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Time to embrace, capitalize on an Oracle hybrid cloud

It's time to stop worrying and embrace the Oracle cloud, at least in a hybrid environment that integrates cloud and on-premises systems. Otherwise, you could miss out on too many benefits.

Make no mistake about it: 2017 is the year of the Oracle hybrid cloud.

Many businesses are now fully aware of the key IT-related benefits of the cloud: flexibility, faster implementation, more reliability, lower operational costs. However, most organizations have baggage in the form of entrenched, on-premises systems that are the foundation for running the business, not to mention the significant investments they've already made in implementing and maintaining the existing environment.

That is why the hybrid, or coexistence, approach is so appealing to companies that are ready to experience some of the benefits of the cloud but aren't quite ready to fully abandon their on-premises software and hardware infrastructure. And the truth is, many companies see continued value in their on-premises environments and aren't in the position to throw away these systems that they've been running for decades in some cases. But in an age of digital transformation, they must become comfortable with the idea of developing a hybrid approach or risk losing the flexibility, speed and agility gained from integrating cloud systems into an Oracle architecture.

An Oracle hybrid cloud enables companies to move to the cloud at their own pace, when and where it makes the most sense to support their strategic roadmaps. Migrating to the cloud just for the sake of doing so isn't a healthy business strategy. But understanding how certain aspects of the cloud can propel a business forward allows companies to make more precise decisions that enhance their existing IT platforms in the short term so they're better poised for growth in the long term.

Partial steps into the Oracle cloud

For example, organizations that adopt the Oracle Configure, Price and Quote Cloud application -- or Oracle CPQ Cloud -- can use the efficiencies in the product in tandem with their existing CRM and ERP systems to accelerate the lead-to-cash workflow. As a further example, regulatory requirements could drive companies toward a hybrid cloud setup. Oracle E-Business Suite isn't being updated to support compliance with the ASC 606 and IFRS 15 revenue management guidelines; instead, Oracle is pointing customers toward the Oracle Revenue Management Cloud service for that capability.

This crawl-walk-run approach can make a complete migration to the Oracle cloud more manageable when the time is right for a company.

So, how do companies successfully take advantage of the hybrid cloud trend? First, they must cultivate an environment that embraces change by either retraining or repurposing their employees' existing skill sets. The cloud movement disrupts the traditional IT landscape. Oracle's cloud services permit IT workers to offload much of their traditional responsibilities, such as tending to data stores. This allows them to focus more on the business as a whole, not just on aligning with business operations in a siloed manner.

IT leaders within a company must communicate openly with their staff about the broader jobs they will be able to take on and some of the projects they will be able to accomplish -- projects that they never had the time for before. Suddenly, IT professionals are exposed to new concepts and projects that encourage them to expand their traditional roles as technology experts to include skills that help them contribute to the business in general.

A learning experience in the cloud

Also, the more companies are educated on the different Oracle cloud offerings, the more informed they'll be to help accelerate the learning curve that comes with any new product offering. Networking is a great form of learning -- it exposes organizations to other users that are also on cloud journeys so they can review their experiences, learn from their mistakes and duplicate their successes. Oracle user groups like the one I head offer multiple opportunities for members to connect with like-minded peers across a continuum of adoption phases, plus experts who can also offer tips and tricks on making the transition to an Oracle hybrid cloud model.

Finally, companies must assess and prioritize their needs to make sure their cloud options align with their overall business objectives. The beauty of a hybrid cloud is that it presents more choices for companies. Use those choices wisely by identifying which specific workloads, data, functions, applications or technologies to move to the cloud and which to maintain on-premises.

A well-designed Oracle hybrid cloud is a powerful cocktail of IT and business tools, mixing on-premises systems and Oracle cloud services in a highly integrated way. Oracle architectures must keep pace with evolving business needs, and hybrid environments can help make that possible.

Alyssa Johnson is president of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), an independent, global, member-led organization. Free copies of articles on Oracle cloud implementations at two organizations can be requested on the OAUG website; they originally appeared in OAUG Insight, a magazine for members of the group.

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