Cloudy with a chance of ERP
Ahmed Sami, Regional Director at Oracle Netsuite, talks about why the future of ERP and other business software is cloud
What is driving the adoption of cloud ERP?
As the global market dynamics shift towards adopting a cloud model, I feel that the level of adoption in the Middle East far exceeds market expectations. This is because of a number of reasons. Over the past two years, we have had discussions around adoption of cloud ERP with organisations ranging from start-ups to global enterprises. While, initially, most had concerns about the security of their data residing on the cloud, there has now been a change in their mindset. The discussions have now moved from ‘whether a company should move to a cloud-based model or not’ to how they can do it efficiently. So, one of the key drivers is that the market is now educated on the benefits of this model.
Reducing costs is the key reason for moving any process or application to the cloud. Another driving factor for many enterprises is that the upfront investment is quite low as this is a subscription-based model.
Is there a security risk involved in moving a core business system to cloud?
Security is always a concern whether the data is on-premise or on the cloud. When moving their data to the cloud, organisations need to make sure that the right security set-up is in place before they embark on their cloud journey. Organisations must adopt solutions that not only reduce security costs but also specifically designed to keep the data secure even when breaches and attacks increase in sophistication. At Oracle, we enable organisations to implement and manage consistent security policies across the hybrid data centre.
How does a cloud native ERP such as Netsuite compare with traditional ERP vendors?
Traditional ERP systems are hosted locally on-premise and customer is given the required access, which is not an ideal situation. NetSuite started out as a cloud company and I would say that this is the main differentiating factor. Cloud ERP is a service that is managed by the provider and is accessed by users through a web browser. For our customers, this means they can get access to real-time data much faster, and increase productivity and efficiency without having to make any investments in hardware. Also, cloud ERP enables cost saving not only in terms of the initial investment cost but also with better suited inventories and less duplicated efforts.
Why do you think CIOs who have invested heavily in on-premise ERP systems would move to cloud?
For CIOs, moving to the cloud or not is no longer a matter for debate. However, it is possible to have a hybrid model so that they don’t have to let go of the investment already made, and keep up with their competitors in the market. It is important for them to remember that even if significant investments were made in having an on-premise ERP system, in the long run, the organisation with definitely reap the benefits of having a cloud model. Also, if this transition is not made in time, such organisations will be left behind.
Is fit for purpose ERP the new trend in market instead of one size fits all approach?
Users want a system that caters to their specific role. There is a need to customize the solution to meet the needs of different industries and verticals, such as services firms, manufacturers, retailers, and more. The core of the product should put all the key business functions on an equal footing while being able to handle the complexity and variances that real businesses encounter.