For many companies, moving to the cloud can seem like a risky move. Companies may be reluctant to make the leap from on-premise systems to a cloud solution for a variety of reasons. However, it is possible to have the best of both worlds—by adopting a hybrid cloud approach.
Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud approach allows organizations to innovate without disrupting the system of record. Organizations are also able to introduce new capabilities that will transform their businesses, giving it a competitive edge or improving their existing processes by providing users with more flexible and user-friendly ways to access information. A hybrid cloud approach also allows all the advantages of modern, cloud-based applications—like low costs, scalability, and ease of use—without sacrificing the robust functionality and integration available with on-premise solutions. Lastly, it enables companies to start moving to the cloud while ensuring that their existing business processes remain stable.
For organizations operating on an SAP system, there may be additional benefits to a hybrid cloud approach. Using SAP Cloud Platform applications in a hybrid-cloud environment gives organizations more control over the cost and pace of innovation. Organizations can use these applications to quickly and easily deploy new capabilities that complement existing processes. New functionality can be strategically introduced exactly where and when it is needed. Because the functionality is cloud-based, organizations can deploy new SAP Cloud Platform applications with minimal effort and without significantly adding to the cost or complexity of the SAP landscape. They also reduce security risks because applications on the platform simply extend the existing on-premise system’s security infrastructure to the cloud.
Taking the Steps Towards a Hybrid Approach
Once the advantages are realized, the next logical step is to make it happen. So where does an organization begin the move to a hybrid-cloud model? The first place to start is by looking at moving processes that are relatively self-contained to the cloud, while keeping the core system of records on premise. Any process that requires interaction with external users from vendors, customers or partners, such as a transaction-status inquiry or verification of master data, are ripe for moving to the cloud. Portals are one way to provide external users with greater visibility into opaque processes. This same type of transparency should be extended to all your business partners and customers.
Once you’re ready to move to the next step, consider moving components of the core business processes to the cloud. For example, enable users to perform select workflow tasks, such as invoice approvals, using mobile devices. By extending core-business processes to the cloud, users benefit from easier access to information and greater task flexibility, while the data remains safely in the system of record. The hybrid-cloud structure minimizes security problems, or potential “lock in” or loss of control over data that happens when companies move critical applications to the cloud. Once these types of applications are in place, organizations can begin to broaden the adoption of cloud for more mission-critical processes that allows companies to support new business processes and models.
Avoid risk by making slow changes and not taking on too much change at once. Roadmaps are useful for a gradual approach and can be essential to planning, but not all roadmaps are created equal. A technology roadmap can be used for strategic initiatives for short-and long-term goals. However, to mitigate risk and deliver the most value, creating a process roadmap for moving to the cloud, and not just a technology roadmap, is key. Too often companies focus on the technology they plan to implement, assuming the business benefits will follow. With a process roadmap, companies can outline how they want to transform processes over time to deliver greater value to the business in the future.
For example, a process improvement might be expressed as “electronic order capture with a 99% accuracy rate.” Once the process roadmap is developed, it is easier to identify exactly what technology you will need to support the business goals. Using these roadmaps, IT and the business can work to introduce cloud components gradually and where it makes sense, so each process change delivers value and continues to build on that success to reach your organization’s ultimate goals.
The flexibility, ease-of-use and scalability that the hybrid-cloud approach provides makes moving to the cloud a viable possibility for many organizations. If your organization is weighing a move to the cloud, evaluate your internal processes—chances are, there are many areas for improvement and a hybrid-cloud strategy can help companies realize these benefits.
Vishal Awasthi is the Chief Technology Officer at Dolphin. He brings more than 15 years of solution architecture, product management and professional services background to Dolphin, and oversees the development of Dolphin products.
Mr. Awasthi specializes in designing, implementing and supporting SAP centric enterprise business and information management solutions and has brought many of these products to market. Having worked on projects across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, he has extensive experience in international assignments. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering.
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