Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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Look before you leap supply chains from on-premises to cloud

 

Today, many businesses in the world are moving towards cloud applications and supply chain managers / chief operations officers (CIOs) are feeling the itch to go with the tide. However, the inability to measure the actual worth and effort involved puts them on the back foot. Here are some apprehensions that these leaders need addressed before taking the leap of faith towards cloud:

  1. Inability to measure the effort required to move applications from on-premises to cloud

  2. Concern that data security and sensitivity could be compromised

  3. Apps on the cloud mandate zero business downtime, which means internet connectivity should be made available at remote locations

  4. Existing cloud applications in the supply chain space still have a long way to evolve, and so cannot act as benchmarks

  5. Lack of comprehensive understanding of end-customer requirements, which is essential to customize applications

Having said that, I also believe that the cloud offers immense opportunities in scaling up the supply chain business to meet new digital demands. These include the following:

  1. Flexibility: Cloud apps help your organization gain flexibility while integrating with on-premises / other applications

  2. Faster time-to-market: They significantly reduce time-to-market, as these apps are mostly pre-configured for specific industry needs

  3. Scalability: If you are looking at quickly scaling up your business in a specific area, cloud is the best option. You don't need to size it accurately upfront.

  4. Accessibility: Cloud apps are accessible anywhere. So, if you have a global footprint, it helps you reach out to all time-zones effectively

There is immense potential in certain key areas to migrate to the cloud and realize early benefits. These areas include:

  1. Transportation management: This is an area that is gaining momentum, since it is not always part of the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution

  2. Communication with trading partners: This is again an area where there is huge potential to use best-of-breed cloud applications in order to communicate with your trading partners

  3. Trade compliance: Trade compliance checks are best carried out by third-party services that maintain the most current information with respect to restricted parties

  4. Business intelligence and analytics applications: There is a huge maintenance overhead to maintain a data warehouse as well as business intelligence (BI) reporting tools, especially for organizations that have limited IT staff

  5. Predictive analytics: This is an area where one could scale up much faster as well as gain competitive advantage in opting for cloud-based apps rather than build the whole platform in-house

There are many providers of cloud-based supply chain solutions today. However, the exclusiveness of Oracle's cloud offerings comes from the fact that it has solutions for every segment of supply chain management -- product lifecycle, supply chain, procurement, logistics, order, manufacturing and maintenance. Procurement Cloud and Logistics Cloud are Oracle's flagship products that have gained recognition, especially because these can be deployed as stand-alone applications and the offer immense value on cloud.

At the same time, there are some areas where cloud is making slight inroads, and has a long way to go:

  • Warehouse management applications: Due to the high speed required for carrying out handheld transactions, this is an area that will take some time to mature

  • Planning engine: This makes more sense when the whole ERP application is on cloud

As Oracle's strategic partner and with experience in handling over 500 large customer engagements, Infosys has partnered with Oracle across its product portfolio. One of the many engagements required us to deploy Global Trade Management (GTM) Cloud (which is a part of Oracle Logistics Cloud) through a fast-track mode for a global semi-conductor manufacturing major. This deployment helped the organization to achieve trade compliance and integration with its global Oracle ERP solution.

In summary, organizations should tailor a supply chain management (SCM) cloud strategy that fits their needs around scalability, time-to-market, flexibility, and accessibility. By analyzing these requirements correctly and implementing appropriate solutions, they can gain competitive advantage through valuable migration to cloud.

Do meet us at our booth at Oracle Open World (OOW) 2016 to discuss more on this. The event will be held between September 18-20 at San Francisco. Click here to know more.

                                                                          

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