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    Thursday
    Jun072018

    Ending 'Upgrades' Once and For All

    About a hundred years ago (ok, it was not actually that long, just feels like it some days), I participated in my first, real 'Enterprise' technology project - helping to implement an Oracle E-Business Suite solution for a foreign division of a massive US-based telecommunications company. Even with that small, early scope, (the project continued for some years covering more and more countries), it was a pretty substantial piece of work.

    We needed DBA's to configure our servers, install the Oracle Applications, and do 'normal' maintenance like patching, load balancing, security, and cloning, (basically creating copies of application setups and configurations to create test, QA, and development environments). 

    We needed Analysts to figure out the business requirements, map these to the application functions, set up the apps accordingly, run tests, identify gaps, and train the end users.

    We needed Programmers to develop custom data loader programs and custom interfaces to other systems that the Oracle Apps needed to feed, or to be fed data by. And of course these programmers needed to develop custom capability that the business needed but the Apps, as least out of the box, could not provide. And don't get me started on all the custom reports that had to be built - even for a small implementation in one country initially.

    Add in to all this documentation, test plans, user process scripts, communication, change management - and the countless other things that need to be done in order, back then, to complete a successful implementation of traditional, (read on-premise), enterprise technology.

    And after all that work, all that time, resource allocation, investment and effort, after it was all done and the system was live do you know what we found? That by then Oracle had released a brand new, better, more capable and upgraded version of the Applications, and if we and the users really wanted the latest and best functionality we had to, wait for it - upgrade.

    But the problem was back then, and to some extent for many companies this is still true today, an upgrade was almost as much work as the initial implementation. The upgrade from one version of a large, on-premise, set of enterprise applications, (with customizations and interfaces), required the efforts of all those same groups of people mentioned above. Upgrades were really manual, required tons of validation and testing, and if the functionality had changed enough, also necessitated significant user training and change management efforts. Frankly, upgrades stunk. And so many organizations running enterprise apps on-premise avoided them as much as they could, preferring to stick with and maintain older versions, (with fewer features and capabilities), as the tradeoff. And that tradeoff has perpetuated. Way longer than most of us thought it might.

    Even in 2018, in this time when we like to assume that every large organization has moved their enterprise systems for Finance, HR, Operations, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, etc. to the cloud, many large organizations have not, and are still running versions of on-premise Enterprise solutions, as the cost, complexity, and resources needed to do a 'upgrade to the cloud' were just as massive and daunting as the old on-premise upgrades were back then. In fact, many of these cloud migrations are not upgrades at all in the classic sense - they are full-on re-implementations - huge technical and functional projects that as I said, many firms have continued to avoid or postpone.

    Sorry for the history lesson, but it's important for the news I wanted to share today.  

    Earlier this week, and in a way that particularly resonated for me given my history with Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle announced the Oracle "Soar to the Cloud" solution - an automated set to tools and processes to enable customers running older versions of Oracle Applications on-premise to migrate to the Oracle Fusion ERP in the Cloud solutions much faster than ever before, and with the assurance that data will be migrated, configurations will be applied consistently in the cloud, and even any customizations done on-premise will be addressed with a new library of pluggable Fusion ERP integration capabilities.

    If you want to deep dive into the nuts and bolts how this process will work, take a look at this video of the presentation made this week by Larry Ellison, Oracle CTO and Chairman, as he walks through the process. But even if you don't need r want to understand all the technical details - just remember this - the Oracle Soar to the Cloud program promises to make your organization's 'upgrade' to the cloud truly the last upgrade (in the traditional sense), that you will have to undertake.

    Once you make it to the Cloud - your organization can get the benefit of regular, continuous, and frictionless updates to your enterprise apps - making the ability to adopt new capabilities, remain compliant with new regulations, and move more quickly and innovate more rapidly than at any time in the past. 

    Your organization probably knows you want/need to be in the Cloud for these reasons and more.

    But if you are in one of the organizations that for one reason or another has avoided the cloud, avoided the dreaded 'upgrade' - this new Soar to the Cloud program might be just what you need to kick start those plans. 

    Learn more at Oracle Soar

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