How to develop an effective cloud strategy to guarantee a successful ERP implementation

What are the most important elements you should include in a Cloud Strategy when preparing for a large-scale digital transformation? Access complementary research from Gartner® supplied by Step5 and get the latest insights to help you develop an effective cloud strategy as part of your ERP implementation journey.  


Key components to include within your Cloud Strategy

For any cloud solution to be successful, its vital that the impacts to policy, strategy, and adoption are fully thought through and robust. Having a clear strategy and defining the ‘why’ behind your decisions is critical for all stakeholders to ensure they remain focused, after all, this directly impacts the success and adoption of the solution. Having a policy in place to help departments manage and navigate their way around decision-making also speeds up the adoption of cloud services and increases the chances of success, mitigates risk, and helps manage costs. Having a document that outlines the principles and objectives is an important set of rules and standards to have in place.  

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Step5 Cloud ERP Practice Director Khadam Rafique highlights: “The Strategy is a vital piece of documentation to enable success. When developing your Cloud Strategy, ask yourself, is it supportive of the organisation? Have all impacts to systems, process, and applications been considered in totality? Is there the right level of buy-in from the business stakeholders and do they fully appreciate the new ways in which cloud applications will require them to work? Then, write a guide for the organisation stakeholders when adopting a cloud-first strategy so that the principles and expectations are clear. If you don’t, you’ll find that people may improvise and set the implementation on the wrong tracks from the outset.”


Benefits of using tried and tested industry practices

Consulting and collaborating with industry experts and best practices is a must for any cloud transformation to be successful. Understanding how cloud will bring a new perspective to the way you currently operate shouldn’t be underestimated. Ensuring that the business requirements make the most of the integrated capability of the applications and technologies is fundamentally a pre-requisite to understand the benefits of your Target Operating Model. Adopting cloud should be a truly transformative experience, reducing the need for bespoke or ambitious solutions and non-standard processes will increase the probability of success. Using tried and tested industry best practices ensures you minimise the need for any divergence and continue to benefit from the continual improvements from within the platform.

Step5 have been central to some of the largest ERP Cloud implementations and migrations within the Public Sector and have a wealth of experience and knowledgeable experts who have developed best-in-class tools and template-driven documentation to speed up digital transformation programmes. Step5’s approach is centred around ensuring customers benefit from the lessons we’ve learnt, providing them with the best available service.

Khadam comments: “Focusing on the C-suite, most, if not all, are increasingly under pressure to deliver cost savings, efficiencies and new innovative solutions and services. They’ve questioned their organisations’ strategies and systems and expect these to answer most of the tough business challenges they face in today’s market. In reality it’s not that simple. Adopting a cloud solution requires organisations to prepare themselves for transformation, not just in terms of tech but also the people, process, and culture aspects. ERPs allow organisations to create a ‘single source of the truth’, a highly valuable quality in today’s world, unlocking the value of data through analytical insights, being more resilient and creating scalable solutions and services for the future. Most implementations will involve a single ERP, however, given the wide range of cloud choices and seamless integration platforms, this could be multiple systems.”


Consider standardisation as part of the solution design

The success of cloud isn’t just related to the tech that you chose or the partner that implements it. Having standardised or global design principles reduces any unexpected impacts due to complex requirements or divergent solutions and processes. Taking the organisation on a journey to standardise processes and overly complex policies is often one of the main challenges which needs to be resolved. Adopting what comes out of the box is easier said than done and shouldn’t be underestimated. Simplifying processes and paying particular interest to the business change required is key to any cloud implementation. Promoting business change should start with understanding the impacts, identifying the key stakeholders and determining if it is achievable. In most cases all these things are a pre-cursor to any cloud solution and should be considered well in advance of selecting any solution.

Step5 have seen many organisations embark on cloud journeys without clear or robust objectives, subsequently spending up to 5x the original budgets to recover failing projects. Khadam explains: “Sponsorship from the top in terms of agreeing, communicating and then following through with the Strategy is a must, and helps set out the expectations from a people perspective. Have you got a people strategy in place to train operational and end users of the solution? How are you going to manage any skills gaps that you might have? Has any analysis been done to understand the skills or expertise required and how can external organisations support and accelerate this? These are the questions that should be answered by the Strategy.

“The C-suite community will appreciate the need to adopt ERPs to help support their organisation’s challenges. Managing and running operations within a fully integrated enterprise-wide application leveraging best-in-breed functionality and innovation directly from the vendor and platform is the most efficient and effective way to operate. Cloud solutions reduce the overall risk and technical debt from the organisations perspective and brings them in line with industry best practices and the forward thinking required in today’s market, freeing up that much needed budget and resource for actual innovation and investment in delivering value-add products and services.”


If you’d like to find out more about how Step5 can support the development of your Cloud Strategy as part of your ERP migration / implementation, contact our Cloud ERP specialist Khadam Rafique today.


Gartner, Government Cloud Use Starts With 3 Vital Components: Policy, Strategy and an Adoption Plan, Neville Cannon, Refreshed 15 December 2020, Published 30 August 2019
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