How IT and business leaders need to shift their thinking in the era of SaaS
Decisions around foundational technology like enterprise business software are critical to the long-term success of any organisation
So what are the key considerations for both IT and business executives when it comes to procuring, implementing and managing the technology you need to run your business in an era of increasing change and complexity?
Business line managers need to engage, change and challenge
For business line managers the first step is to engage with the IT department.
They can offer important advice around issues such as:
- Seamlessly auto-categorise spend
- The ability of any solution to integrate with existing solutions
- Impact to cross-functional business processes
- Implementation and change management
- Return on investment modelling
IT groups often excel at project management, and they have a holistic view of the organisation so they understand the impact of any one system on all other systems and processes. Make sure you leverage that expertise.
It is also important for business managers to evaluate their organisation’s change management maturity. This needs to be a matter of priority. Out of this exercise, the goal should be to implement those processes necessary to improve capabilities before the deployment of new enterprise solutions.
While there are several change management maturity models and evaluation approaches available, choosing a model that provides actionable advice is essential.
Don’t just settle for conventional wisdom — there are plenty of myths around cloud computing. For instance, don’t accept ‘security’ as a catch-all excuse for refusing to adopt cloud services — professional cloud service providers are likely to have more robust security protocols in place than the typical IT department.
Take a simple issue like security patches to fix system vulnerabilities and other bugs. Keeping these up to date is core business for cloud providers, whereas it can be just one more maintenance task for a typical IT department that might de-prioritise it behind other jobs.
IBRS Advisor Dr Sweeney said while there may be valid reasons to keep enterprise solutions on-premises, these should be fully articulated from the perspective of “why not?”
For many traditional IT groups that will involve a shift from a technical risk-minimisation approach to more of an advisory mindset — where the goal is to help business stakeholders solve their specific business needs.
And just as importantly, IT must ensure that the wider organisation avoids problems such as redundant investments, the fragmentation of processes, or the creation of isolated information silos.
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