Cloud computing is a ubiquitous network access being adopted by both large and small corporations alike as they enter the digital space. Cloud computing has become a significant practice for businesses to embrace in order to become more advanced in the digital world.
Most organizations have adopted their own go-to strategy for cloud adoption. The opportunity to lower IT costs and to shorten long lead times of infrastructure projects has become highly attractive for companies and this is being enabled by a shift from fixed cost to “pay-per-use” models. On the flip side, there are a number of concerns around security, privacy, response latency and several aspects of data management such as local legal requirements, data migration, archiving and restoration. These risks have to be managed carefully during the design, implementation and operation of these Cloud initiatives.
In large enterprises, increased complexities are addressed by in-premise applications in order to satisfy process fragmentation, localisations or multiple integration needs between internal and external systems.
Due to the complex nature of supply chain processes and the multiple roles involved in them, Cloud SaaS offerings for the supply chain still lag behind compared to the functionality offered in in-premise applications.
This in many cases has resulted in high levels of integration challenges and bigger investments that cloud solutions need to overcome in order to justify investments or build the business case. As a result, existing legacy customisations which address process needs create major constraints for large corporations. This in turn hampers the execution of the cloud strategy for their supply chain applications.
Developing clear deployment roadmaps in combination with a robust business case and ROI model is one of the key deliverables during a Cloud strategy implementation. Identifying functionality gaps in existing on-premise customisations is an important aspect that needs to be considered during the development of these roadmaps he.
On-demand supply chain solutions available in the market today support simple versions of processes and therefore are best suited for small companies or, for larger enterprises with heavily customized legacy applications, allow their smaller countries to join a common standardized process platform coexisting with legacy applications.
One of the possibilities is to migrate from on premise customised functionalities to another existing platform in the company. The cost will be a critical dependency that will need to be managed which will be added to the business case and ROI model Process gap analysis, which involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance in conjunction with deep application knowledge, will help in recognizing critical gaps and propose alternate options.
For multi-country roll outs, it will only be reasonable to cluster countries without on-premise legacy constraints and to deploy them early into the Cloud as path finders. This option will imply the need to maintain two platforms- the new cloud platform and the on-premise legacy platform until the legacy areas are migrated and the legacy platform can be abandoned.
In short, when the deployment of SCM cloud solutions like process-functionality simplification, architecture gap analysis, program management, change management and business case developing, organizations need to be equipped with certain acute capabilities to become cloud ready.
By Jesus Oregui, Practice Partner, Value Chain Management, Consulting Services, Wipro Ltd.