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The four A's of cloud adoption

Shaun Han, Vice President of Applications, ASEAN, Oracle Corporation | March 3, 2015
Enterprise leaders should develop a strategic plan for evaluating the potential risks of shifting business processes to the cloud.

3. Alignment of Processes

Returns from any business software rollout are dependent on the careful mapping of current business processes with data and user interaction flows in the application used. The cloud infrastructure makes the transition more challenging, as there is no opportunity to customise the application beyond some personalisations.

The board must map all the processes it is moving to the cloud to the flows of the vendor application, and make necessary modifications in the way things are done before the transition is decided on - not when facing challenges after the migration. The board must clearly outline the business processes that are going to the cloud, fix the integration points with existing on-premises infrastructure, and ensure none of the existing investments in on-premises and other application infrastructure are undermined. It is, of course, easier to tackle this challenge if some part of the existing business application is already supported by the vendor that is under consideration.

4. Acceptance of Personnel

The success of any IT project depends on how the user community accepts the rolled out application. The board must finalise the incremental training effort to ensure the rollouts are a success. Moving to the cloud for the first time also requires the setting of expectations for the IT operations team, which has been used to owning the entire infrastructure so far. Finally, when internal-facing applications are moved to cloud, the extent of benefit realisation often depends on the eventual streamlining of jobs. Many users of the system may see their jobs and tasks realigned over time. As such, is it imperative for the board to prepare the affected users and address their apprehensions in time, so that the transition to cloud does not cast a gloom upon the workforce.

For far too long, companies have left the ownership of business processes in IT applications to the in-house IT team. By moving IT processes to a capable and responsible risk evaluation and contingency planning board, and adopting the "Four A's" framework outlined above, organisations will thus be better placed to ease the inevitable process of cloud adoption in the enterprise.


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