Although there are good tactical reasons for an EPM cloud migration like cutting costs or adding functions, it’s also a strategic opportunity for gaining competitive advantage.
Oracle EPM is one of the most complex and impactful pieces of software any organization runs. Those three words — enterprise performance management — are the very definition of mission critical. Its scope is enterprise wide. Its mission is to drive enterprise performance. And senior management relies on it. The software’s own performance and features are highly leveraged by stakeholders across the organization. And its functionality and data flows are highly interwoven with those of other systems.
That means the decision to migrate Oracle EPM to the cloud cannot just be about the issues that may have prompted the move in the first place — as in: “We need to do a hardware or software refresh so let’s just ‘lift’ the status quo and ‘shift’ it to the cloud.” A lift-and-shift migration may in fact be right for a particular organization. But whether it is or not, the migration — both in terms of execution and aftermath — will have strategic ramifications. Here are some questions that illustrate the point:
- Will the migrated system meet stakeholders’ current and future needs?
- How do we know end-users will embrace the new system?
- What resources must be marshaled, and for how long, to ensure the migration project’s success, as in technical support and end-user training?
- Are all stakeholders on the same page regarding what’s involved in the migration effort and what benefits to expect as a result?
Let us offer then five suggestions for how best to seize an Oracle EPM cloud migration’s strategic opportunity:
- Challenge the status quo. If all goes well, you will live with your Oracle Cloud EPM system for a long time. So how is your current on-prem system working for you? Do know what possibilities exist for moving the needle on organizational performance and agility? Do you have a vision in mind for how stakeholders will leverage those possibilities going forward? Answering these questions before you migrate will reduce the possibility you’ll be left with a system that performs but an organization that doesn’t.
- Name a strong project advocate. Projects that have enterprise-wide impact will also have enterprise-wide interests, some of which will compete with each other. Also, the Oracle EPM migration project will no doubt compete with other priorities on senior management’s agenda. So it’s important to have a strong (probably C-level) advocate that can keep the organization focused, obtain the right resources, and resolve the inevitable conflicts. A migration project takes time so it’s important to have a project champion to stay the course, and who also knows the right course on which to stay.
- Get stakeholder involvement. A great way to ensure stakeholders will resist what you’re planning is to keep them out of the loop. Getting them involved early and often in the migration project will not only help sell the final outcome, it will very much increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve the system implementation that actually enables the organization to perform best. The project leaders will be better informed about the real needs the software must meet (and that the on-prem system may not be meeting now). That is because the various stakeholders may be in a better position — by virtue of their physical location, professional expertise, area of responsibility, and other reasons — to understand in depth what those needs are.
- Take a multi-step approach. You don’t always know what you don’t know — especially early in the migration project. So if you take a step-by-step approach, rather than try to do everything all at once, you’ll get a clearer view of what each next step involves because you learn as you go. That progressive learning reduces the likelihood of mistakes while early successes give project team members more confidence for undertaking later (and probably more ambitious) steps. The principle of early wins also applies to end-users who are more likely to gain confidence if they don’t have to learn everything new all at once. A step-by-step approach also gives team members and stakeholders the chance to see opportunities for gaining real advantage rather than simply achieve functional equivalence (with the on-prem system) or competitive parity (with the market).
- Adopt rigorous project management. This covers the same the basic tenets that apply to managing any large project, including scoping tasks correctly, driving tasks forward, keeping team members on the same page (with each other and with stakeholders), and accurately anticipating and gauging resource utilization.
If yours is like most organizations, an Oracle EPM cloud migration is a one-time experience. So you should make it count. And the way it will count most is if it’s recognized, and undertaken, as the strategic opportunity it is.