Process management in the cloud offers several compelling advantages for both the business and IT teams. I see the pressure to move faster, innovate faster and deliver value immediately to our customers all around us. Process management in the cloud offers some great ways to enable that agility in your organization. In addition to the reasons you should be looking at this, I will offer a few common use cases we are seeing as Oracle’s Process Cloud Service (PCS) begins to roll out.
Reason 1: Business-Focused
Cloud solutions like PCS provide a comprehensive process development platform, from modeling to form development through to deployment. This is in a zero-code environment, allowing the business to define, create and manage their own business processes. One example from PCS is the play, test and validate cycle. This allows allows users to see the end-to-end application and walk through the various activities in different process roles. Features like these will allow the business to bring common business processes to market quickly.
Reason 2: Zero Footprint
This reason is usually listed #1, as it is one of the main drivers to move applications and systems to the cloud. Being able to quickly provision and standup a process management tool in the cloud has some compelling benefits:
- Reduced cost to get started: Reduce the initial capital outlay or help to move dollars from capital to expense spending, depending on your organization’s needs.
- Faster time to provision: Zero installation means increased speed to market so that you can take advantage of opportunities to either reduce costs with process or differentiate in the marketplace. You can start in a more agile fashion, start smaller and prove things out quickly.
- Reallocation of resources: A hidden side effect is that this shift allows technology resources to focus on other problems more important to the business. Instead of worrying about the infrastructure and provisioning, these resources can focus on business-related problems and opportunities with higher value for the organization. This is a really interesting change and I will be following up this blog with another on the impact to the IT department of cloud based process management.
Reason 3: Cloud-to-Cloud Integration
Many organizations already have applications (like HR, recruiting, finance or sales) sitting in the cloud. Now the question of how to stitch them together and enable business processes to link these disparate tools together is rising as an opportunity. Using a tool a cloud-based tool allows you to integrate these SaaS applications together, maintain your cloud footprint and also integrate the processes with your key partners or even customers. In the coming months, the combination of the Process Cloud Service with other offerings like Integration Cloud Service and Document Cloud Service will enable the business and IT to extend and expand the process cloud platform into even more areas.
Reason 4: Continuous Updates and Enhancements
By focusing on a cloud-based platform, your implementation can immediately take advantage of enhancements and features as they are pushed out to all customers. This will happen much more quickly that we are used to with on-premise software. This can take many months or years depending on priorities and implementation timelines to include both Oracle’s timeline and your company’s internal rollout schedule. Faster enhancements mean you can quickly use and deploy these in your processes to better serve your customers.
Common Use Cases
We are seeing interest in cloud-based process management from typically process heavy verticals like finance, telecommunications and manufacturing. In addition, we see some opportunity in these use cases:
- Specific departments, like the Finance Department, that have a strong interest in process management in general. Process Cloud will be a natural extension for these business users
- Customer service organizations where exposing the end-customer to the process can have differentiation benefits
- Approval and request processes - process cloud will allow these customers to quickly stand up approval processes that can integrate with other cloud applications and use web interfaces to manage key data throughout the approval process.
- Modeling in the cloud - starting with a focus on documenting processes and capturing the models for later use in an executable business process
- Smaller organizations and workgroups within larger organizations - the tool is easer to learn vs. traditional on-premise solutions and provides a lower-cost entry point to get started
There will still be a place for on-premise solutions for some time; I have no doubt there. The entry of cloud-based solutions will make the key challenge to determine the right steps to take on this journey and which processes to choose first. We are excited about this transition and working with you on this journey!