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January 19, 2017
4 Best Practices for Cloud Activation
By Frederic Portal, Ataway Director of Strategy & Alliance
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Computing has never stopped changing and evolving since when it started four decades ago, moving from mainframe/batch transaction processing during the pre-1970s to the rise of PCs in the 1980s, the Dot.Com revolution in the 1990s, and finally, a combination of Web 2.0 and outsourcing in 2000.

According to Gartner, Inc., more than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to the Cloud during the next five years. This will make Cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending since the early days of the digital age.

More enterprises are moving applications to the Cloud every day, seeking faster implementations, more flexibility and lower costs. Cloud has become the backbone for most IT infrastructures. As a company, you have probably heard a lot about the benefits of the Cloud and want to move there. We want to help by providing you with 4 points to consider before activating your Cloud solution.

1. Cloud Communication
One of the key elements of success on a Cloud project is communication. More than ever, employees need to understand the strategic vision of the Cloud adoption as well as the benefits for the entire organization. You need to make sure to educate users so that they understand the tradeoffs between on-premises and Cloud applications. For example, if a user complains that there is no more IT to build features, you can let them know that now in the Cloud, applications deliver twice a year (on average). That is way faster than on premise solutions. Cloud technology enables your organization to avoid the complications of technology evolutions. Cloud computing always provides access to the latest technology. Another thing to consider is that you do not need a mobile application. It is already mobile! In the past, the upgrade of an on-demand application was happening on a long scale and features were not always rolled out because of your customizations. So, yes, Cloud applications bring a lot of value and changes, and users need to be prepared for it.

2. Change Management
Based on our experience and our customers’ experiences, “change management” is going to be one of the biggest considerations. Even if your systems are ready to roll, you need to make sure that the business team is comfortable with the new systems. We hear of customers pushing the go live date, not because the system wasn’t ready, but because the people weren’t ready.

3. Configuration Options
When you are starting your digital transformation by activating your Cloud solution, you will need to set up the configuration options with your partner. Take time to consider the downstream effects of your configuration decisions. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. For example, choosing a long field name will take up valuable screen space in the reporting tools. If you don’t know the impact of a certain configuration, research it, ask your implementation partner or talk to a user group.

4. Customizations
Technically, a customization refers to changing software code. This is not recommended except in extreme circumstances (because you may encounter issues when upgrades come around). In a Cloud environment, what people really have in the back of their minds is "How can my software adapt when my business model changes? Is the system flexible enough?" Therefore, when you evaluate a Cloud application, you will need to examine the native features that permit configuration.

Now, with Cloud platforms such as Oracle Cloud, you have a lot of the configurability within the applications. One example is the use of flex fields to carry data over different transactions if a field is missing in your particular process. You can also extend your application leveraging Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers.

Not having a plethora of customizations is a good thing. When I was working at Oracle, I had a customer that was in 7.5 totally customized, and they used PeopleTools to do everything. However, they couldn’t upgrade or leverage support. Having a system with few customizations can work in your favor and helps you through the upgrade and maintenance process. In the Cloud, it means adopting new feature functions every six months!

Finally, Leverage Your Partnership with Your Partner
Your partner has developed a strong relationship with Oracle over the years. As an example, Ataway is a Platinum Partner of Oracle since 2000 with a Cloud Specialization. Ataway also has a lot of employees who have worked at Oracle in development, strategy, etc.… They have a good relationship with Oracle executives, and they will help you get the right person to talk to. For Cloud implementations, Oracle has also created new roles in the recent year: Customer Success Manager (CSM), Strategic Account Customer Success Manager (SA CSM), etc.… to support customers.

Interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of a cloud solution to support your digital transformation? The Ataway Cloud team is here to help you and make your digital transformation a success. Consider talking to one of our local Ataway offices. Ataway has worked on several Cloud activations and can help you. Consult with Ataway’s team of experts today to learn more. 

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