Helping C-Suite Innovate With ERP Cloud

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 15, 2017

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ERP cloud solutions have matured rapidly in recent years. Today, even core transactional processes in finance and procurement can be supported in a way that is suitable for most organizations. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Ajay Kumar, Senior Director, Sales Consulting, ERP & EPM (India), Oracle, highlights reasons why on the gains ERP clouds can bring to business and how Oracle is helping C-Suite Innovate With ERP Cloud.

 CXOToday: What is the reason that organisations are putting up their ERP on cloud?

Ajay Kumar: When looking at the full spectrum of ERP, we see that organizations usually start to adopt cloud applications to add value to distinctive business processes such as surrounding core business applications. For example, an organization might continue with Financials and procurement on traditional on prem system, but may move logistics operations to cloud.

Another reason is the increasing realization that business need to focus more on its core competence and not spend too much time and energy on IT maintenance. CxOs are diverting energies to process innovation instead of spending it on running and maintaining archaic systems.

Cloud applications enable the business to implement new functionality with agility and at a lower cost than traditional on-premise implementations. With cloud applications, IT is focused on innovation, and leave day to day maintenance to cloud service provider..ERP cloud applications enable business leaders to act immediately if they need to scale. Typically, after a pilot period, they can evaluate success and decide in what manner and at which pace the functionality can be rolled out in the business.

Additionally, increasing demand from SME’s is expected to propel the growth of cloud ERP in India. Low IT manpower, low operational cost, data backup and recovery are some of the benefits which are making SMEs to choose cloud ERP.

CXOToday: Which are the sectors opting for ERP in cloud/ where do you see growth coming in for the ERP sector?

Ajay Kumar: Some of the sectors which continue to extensively adopt cloud ERP are financial services, healthcare, retail, oil and gas and transportation. In the coming years, the ERP sector is predicted to be driven by enterprises who see cloud-based systems as more agile and responsive to their changing business model needs. With ERP cloud having the potential to streamline business processes and increase productivity, lower costs, and improve controls, this technology is sure to take growth of enterprises, across industries, to the next level.

Further, the increasing popularity of social media platforms and mobile technology, and its use as standard capabilities in business applications, are becoming significant incentives for companies to invest in cloud-based ERP solutions. Enterprises can now also integrate cloud-based solutiuonswith legacy ERP systems — creating Hybrid ERP systems. This is why Gartner predicts that by 2018, at least 30 percent of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud. Specifically, aerospace, defence, energy and the aviation industry will see an increase in the adoption of cloud ERP.

CXOToday: What are some of the challenges faced by CFOs today?

Ajay Kumar: The primary challenge is that today it’s harder than ever for CFOs in India to reasonably predict what the future holds – as businesses are evolving faster than ever and unpredictable macroeconomic events such as,sweeping regulatory changes like GST, global events like US disengagement from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), are becoming commonplace. CFOs need to find a way to better predict external market conditions while having complete visibility of internal business performance.  Also, no one wants to take decision based on historical information, forecasting is fast changing to “nowcasting”.

Technology innovations like Adaptive Intelligence, Robotic process automation and Internet of Things are becoming standard business IT tools. Linked to this challenge is the CFO’s role in helping the business react to digital disruption. CFOs need to understand how digital technologies can enable more customer-centric business models, while increasing employee productivity. Data is critical – CFOs need to ensure they have access to all relevant data to power these services as well as improve their general decision-making. Having access to the right data is now a competitive differentiator. Further, CFOs are finding that they are no longer traditional book-keepers and accountants, but, the CEO and the board rely on them to offer strategic inputs and drive innovation. In the past, CFOs relied on a small and trusted team to analyse business data such as financial performance, sales figures and employee productivity; and they drew their own conclusions from the data. New digital capabilities mean ‘machines’ can now analyse data much more efficiently and effectively than humans. This is why CFOs are increasingly tasked to derive actionable insights from vast volumes of data, rather than simply analysing reports.

CXOToday: What are the concerns that organisations have before getting on the cloud?

Ajay Kumar: The primary concern for many organizations is understanding whether their existing on-premise system is available on Cloud or not, and whether its functionality would change because of this transformation. Many a times, organizations feel that some of their current business processes will have to be dropped in order to fit the standard software corset, or they find it difficult to determine which variant of Cloud ERP architecture and licensing model would suit them the best.

Perceptions about data security is another concern that almost all organizations have with cloud technology, as it conjures up a vision of even higher risk levels. Very few organizations are actually able to understand that while the risk of data loss is inevitable, cloud can enable a higher degree of data security than they could implement otherwise.

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Picking the right partner who can enable the transformation of their business processes to cloud-based ERP solutions. They need an expert, equipped with flexible, intuitive, and accessible cloud-based tools, and a partner who can recommend and guide them through this transformational journey by providing best-in-class services and solutions.

The most significant challenge of all that organizations face, however, is managing change and disruption. Relinquishing a small part of control on IT code to gain substantial technology benefits need a change management across the entire length and breadth of an organization.

CXOToday: What is the edge Oracle ERP has over other players in the industry?

Ajay Kumar: Oracle is one of the few vendors that can comprehensively support the disparate needs of all -small, medium and large enterprises in the Cloud, with scalability, flexibility and agility in the face of constant economic, political and regulatory uncertainty.In fact, Oracle ERP Cloud was named a leader in 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for cloud core financial management suites. Oracle also offers a complete set of solutions for extending IT capabilities to other parts of business like logistics, warehouse management, HCM, sales, customer service and marketing. Oracle also offers a set of technology solutions on cloud for organizations to both develop new IT capabilities on cloud and move existing IT workloads to cloud.

Further to our commitment towards our customers, we have announced Oracle ERP Cloud that delivers built-in features to facilitate compliance with GST regulations. During recently concluded Oracle OpenWorld in San Fransisco, Oracle also announced that Oracle ERP cloud significantly extended the breadth and the depth of the solution, including the introduction of new artificial intelligence (AI)-based finance and procurement solutions. Availability of robust, feature-rich ERP cloud applications, ease of deployment, pay-per-use model and lowering of costs have been driving the adoption of ERP cloud solutions across industries, and are some of the other characteristics that set Oracle ERP cloud solutions apart.

Additionally, with Oracle ERP cloud, customers do not need to invest in performance tuning, downtime schedules, security, and disaster recovery site and apply patches. All this lies within Oracle ERP Cloud.Moreover, they do not need to incur cost on Infrastructure Software like Operating Systems, Backup Solutions, and Disaster Recovery Sites, and do not need to worry about upgrades. Oracle makes sure that customers’ Software is upgraded to latest release of Cloud ERP Applications.

CXOToday: When it comes to ERP market, how do you see market segmentation and where does Oracle’s strength lie?

Ajay Kumar: As pointed out earlier, Oracle is one of the few vendors that can comprehensively support the disparate needs of small, medium and large enterprises in the Cloud with scalability, flexibility and agility in the face of constant economic, political and regulatory uncertainty. With capabilities from NetSuite in our kitty, Oracle is ready to serve all the segments of the market.

Time to respond to a customer’s needs remains the most critical factor for all organisations across whether they are large enterprises or SMBs. Bookkeeping software, spreadsheets, emails etc are redundant today. The organisations need to take advantage of SMAC – social, mobile, analytics and cloud. With Oracle ERP solutions, organizations can innovate, adopt more efficient ways of doing business and scale their operations as they grow further.

CXOToday: How do you see the Oracle acquisition of NetSuite changing the market dynamics going forward? What does this association mean for the industry at large?

Ajay Kumar: It has been a year that the acquisition had happened, and Oracle has acknowledged NetSuite’s ERP as the company’s “largest pillar”. This acquisition has been the largest acquisition in more than a decade, and the largest SaaS acquisition till date. For example, Netsuite, as a solution, will coexist with Oracle’s other cloud offerings and will cater to some specific market segments. This is a solution that was born in cloud and it strengthens Oracle’s overall cloud portfolio. At the just concluded Oracle OpenWorld, NetSuite announced the availability of the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service for its customers and partners. This integration has given NetSuite’s customers and partners access to the innovation in distributed ledger applications being developed on Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service by Oracle’s partner ecosystem. NetSuite also announced the release of Oracle NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, which gives customers sophisticated financial planning and budgeting capabilities across lines of business.The acquisition has given our customers the advantage of solutions according to their requirements, and they can now receive insights to make the best possible decisions.

This acquisition has allowed Oracle to serve a broader range of customer base, including smaller businesses, and helped us in expanding to diverse verticals and locations, thereby, furthering the push of Oracle’s application software into the cloud.