The implementation of Cloud ERP and business applications is now seen as a primary enabler of the digitally enabled business. Making a good selection and running a smooth implementation is vital.
Over the past four decades, organisations have relied on business applications to achieve strategic objectives. Investment in an ever-changing array of applications has been critical in helping organisations to grow and thrive.
While much has changed in the business application landscape over these years, the core challenges remain the same. Today’s organisations are still faced with the question of how best to align digital, business and application strategies. How can business applications deliver greater efficiency, competitive advantage and value-added products and services? And, how do you integrate it all together?
In an increasingly competitive and fast-moving business environment, organisations are under enormous pressure to deliver ambitious improvement, optimisation and transformation initiatives. Business applications are crucial in enabling these changes, but it is vital to remember that business applications are just one element of business transformation, and organisations must fully understand the wider organisational changes and decisions involved in delivering transformation.
Rather than asking, “How do we move this to the cloud?” the question should be, “How do we increase our competitive advantage, and could business cloud applications be an effective way to enable that strategy?”
It’s crucial for organisations to understand where “cloud” does and does not fit in their future roadmap. Whether it be an enterprise cloud ERP solution or a hybrid approach, organisations must ensure that they have the right capabilities to deliver the required business outcome.
In the next 5 – 10 years on-premise solutions will no longer be maintained by software vendors, and the direction of the market will continue to move towards cloud. You can sweat the asset, but at some point, in the near future your software vendor will dictate a roadmap and attempt to take the choice of when you make the move to cloud away from you.
At Searchlight Consulting, we believe that your business application roadmap should be led by business needs, rather than being forced by your software vendor. We have delivered basic Finance, complex ERP, CRM and supply chain management (SCM) solutions across a range of industries and from a different software vendors. In the last 3-5 years, cloud-based solutions have dominated the selection process and our implementation projects – we have evaluated and delivered SAP S/4HANA and Business ByDesign, Oracle Fusion and Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Finance & Operations and Dynamics CRM, Infor CloudSuite, IFS and The Access Group.
Engaging Searchlight in procurement selection, our clients have typically saved an additional 10%-20% over and above the typical discounts offered by vendors. We have ensured that our clients and their systems integration partners have the right commercial agreements in place and have led projects to successful delivery.
Through this work, we have had to address a number of significant challenges:
- Many cloud vendors do not have a complete business solution, infrastructure or service delivery models that compare to the maturity of on-premise offerings
- The products have not been implemented thousands of times, and whilst they are maturing rapidly, there are often gaps and they offer a reduced capability in comparison to previous on-premise solutions
- The solutions are not always fully understood by systems integrators and support partners
- Businesses have not always fully understood the implications of the move to a cloud operating model – from either a business, finance or IT perspective
- Business functions need to understand the limitations of cloud i.e. they may not be able to make the software work precisely the way that they want, and need to understand how the continuous updates will introduce work for everybody as they seek to assess changes and new functionality
- Data and process integration, as well as compliance and control becomes more complex when you are working with applications on multiple cloud platforms and hybrid cloud/on-premise landscapes
We help clients to address these challenges, make sense of the cloud ERP and enterprise application market, providing:
- Strategy alignment and enterprise architecture-led planning
- Business capability assessment and requirements analysis
- Product and integration partner selection, negotiation and commercial engagement
- Client-side delivery assurance
- Programme and project leadership, across all work streams with specific expertise in functional leadership, data migration, testing, organisational readiness and change management
- Cloud operating models and technology management organisation design