Speed of implementation is one of the big advantages companies get from cloud software. In a recent appearance on theinterview program CXOTalk, Steve Miranda, Oracle executive vice president of application development, bluntly described why that speed is so important.
“The mess isn’t going to get any smaller,” Miranda said, explaining to CXOTalk host Michael Krigsman how the problems you’re trying to solve keep evolving, too, if a project drags on.
In the course of the 45-minute conversation, Miranda shared three best practices he sees in companies that effectively and efficiently implement cloud systems:
1. Customize Only Where You’re Special
Pick the area that really differentiates your business or industry, and only spend time personalizing and precisely configuring cloud software for that area, Miranda advised. “Often, companies have one app that is the differentiator,” Miranda said.
For example, many North American retailers today consider employee recruiting and retention to be a critical need they must address, Miranda said. So for a new cloud HR app, they might spend a lot of time getting the features, configurations, and personalizations just right.
They might even custom code extensions. Extensions let IT teams create unique features that integrate to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) app but reside on the Oracle Cloud Platform (PaaS). Such cloud-based extensions avoid the old on-premises dilemma whereby app customization made future upgrades difficult and sometimes impossible. For these differentiated areas, Miranda advised making sure the app and platform are flexible enough to allow these levels of personalization.
2. For Everything Else, Follow Best Practices
For applications that aren’t strategic differentiators, Miranda said, companies should lean on the best practices built into cloud applications, rather than try to bend the app to fit their existing processes. “You shouldn’t be pushing uphill against the software in a non-differentiated area,” Miranda said.
In fact, many companies take the move to cloud as a chance to challenge long-standing practices that no longer make sense. Given Oracle’s decades of application experience, Oracle cloud apps have built in best practices “learned over the years from mistakes we’ve made and mistakes [customers] have made,” Miranda said.
3. Build Your Project for Speed
“More often than not…speed over accuracy is what’s important,” Miranda said.
Now, he made clear he wasn’t talking about the accuracy of financial numbers or analyses. He’s talking about how during big software projects, hundreds of small decisions need to be made about configuration and design, but only a very few of them require input from a lot of stakeholders. Companies with the right mindset make those small decisions quickly, knowing they can go back and refine them.
“They get that value of the initial go-live, they learn from it, and they change,” Miranda said.