It is not enough to simply take advantage of cloud services. To make the most of new digital environment organisations have to change how they operate. That’s the view of Oracle CIO, Mark Sunday who was speaking at the Oracle Cloud event in Sydney this week.

Sunday outlined the impact of Oracle’s own shift to the cloud to delegates at the event, (and as always, given Oracle’s status as a leading cloud provider, engage vested interest filter now, dear reader).

“It’s not just about taking advantage of cloud services, it’s about operating like a cloud company,” Sunday said.

The impetus for a cloud model comes from the increasingly dynamic and unpredictable digital business environment, according to Sunday.

“It has never been more challenging to be a business leader now. Because things are changing so incredibly quickly.”

Much of the change is being driven by technology and the expectations it ushers in, Sunday says, which means it has also never been more challenging for IT leaders.

“We have huge expectations of our businesses wanting to be able to respond at the speed of opportunity. We have huge expectations from our employees who want every bit of rich experience at work that they have at home,” Sunday said.

“But I’ll also argue there has never been more opportunity for us to do incredibly great stuff then there is now.”

Reflecting on his 40 years IT experience, Sunday said the current shift to agile is an “entirely new book” rather than another technology chapter. Cloud has become a necessity for large organisations who want to remain agile in a dynamic environment, including Oracle, according to Sunday.

“We are changing as an organisation so quickly, but us having an integrated cloud platform is core to us being able to do that.”

Oracle’s own cloud migration

Despite being one of the largest cloud providers, it was important for Oracle to “keep pace” and shift its own operations to the cloud, according to Sunday.

“We want to be able to take advantage of all that innovation… and do it in real time.”

Oracle is also “by far” the biggest user of its own products and it was critical to create accurate and effective feedback. It meant Oracle customers benefited from a better product while also having a blueprint for successful use of the cloud, Sunday said.

Initially, this involved migrating sales, HR, marketing and customer experience, partially then fully to the cloud, according to Sunday. The result was an improved customer experience for Oracle employees and better business outcomes.

Five years ago Oracle moved its 25,000 sales team to the Oracle Sales Cloud, a move that immediately produced opportunities to drive increased value, according to Sunday. Other areas, like HR, required a more incremental approach, Sunday said.

“We, like many big companies, started implementing cloud in the HR space by adding some additional capability around the edges… Then a couple of years ago we went live with core HR.”

Shifting HR to a cloud platform has already begun to pay off, Sunday said. “We are finding we are much more agile in being able to engage with our employees, we are more agile in being able to recruit. In fact, we’ve saved 50 million dollars in agency fees by our ability to integrate our recruiting process.”

Like many large organisations, Oracle began implementing cloud to complement its on-premise operations, only moving fully to the cloud when it was appropriate, according to Sunday.

But moving the ERP of a 150,000 person company with diverse markets, products, and services to the cloud was the “big one”, according to Sunday. A move that was complicated by the Oracles history.

“You think you’ve customised and made unique your e-business suite? We’ve got 40 years of Oracle experts to be able to do it,” Sunday said.

The last of the ERP migration occurred earlier this year while supply change execution, the final step in Oracle’s fun cloud migration, is expected to occur next month, according to Sunday.

“We are a very good example of  very complex, very large, very geographic discriminant company on a cloud-based CRP.”

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