Into the cloud


15 November 2014
Shaun Han of Oracle

Cloud is now mainstream. Today, enterprises are increasingly running a wide array of applications in the cloud for various operational functions, including human resources, accounting and sales. Just as apps are a key component of our personal lives on our mobile devices and computers, enterprises are progressively relying more on cloud in recent years as they realise its positive business benefits.

The trend is especially evident in Singapore, where the adoption of cloud solutions is already gaining momentum. According to an Oracle report “Cloud for Business Managers: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly", cloud adoption amongst Singapore businesses is the highest worldwide at 94 per cent, surpassing even the global average of 71 per cent. 66 per cent of respondents agree that a key benefit of cloud adoption is a lower total cost of ownership.

Thanks to the cloud, IT can also evolve more swiftly and focus on delivering innovation, which can in turn accelerate an organisation’s business growth. Another way of putting it is that cloud is a transformational way to bankroll innovation.

A ready-for-prime-time cloud offering should be customer-centric and manifest the following characteristics:

  • Adaptable to your unique business requirements
  • Works with your existing IT tools and systems
  • Avoids data silos and fragile point-to-point integrations with one standards-based, connected platform
  • Provides automated upgrades with flexible timing
  • A cloud service that incorporates or connects mobile, social, and analytical components

However, according to the Oracle study, 75 per cent of respondents reported that their ability to innovate using cloud apps has been hindered, mainly by lack of integration. Furthermore, 31 per cent who claim to have integrated apps also say poor integration has prevented their company from getting the best out of the cloud apps they use.

Cloud applications have the power to dramatically improve business performance while reducing costs, but only if they are able to work across the business. If sales managers have their territory planning and quota management tools integrated with the compensation applications used by human resources managers, it could encourage greater productivity and goal attainment.

Subscribing to a cloud service may be relatively straightforward, but how this application fits in with the rest of the enterprise, including on-premise systems and other cloud applications must be thought through.

Once that has been addressed, companies will then need to tackle the lack of relevant skills amongst employees, which is yet another key barrier to adoption.

Another important consideration when rolling out cloud computing is to choose a cloud provider with local support. In addition, national regulations such as rules regarding the physical location of data, may impact procurement choices as well.

There is no doubt that the cloud is rapidly transforming the business landscape and boosting innovation. The business benefits and potential positive returns are evident. However, enterprises can only truly maximise their returns-on-investment when they’ve established how new cloud applications complement and fit with existing on-premise systems and cloud services.

  • Shaun Han is vice president, Applications, Oracle Corporation ASEAN.