Cloud Readiness: A View From A Pilot’s Perspective

Robin Irvine
By: Robin Irvine
Date: February 28, 2020

Cloud Readiness: A View From A Pilot's PerspectiveWhen I became a pilot, it was an attempt to conquer a life-long fear of heights. After years of practice, I took the leap, obtained my license, and piloted my first plane in 2016. As a licensed pilot, I have a preflight checklist to go through before any takeoff, with step-by-step instructions to follow to ensure a safe and controlled flight.

Aviation checklists are a staple in the cockpit. They help pilots plan for normal and not normal situations to defend against failure. For ERP implementations, a preflight checklist is also a good idea to ensure the right system is selected and that the organization is properly prepared for implementation and beyond.

Checklist discipline is important. In some cases there are action items that need to be carried out, in other cases, it is to verify that the necessary steps have been completed and verified.

As digital transformation rises on the CIO agenda, many manufacturers will find themselves headed into the cloud. Considering new ERP? Here is a preflight checklist you can use to ensure a smooth journey:

  • Check your Controls and Determine Your Flight Plan

Before you can takeoff, you’ll need to build your flight plan: a frame of reference for where you’re coming from and where you are looking to go. It is important to look at current legacy systems, current processes, and what the goals will be moving forward. Because cloud ERP is a large investment, don’t make the mistake of just looking at how current operations can be moved to a new system, but how they can be improved. Similarly, taking time to clean your data will help avoid the garbage-in syndrome and give your team the best running start in improving the user experience in the long run and business outcomes.

Deciding the right system is complex and challenging. Manufacturing CIOs need to look at their current technology footprint and ask themselves, are we prepared to move to the cloud? How can we ensure the system meets the greater business needs? What needs to happen (and when) so our implementation is a success and does not exceed budget? Will the application fit with our other solutions in the network? What are the functionalities most important to our users? What is a necessity versus nice to have?

From here, researching vendors and their roadmaps, and determining what will align with your current and future goals is part of planning diligence. For example, would you benefit from an industry-specific software? ERP designed specifically for food and beverage manufacturers will include out-of-the-box functionality such as labeling, ingredient, and batch management; fixed and catchweight functionality, lot traceability, food safety, and other unique business requirements. Consider if the vendor can be flexible in migration options. Organisations with many disconnected, legacy software systems may find it easier to move to a single on-premise or hybrid system, with a future goal to lift and shift to a cloud environment. Understanding the gaps and where there is opportunity to scale can ensure the solution supports the current needs of the business as well as those in the future.

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