Considering Cloud ERP? Get results faster and cheaper by Cloudifying your existing JD Edwards | Part 1

It sounds so appealing … Modernize all your business processes by moving to the Cloud and never worry about upgrades again.

Listen a little more closely and it starts to sound like the same old siren song we heard when we were sold the benefits of our on-premise systems. That’s because it’s not the message that is off key, but rather the dissonant proclamation that the on-premise ERP instrument is to blame for sins committed during system deployment.

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As business and IT leaders, how do we cut through the noise? How do we identify the benefits the Cloud offers and rapidly drive the real business value of the investment we already have in JD Edwards?

We recently sat in on a conversation with John Walczak, Corning Data Vice President of Software Solutions, and Richard Garraputa, Corning Data Executive Advisor and Senior Solution Architect, in which they discussed the challenges, strategies, approaches and steps for the Cloudification of JD Edwards. John, CPIM, has 30+ years implementing ERP; Richard more than 25.

Here’s what they had to say about moving JD Edwards into the Cloud …

John Walczak: Many businesses have reached a comfort level with deploying software in the Cloud. It has become a point of emphasis in their current strategy. But there are definitely different levels of adoption for different Cloud technologies. According to Gartner, growth rates for infrastructure (IaaS) and platform (PaaS) services will continue at a rapid pace while Software as a Service (SaaS) growth rates are starting to level off.

Richard Garraputa: Well, there are many reasons for that. One of the things I hear a lot from IT leaders among our clients is that they have an increased comfort level with Public Cloud infrastructure to support mission-critical applications like JD Edwards. Our clients have been hosting JD Edwards in Private Cloud data centers for years. Coupled with outsourcing systems administration and CNC, they have redeployed internal resources to support projects that improve operations rather than tying them up with routine maintenance. The Public Cloud option was validated with “edge” applications. And now that software vendors like Oracle have elastic IaaS and PaaS offerings, the flexibility and cost savings over static Private Cloud hosting make a compelling argument in favor of deploying JD Edwards in the Public Cloud.

John Walczak: On the application side, however, the easy work has been completed already. SaaS point applications such as CRM and HCM really ticked up. But, a lot of Enterprise and larger mid-sized clients hesitate to move logistics, distribution and manufacturing operations into a SaaS environment. Part of that is the lack of maturity of SaaS functionality in these areas, offering clients little additional value over what they already have in place.

Richard Garraputa: Another challenge has been the surprise complexity of reporting with “best-of-breed” SaaS applications strategy deployed by software vendors. Unlike the tightly integrated JD Edwards suite, the different modules of SaaS applications are effectively stand-alone solutions built around different data models. Cross module reporting becomes challenging once you outstrip the canned reports. Even with the relatively strong business intelligence tools built into many SaaS offerings, the skill-building to take advantage of them can be daunting.

John Walczak: Despite these challenges, SaaS ERP software is a strong and growing trend. Business and IT leaders are seeing compelling reasons to evaluate it, and are starting to work it into their longer-term strategies. But, since most of my Enterprise and mid-sized clients have significant investments in JD Edwards, they are less interested in a “rip and replace” approach. They want to get some of the value provided by the Cloud solutions with their existing JD Edwards. Basically, they want to “cloudify” JD Edwards.

And, that’s where we’ll pick up when the conversation continues here next Thursday.