized by the market as being a best business practice.
It changes the way of working and, more than that, directs the company to a more efficient and transparent work environment, aligned with market trends.
As Cloud ERP solutions evolve, there is a growing presence of tools and functionalities to facilitate and accelerate the configuration of these new solutions. Configuration replication, setup copies, environment cloning, and parameterization wizards are some examples of available accelerators.
Another advantage is the presence of native integration of the Cloud solution with Excel spreadsheets, allowing simplified handling (and without the need for skilled labor) of the data to be loaded into the system. And at this point, still on the famous Excel spreadsheets, we verified several improvements in the data migration issue.
Basic data such as customer and supplier records, accounting plan, inventory items; and transactional data such as accounts payable transactions, accounts receivable invoicing, accounting entries, etc., can be uploaded to the ERP Cloud through different templates in Excel spreadsheet format. This is yet another activity that no longer requires a specialized IT resource to perform.
Another activity that has always been part of implementation projects for traditional ERP solutions: programming and development. Using again as a reference the Oracle Fusion ERP solution, programming and development activities are no longer part of the vast majority of Cloud solution implementation projects. New embedded technologies, in addition to the solution design based on the best market practices, allow the adoption of "zero customization" in projects of this type.
A great example of this is the BI tool embedded in Oracle's Cloud ERP solution. Through it, the business area itself is easily able to build customized reports according to their various needs for extracting data and information from the company's financial system.
Activities that previously required specialized IT professionals (developers and programmers), long waits and, in many cases, additional costs, are now performed by the users themselves.
The lack of information (that old complaint about the lack of reports), which has always been a common criticism of the most varied ERP implementation projects, is giving way to new concerns for the users: which information should be selected to provide valuable analysis for the development of the department?
Conclusion / Closing
The new concept presented by ERP Cloud solutions is promoting important changes in the way the respective implementation services will be executed from now on.
Greater agility, with shorter (or even extinct) phases, but, at the same time, ensuring the standard quality expected for projects of this importance.
Greater viability, with a lower cost for this type of undertaking that normally demands millionaire investments.
And, no less important, presenting a horizon of opportunities for the IT executive, who starts to play an increasingly prominent role in the company's strategic direction.