8 Steps to Successfully Migrate ERP to the Cloud

8 Steps to Successfully Migrate ERP to the Cloud

Migrating business-critical applications to the cloud is like changing wheels on a moving car, it is often said. However, there are many best practices and consulting companies with expertise that help with ERP cloud migration. […]

First of all, the usual lift & shift approach is not the right way to go if you want to lift the ERP system into the cloud. Instead, the business processes must first be put to the test and the applications must be refactored in order to be able to fully exploit the advantages of the cloud. It is therefore not enough to simply push the old processes into a cloud-based environment, but it is primarily necessary to question the processes and, if necessary, to set them up anew.

Rethinking is necessary

The biggest hurdles in the migration from ERP to the cloud exist in the minds of decision-makers. A new mindset is necessary – away from specialist departments and towards processes that not only affect the ERP, but run across several systems. It is also important to do the strategic tasks and to define answers to the following questions: Where is the company’s journey going? What does the “Big picture” look like? What are the prerequisites for this – for example, with regard to human resources? The technical challenges are usually manageable, including interfaces to on-premise solutions or specific, one-time adjustments to IT.

The future is called the cloud

It is clear that there is no way around the cloud for business applications. The major software providers clearly set the direction here, not least because the advantages clearly outweigh the advantages compared to on-premises solutions. The cloud offers maximum flexibility and scalability, integrated interfaces to external systems, location and platform independence as well as high data quality. In addition, cloud-based, high-performance systems enable modern applications such as artificial intelligence and predictive models. Efficient, collaborative work in the home office is also only possible to a very limited extent without the cloud. Last but not least, the cloud offers a central, secure storage for documents or business-critical information such as master data. Experience has shown that a step-by-step procedure is suitable for implementation:

  1. The first step is to define the company’s goals and strategy in order to develop a guideline for the processes and IT.
  2. The second step is to analyze, optimize and adapt the processes in order to achieve the highest possible release capability. Here, for example, it is also important to digitize production processes and to standardize the processes for companies with several locations.
  3. Drawing the big picture: What does an integration or interfaces to external systems look like? Examples: Field services (service management) for the connection of service technicians to the ERP, mobile apps for recording the plant data of customers or production data, communication via web services, evaluations with applications such as Power BI, connection of customers and suppliers via EDI, archiving of documents in the DMS, connection of production machines, integration of holiday calendars via SharePoint.
  4. Adapt your own infrastructure: Here it is necessary to move from terminal servers to browser-based, platform-independent solutions and local PCs or laptops.
  5. Master data must be revised and maintained so that evaluations and analyses can be carried out, for example with AI. Often, customer data and unnecessary data waste have accumulated over many years, which should not be transferred to the cloud. Therefore, it is necessary to clean up the master data, unify article data and introduce a product configuration.
  6. Finally, training courses are planned to get the users or employees on board and to familiarize them with the advantages of the new system.
  7. Now follows the migration of all necessary information (e.g. cleaned master data) into the cloud system and the development of new applications with the help of agile methods. Then tests should be run with key users, after which the go-live can be done.
  8. Finally, the optimization phase: digitization of all business processes, e.g. incoming invoice process, introduction of CRM system and integration of mobile apps to digitally integrate employees and processes in the company.

*The author Mario Lehner is Managing Director of insideAx GmbH.

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