In a recent CloudU report, we talked at length about how an organization should approach a move to the Cloud and which applications they should pick as initial prospects for migrating. In the report we advised organizations to look at applications that;
• Have significant interaction with external applications or services
• Are not a point of differentiation between the organization and its competitors
Part of the rationale for this advice was the realization that organizations are still generally anxious about moving core applications to the Cloud; those applications that handle their most sensitive data are still sacrosanct within many head offices.
This made it all the more interesting to read a case study on Box Free IT that seemed to challenge this anxiety at least for one business. Arthrocare is a global medical equipment manufacturer that is headquartered in Texas but has operations all around the world. They are a typical modern business running a distributed operation in multiple geographies and time zones.
Arthrocare runs its operations on SAP, the quintessentially traditional financial and enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. Wanting to move into yet another market, this time Singapore, Arthrocare’s international controller, and by all accounts a very pragmatic and progressive person, Annika Hedstrom took a deeper look at whether the time, cost and hassle of rolling out SAP in a small market was justified.
Hedstrom took a close look at cost but, more importantly in my mind, at time to implement. Previous roll outs of SAP in new markets had taken at least three to six months to get up and running, not exactly agile in anyone’s book.
Hedstrom decided that an agile approach, one that potentially made do with an 80% solution, but one that could be up and running in very little time, was the best option. Instead of SAP and six month deployment times, Hedstrom decided on relative unknown Saasu, a simple, easy to use and most importantly easy to implement application from Australia.
Final time to deploy? Five days. Five days!
Which is interesting when looked at in context of planning a move to the Clouds, and determining what is a good fit for Cloud and what is best to remain on-premise.
Now arguably there are some lightweight on-premise accounting solutions that might have been able to be deployed more rapidly than SAP. But if we look at the multitude of benefits that a SaaS application brings, it becomes a pretty easy decision to make. Moving from on-premise to Cloud, regardless of which vendor is chosen, sees Arthrocare gain the ability to access their application anywhere at any time. This gives them the ability to forget about hardware and software upgrades, and provides the flexibility to integrate with lots of different applications via API.
So when you’re thinking about what is a good candidate for Cloud in your organization, think back to Arthrocare, and imagine the benefits that Cloud could bring to your particular situation.
We’re covering these areas of Cloud Computing on an ongoing basis at CloudU, an educational series aimed at increasing the knowledge and skill that SMBs have about the Cloud.
(Cross-posted @ The Diversity Blog - SaaS, Cloud & Business Strategy)