Cloud Technology Insights

Achieving Operational Excellence with Cloud Technology

By Lisa Pope, SVP, Global Strategy and Sales, Infor CloudSuite

Lisa Pope, SVP, Global Strategy and Sales, Infor CloudSuite

Market complexity continues to increase across every industry including retail, manufacturing, healthcare and others ., and it is important for companies to recognize this continual shift and better manage processes and deliver operational improvements needed to streamline the impact.

"Moving operations to the cloud better supports a fast-changing business environment, which provides users with common real-time data, workflow, and alerts"

The first step is having access to data, which can be fueled by cloud technology, and this data has to be current in order to be relevant to the business. While it is important to have historic data to identify trends and make comparisons, dated data may compromise operational decisions, ultimately having negative impact over the business.

By analyzing real-time data throughout an organization, users can confidently identify areas of underperformance, production or bottlenecks, and poorly selling product lines. Management will be able to quickly hear about changes in customers’ orders, delays in raw material delivery, and revisions to scheduling. It means a business can react much faster to situations that affect the services provided.

However, to be operationally ef­ficient, organizations need to ensure that the information then flows to other relevant users. By automating and streamlining processes from de­partment to department or person to person, it creates a holistic, integrat­ed decision-making environment, where users can make proactive op­erational decisions at every level of the business. As an outcome, a com­pany becomes much more agile, and accelerates the rate at which custom­ers can be served and products go to market—delivering a stronger com­petitive position.

Modern Technologies Fuel Better Decision-Making

ERP development has now risen to the challenge. Better integration, improved workspaces and dash­boards, and better reporting capa­bilities make these solutions more personal, and facilitate more flexible and efficient processes.

By embracing key modern forces such as mobility, cloud and big data, ERP systems can deliver functional­ity while liberating and presenting the information needed to drive op­erational excellence. ERP systems have also evolved based on new re­quirements of modern IT users, who make purchases, collaborate, and communicate via online applications every day. The line between the style of systems used in your personal life and in your business is now becom­ing blurred as the demand for fa­miliar consumerized technologies increases. Because of this ERP evo­lution, organizations can consume information quicker and from many sources, on the go or at a desk, from any device. Decisions can be made much more confidently based on more qualitative information.

This especially rings true with cloud technology. Moving operations to the cloud better supports a fast-changing business environment, which provides users with common real-time data, workflow, and alerts. With that information, organizations can rapidly get third-party manufacturers, new suppliers, and channel partners on board, as well as quickly integrate new and legacy applications. Network can become an open functional space, and users can easily add, refine, and change capabilities on demand with no impact to other applications. With cloud computing, organizations ultimately get the infrastructure needed to implement a global plant floor, overcoming the lack of connectivity with international sites posed by regional systems. Data can then flow more freely, and reporting and analysis for decision-making can be more comprehensive.

So How to Get There?

Where does your company sit in this continually evolving spectrum of adoption of disruptive technologies, including cloud deployment of IT solutions? Are you in the forefront of progress and seizing new opportunities or lagging behind?

Below are some basic steps your organization can take to help make a more informed decision on deployment options in 2016:

1. Do not settle for anecdotal tales and keep the facts at the forefront.

2. Research should be as latestas possible. Outdated information is still out there. This is a fast changing business environment with fast changing issues and even faster changing solutions. Look for dates on the materials you read.

3. There are many verticals and micro verticals in this industry. Look for examples that are relevant to you. Do you design nuclear submarines or supply parts to the people who design nuclear submarines? Both are important. Each has unique needs. Depending on your niche, your ERP system—and cloud security needs—may be vastly different.

4. Flexibility is key. Understand that IT solutions have changed substantially in recent years. What you thought you wanted may no longer be the best option. Be open to following where your research leads, even if it leads in a totally new direction.

5. Do not let a compressed schedule force you into making hasty decisions.

6. Get the right team involved. Choosing new IT solutions, and deployment options, is a major undertaking. Bring in team members to share the workload and to share ideas.

7. Look at the whole picture. Consider many factors, including the total cost of ownership, flexibility, and functionality. Consider long-term growth as well as short–term needs.

8. Choose suppliers with industry expertise. Your industry is complex. Work with vendors who understand it, inside and out.

9. Be prepared for the unknown. No one truly knows what the next disruptive technology will be. Innovations in IT happen at an astounding rate. Your best option is to choose solutions that are flexible and vendors who are forward-thinking and investing in product innovation.

10. Get moving Delaying action is a mistake. Indecision costs money—and may cost you your position within the market.

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