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Archive for the ‘SaaS’ Category

HCM Cloud: Oracle Is Listening

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(Editor’s Note: Todd Rayburn is MIPRO’s HCM Practice Manager.)

I have been in the HCM application space for over 17 years. The first 15 were focused on HCM PeopleSoft implementations. During the last two years I have been a part of multiple Oracle HCM Cloud implementations. While the product had it challenges in the early stages, as all new software does, one thing became very clear with each successive release:

Oracle is listening.

I first noticed this in a compensation implementation on release 5. Much of the feedback our team received around this release was concerning the user interface not being as “user friendly” as other SaaS applications. Oracle answered in kind with the FUSE user interface in release 7 (the next major release). The FUSE UI is an icon-based interface that made manager’s self-service transactions a few simple intuitive clicks — which, as we all know, is essential for manager adoption. Likewise, it’s critical to have one-click icon access to key reports and analytics that allow management to make informed personnel decisions without having to pick up the phone and request the data. Oracle took care of that one too.

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National Instruments Transforms Global HR With Oracle HCM Cloud

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MarketWatch:

National Instruments (NI) equips engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery to meet not only grand but also daily engineering challenges in an increasingly complex world, and continues to experience growing demand for its technology. To help meet that demand and scale its business, NI selected Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud to better identify and leverage top talent from across its global organization. By standardizing on Oracle HCM Cloud for core HR functions, NI is better equipped to unify HR information, manage employees and candidates, and maximize the efficiency of critical HR processes.

Yes, it’s a press release, but the fact remains that nabbing a global technology manufacturer is a big win for Oracle and it’s HCM Cloud solution. We use it here at MIPRO (and have for quite some time), and we can tell you that it’s stable, feature-rich, effective and plays along nicely with other apps, on-premise or cloud-based. We’re picky and there’s 0% of our DNA that will dogfood for dogfooding’s sake, so when we moved to Oracle HCM Cloud for our production system, we kicked the tires from every possible angle.

VIDEO: Get Smart About the Cloud and Cloud Providers

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This video is making the rounds, and yes it’s a marketing animation, but it really hits on a key point of cloud provider consideration: asking the right questions. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Most organizations we work with are looking for cloud solutions in one way or another. They want to ask the right questions, because the cloud provider landscape is complex, and there are many ‘confusingly similar’ value propositions. Problem is, it’s hard to ask the right questions if you don’t know what you don’t know.

So, it’s time to understand a bit more what you might not know, so you can have a better idea of who to believe and make the choice that best suits your business. In our experience, this video highlights many of the key considerations.

Don’t Get Lost in the Cloud!

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Terms like, the cloud, on-premise,co-existence: these are just but a few of the current strategies that most organizations contend with today in determining how they are going to manage their enterprise applications that run their businesses. It can feel like a daunting task, often equal parts confusing and overwhelming. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t have to be. The choices available today by the large ERP software providers are actually giving customers incredible flexibility to map out a strategy on their terms and timeline.

But like the quote in the movie Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to build a strong, long-term strategy to help them reduce their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by assessing their various businesses, processes, IT infrastructure, resources and strategic plans (such as acquisitions and divestitures). Organizations that plan their path with regard to which systems belong in the cloud and which systems belong on-premise have a much better chance of getting there in the long-term.

Careful, well-thought out plans with your ERP provider and key consulting services partner can help make this path much easier and manageable. For many, the thought of going to the cloud versus which systems to leave on-premise, at this point, raises more questions than answers. It doesn’t have to be that way. Take this opportunity to do the strategic, up-front planning now so that you are not asking these questions at the wrong time. Considering the financial investment you are making in these systems for the next 5, 10, 20 years, it makes sense to plan wisely.

In doing so, you can save significant dollars on your overall investment in resources, customizations, maintenance and infrastructure costs over the long-term. If you are a CIO, CTO, Director level in IT or the Business side, it really is a great time to have these opportunities to leverage what’s available to you from a technology perspective, whether in the Cloud or On-Premise. These changes taking place hold great promise for the future for companies to run more efficiently and effectively by taking advantage of these great choices in a very competitive, global marketplace.

Planning the future of your strategic apps direction is no time for platform or methodology zealotry. Having a lot of flexibility can sometimes be confusing, but if harnessed and leveraged correctly, you can take advantage of it successfully and save a lot of money that can hit directly to your bottom line.

Focus, Passion and Protecting Your Brand

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If you know us, or you’ve read this blog before – or, heck, even read our tagline – you know we’re big into three things:

  1. Focus
  2. Passion
  3. Doing what’s right, even when it’s hard

We’ve grown MIPRO by relentlessly following these guiding principles, and it’s been incredibly rewarding. Challenging at times, but nonetheless very rewarding.

Because sometimes, to achieve a culture that actually reflects your values and doesnt just end up cute marketing copy, you have to make some tough decisions.

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Dropbox Users: Protect Your Account with Two-Factor Authentication

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Dropbox is easily one of my absolutely essential apps. I use it every day, and increasingly it’s home to personal information like travel plans, photos and draft blog posts/articles. What used to be a little service I used to store a PDF or two has become a cornerstone of my daily workflow.

Like every other important technology asset (email, critical websites, web apps), security shouldn’t be taken lightly with Dropbox. To that end, if you are a Dropbox user, I strongly recommend enabling two-factor authentication for your account. What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication combines your password with an additional one-time-use security code—typically sent to your cellphone via a text message—that you need to enter in order to log in. This makes it more difficult for someone to break into your account if they get ahold of your username and password.

Do what I did: login to your Dropbox account, select your username in the upper right corner, then hit Settings. From there, hit the Security tab, and under Account sign in, look for Two-step verification. Click Enable. Boom. Done.

Do this. You won’t be sorry.

 

On Finding the Balance Between ERP and SaaS

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Recently, Naomi Bloom commented via Twitter on our blog post entitled, 7 Ingredients That Make or Break a PeopleSoft Upgrade:

tweet

We felt it deserved a longer reply than Twitter affords, so here is our President’s response:

Your comment implies that everyone is SaaS-ready or willing to ignore the investments they have made over decades.  If you want to post a comment regarding our blog, make it relevant to the market instead of degrading a solution that is embraced in the market and will be for many years to come. Over time, corporations will find the balance between ERP, SaaS or a blended model that fits their business needs.

Flexibility More Important Than Ever in Today’s Technology Environment

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Do these terms sound familiar: SaaS, on-premise, off-shoring, on-shoring, the cloud, Big Data, mobile computing? I’m betting that not only have you heard of them, but you’re inundated with them.

Customers today are flooded with choices on how they should or shouldn’t operate their enterprise systems. And naturally, the IT vendors in the marketplace are all too willing to provide a myriad of choices. Mind you, all these choices are relevant and provide good strategies for the enterprise, however, the key for customers today is flexibility as no customer likes to be treated as a template, a “one size fits all” cog.

Organizations have many similarities and compliance requirements in terms of business processes, i.e. accounting practices such as Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate governance and security and compliance. However, in many other areas, customers have flexibility in how they determine what makes sense for their enterprise. They want to know that they can have choice in how they deploy and implement and use these enterprise solutions.

I believe choice is a good thing. Never do customers choose a single path that works only in a single, linear way. With the choices available today through technology, customers have the availability to pick and choose the best solutions that meet their needs.

The solution wraps to fit the business, not the other way around. We’re long past those days, and good riddance.

Solution providers who offer configurable systems that can can change as business needs change will be highly desirable. In my conversations, the flexibility aspect comes up as critical path time and again. IT vendors that take the best of what technology solutions can offer today and bring them together to help customers run their businesses more efficiently and effectively are the ones that will maintain a happy, satisfied and committed customer base in the 21st century.

So simple. So overlooked when a project plan gets down to bare metal.

Flexibility is key. Insist on it.

Oracle’s Practical HCM Cloud Appeals to PeopleSoft Customer Base

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Here’s Stuart Lauchlan, writing for businessCLOUD9:

In the increasingly febrile battleground of Cloud HCM (Human Capital Management), Oracle’s racked up a couple of nice deals for its Fusion HCM from existing PeopleSoft users – the kind of wins it needs to stave off competition from Workday and SAP.

First up, banking and financial services group UBS has selected Oracle’s Fusion HCM for its 65,000 strong workforce across 50 countries. “UBS needs an HCM solution that works globally and can help transform the way our HR organisation delivers services,” said John Bradley, global head of HR at UBS. “We believe that Oracle Fusion HCM will significantly increase our HR core platform capability.”

This is exactly the kind of customer that Oracle needs to keep on board as it’s a long standing PeopleSoft user.

It seems that everything is going to the cloud — and just maybe it should. When financial institutions move to the cloud, we know it is safe to be there, namely because of their strict security requirements. The truth is that your data is usually safer in the cloud than it is inside your own facilities, under your bed, or buried in your backyard. Because cloud datacenters have to protect so many different types of highly sensitive data, their facilities are overdesigned to be bulletproof to protect their clients. General cloud facilities may require a security standard to meet Advanced Encryption Standard, AES, 256 (bits), while many facilities actually build to a 1024 (bits) standard, 4X what may be required.

Chances are, you don’t have that sort of over-engineering when it comes to your own on-premise data.

The general cloud sales pitch goes something like this: the solution allows you to maintain your security and data protection, whilst reducing total cost of ownership. Part of that protection and ROI also does away with the need for a separate Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy. If your system is in the cloud, you are pretty much covered for DR and no longer need worry about either having a DR strategy, the investment of a separate DR site, or the need to test it to prove that it works. Most companies’ strategies are either not tested, unless an audit is coming, and most have holes in them and would not actually work.

Another feature of modern cloud recovery is that the recoveries are either automatic or kick-off with just a few keystrokes of a system administrator. That can include a recovery of an entire system or just a few corrupted or accidentally deleted files. The nice thing about an all electronic recovery, versus manual, is that it can be in near real time or only the time it takes to make a system copy across high bandwidth pipe from one cloud facility to another. Once you go to the cloud, you can forget about such natural disasters such as local hurricanes, lightning, fires and floods, as well as the man-made disasters.

One of these days we will find that most ERP systems, like many others, will be cloud-based, for all of the right reasons.

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More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

ERP Makes a Comeback

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Dan Tynan, writing for CIO.com:

For the past decade, ERP has been the poster child for IT projects that overpromise and underdeliver. It was notorious for painfully complex rollouts that took years to implement, required massive customization, and were often only partially realized. Billions of dollars were spent just trying to get ERP systems to work as advertised.

Now ERP is back — and not just for big enterprises looking to refresh legacy systems. According to surveys by Forrester Research, roughly one out of four SMBs and enterprises plans to either upgrade their existing ERP solutions or implement a new one over the next 12 months.

We see this too. Every day.

What’s different? Isn’t ERP’s sometimes-broken promise giving way to the new promise of SaaS and cloud computing? Not just yet — ERP has been around forever, and in that time companies have learned a great deal. They now fully understand what works, what doesn’t and what mistakes to avoid. They’ve gotten their technology down, integrations minimized and streamlined, and they’ve tied smart business processes to their operations.

In short, they’ve grown up. Learned a thing or two.

Our clients tell us that while they’re looking at cloud apps, they have too much tribal wisdom wrapped up into their existing applications and business processes. Many of our clients have just now put in their first real cut at business intelligence and are using that information to make actual, real-world, daily business decisions.

Their ERP systems may be old, and they may not look as shiny as some of the new cloud platforms offered up by Oracle and other vendors, but they work. And organizations understand them completely. That’s why they aren’t afraid of expanding or upgrading their ERP systems — because finally, they’re delivering the promise that they whispered years ago.

In short, they’re finally humming.

It takes a brave soul to scrap something wholesale that is finally working in favor of something that, in essence, represents a great deal of starting over.

What’s your take? Does Tynan’s article sound like you?

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

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