Cloud computing is driving a transformative shift in how businesses operate. As a result, many people toss the term cloud around loosely. But there are so many different categories of cloud software that, by itself, it’s not a really meaningful term. To understand where businesses are going with the cloud, it’s essential to understand what aspects of cloud computing are most important to your business today.
If I look at what matters to our customers now, two of the most critical categories are database and ERP. And those are the cloud categories where companies have spent the most, by leaps and bounds, over the past 20 years. It’s easy to see why; one technology manages all a business’ data, while the other manages all its core financials, supply chain, and procurement—in other words, their heart and lungs. Companies depend on these mission-critical applications to run their businesses and develop long-term plans. By accessing them from the cloud, these firms can benefit in a variety of ways. Cloud applications receive more frequent and seamless software updates. They promote broader user adoption through user-friendly interfaces and 24/7 accessibility from almost anywhere in the world, including through mobile devices. They cost less to integrate and customize. And their total cost of ownership is lower than comparable on-premises systems.
Other corporate functions, such as HR, marketing, and sales, also need the advantages cloud computing provides. And while IT in the past has been able to dictate technology choices based on the idiosyncratic designs of their in-house systems, cloud computing is “democratizing” IT decision-making by allowing departmental leaders to play a greater role in deciding what kinds of features and functions employees and customers are able to access and use.
This isn’t all happening overnight, of course. Companies can’t immediately eliminate on-premises systems that represent decades of investment, so it’s imperative that they use cloud software that is compatible with their legacy systems. On-premises and cloud systems will coexist for years to come—we see that happening right now with our customers. For example, many of our Oracle E-Business Suite on-premises customers have moved budgeting and planning to the cloud, and some of our PeopleSoft customers are in the cloud with human capital management modules such as Comp and Benefits, or Talent.
We’re working to help our customers with their cloud migration plans, on their terms, so the transformation plays out in the most advantageous way for them. We’re making it financially worthwhile for them to move to the cloud, and we’re investing in a wide range of migration capabilities to help them transfer data from on-premises to the cloud. To smooth the way, we’re also developing a variety of consulting services to help our customers understand what aspects of cloud will benefit them the most and to guide them as they take the journey toward all the benefits that cloud computing provides.