How to Modernize ERP for a Multi-Cloud World

As Enterprise Resource Planning technology grows more complex and cloud offerings mature, IT decision makers now expect to have the flexibility to run applications where they make the most sense.

That’s why multi-cloud environments are becoming increasingly popular, allowing IT leaders to choose their hosting environments based on factors such as convenience, cost and operational efficiency. In fact, a recent study from Gartner found a multi-cloud strategy will become common for 70 percent of enterprises by 2019.

Many companies are now modernizing their ERP systems to match their evolving technology stack. In fact, 2017 saw the highest levels of cloud adoption to date — a rise projected to increase over time.

You may have already decided your organization needs to make modernising ERP for a multi-cloud world a priority. Before you get started on this initiative, take a look at the tips below for some advice and best practices:

Planning and process mapping

When it comes to modernising your ERP systems, planning is the key to a successful outcome. Whether you’re running SAP, Oracle or AWS, your applications are essential and downtime is not an option during the transition to the clouds.

Take the time to assess where your applications should be living. One of the major benefits of a multi-cloud approach is that it allows for each application to live on the cloud platform it’s best suited for. Understand which cloud platform comes with what strengths and match your applications accordingly.

To eliminate downtime, determine realistic estimates of time required and the cost of transition within your plan. Rely on unified management techniques to make this transition risk-free and keep security requirements as an overarching priority throughout the process. Remember that good planning can go a long way, and partnering with a managed service provider can play a major role in helping plan out the shift to a multi-cloud strategy.

Data migration

One of the main challenges of putting together a multi-cloud environment is migrating and integrating data within your specific applications. Start by conducting an audit of your pre-existing data including: structure, age and priority level. Then conduct a cloud readiness assessment for your applications — this will allow you to evaluate your applications, infrastructure and data readiness for the cloud.

The data migration process is a great time to clean up your pre-existing applications. It may be time to review your portfolio and take a look at your cost structure in order to identify the best-fitting platforms for your multi-cloud world. Once you’ve made a decision, make sure your data has also been prioritised in terms of tiered migration importance; what data needs to be migrated by the go-live date, which data can be archived and which data sets can wait to be converted.

Managing and training

A multi-cloud environment means managing multiple providers, which can be a challenge in itself as you’ll want to take advantage of cloud capabilities while maintaining an appropriate level of technology governance and oversight. Aim to find the balance between governance and innovation while achieving your multi-cloud model objectives. Training can be a huge component to ensuring success.

The transfer of knowledge is critical, especially during the early stages of this transformation. Make sure that your employees map to the necessary experience required and bank on having an orientation period that properly trains and equips IT staff with the skills and tools to make a multi-cloud-based ERP system possible. Use your application service providers to assist with all levels of training, development and prioritisation to help your staff ease into this transitional period.

Like it or not, multi-cloud is the new normal. For companies that haven’t made the move to cloud-based ERP yet, it’s simply a matter of time. Start preparing your company for this change by delivering a plan of action. In doing so, you’ll experience operational efficiencies at a higher degree and you’ll set the foundation that’s needed to experience the next wave of digital transformation. If your enterprise wants to stay competitive and achieve maximum ROI, then a multi-cloud-based ERP model could be the answer you’ve been searching for.

Rackspace Application Services delivers Fanatical Support and expertise for your applications, including custom Java and .NET, Oracle Commerce, Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager and SAP Hybris. With aggressive SLAs and our application-specific expertise, you can focus on your business outcomes while we optimise the customer experience.

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Gina Murphy is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Rackspace Application Services. She is responsible for the company's portfolio of managed services for mission-critical applications our customers are using to manage core functions across their businesses.   Prior to this role, Gina served as Chief Operating Officer for TriCore Solutions, a leader in the management of enterprise applications that was acquired by Rackspace in June 2017. Before joining TriCore, she was the Vice President of Solution Architects at NaviSite where she managed a global team responsible for providing technical sales engineering and solutions to enterprise customers.   Gina has also held management positions in information technology, business management systems, technical training, and operations with Surebridge, TVGuide and Lightbridge.   She holds a Bachelor of Art in Communication from Stonehill College.


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