Why Cloud Solutions Matter - Benefits of a True SaaS Solution

Supply chain driven companies are now relying on Cloud Solutions more than ever for better visibility, agility and scalability across their businesses. In part one of this series, we discussed why supply chain driven companies should consider Oracle SCM Cloud as their Cloud ERP vendor of choice. If you manage inventory, chances are you will need a 3rd party mobile inventory solution to extend visibility, productivity, and efficiency into your supply chain operations. But not all mobile Cloud Solutions for Oracle SCM Cloud are created equal. How do you know if a Cloud solution is right for your business?


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The Cloud and The Supply Chain

Historically, supply chains have been highly fragmented and filled with siloed information. Many companies have traditionally relied on the use of on-premise solutions for their ERP and inventory management needs. With on-premise solutions you are required to take on complete IT ownership of the product with servers installed on-site. This type of project often includes a big upfront capital expense, plus the recurring cost of dedicated IT resources for infrastructure, maintenance, security and upgrades. Businesses globally are realizing the potential efficiency and cost savings benefits of applying cloud-based solutions to their supply chains. P&S Research estimates the projected value of Cloud-based SCM solutions to surpass $11B by 2023.

There are many 3rd party mobile data collection solutions for Oracle Cloud available on the Oracle Marketplace. But are they created equal? The answer is no. Moving to the Cloud should be transformational for your business. You want a True cloud solutions to compliment your Oracle SCM Cloud purchase.  One of the biggest benefits of a true Cloud solution is the Cloud provider takes on the heavy lifting of the management, maintenance and upgrades to the platform, while your team is responsible for your own integration flows and security of your network. True Cloud technology platforms empower companies with material management needs to visualize a product in every stage of its lifecycle, in real time, from raw materials through delivery to the end customer. Let's discuss how to spot a True Cloud solution. 

The Difference between True Cloud and Fake Cloud (Hosted) Solutions

When businesses choose to move to a modern true Cloud ERP,  like Oracle SCM Cloud, they also want true Cloud 3rd party solutions. There are many complimentary applications that claim to be Cloud but are actually on-premise solutions hosting a portion of their products in the Cloud. Taking this approach means you could end up with the same problems and costs as if you were hosting it yourself. Moving to the Cloud should be transformational for your business. The details here matter, as you do not want to end up with a solution that isn’t built for the Cloud.

What is a True Cloud Solution?

These applications are built, designed and deployed specifically for Cloud environments. Typically these types of solutions are purchased on a subscription model. Oracle defines "Software as a service" (SaaS) as a cloud-based software delivery model in which the cloud provider develops and maintains cloud application software, provides automatic software updates, and makes software available to its customers via the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. The cloud provider manages all the hardware, middleware, application software, and security." 

With a true Cloud solution, a Cloud provider maintains the servers, networks and software for you - in exchange for your subscription fee. Companies using Cloud solutions paid for as a service can dramatically lower costs; deploy, scale, and upgrade business solutions quicker than on-premises systems, and are able to better predict the total cost of ownership with greater accuracy due to resources being subscribed to instead of purchased. With true Cloud applications you don't have to worry about upgrades. These "updates" are delivered automatically and are designed to not cause any disruption. You are also given control to "opt-into" any new functionality.  By integrating a true Cloud solution into your supply chain strategies and activities, you will be able to increase efficiency, visibility, productivity and profitability.  

Comparing True Cloud & Hosted Cloud Solutions for Oracle SCM Cloud

 

True Cloud Solution

Hosted Cloud Solution

Scalability Limitless capacity, built to handle spikes in daily usage, elastic infrastructure Can't adapt to growth spurts, static infrastructure
Configurations vs Customizations Flexible, made with cloud best practices in mind. Solution provider is responsible for testing & QA. Will be compatible with each Oracle upgrade. Offers many configurations with no code changes  Custom code that is manually written and maintained over time. Is against cloud best practices. Will require Customer QA with each release
Integration Purpose-built for Oracle SCM Cloud, uses Cloud security best practices, and leverages Oracle as single source of truth for data with real-time updates Risky, hard to keep integrated, not aligned with Oracle
IT Resources Low IT Resources Med-High IT Resources
Implementation Estimates 4-8 Months 9-18 months
Updates Vs Upgrade Solution provider responsible for updates that happen automatically with minimal customer demands Long, demanding upgrade processes that don't align with Cloud updates

 

What is a Fake Cloud (Hosted) Solution?

Many hosted Cloud solutions claim to be “Cloud,” but when you dig into it, they are very different. A solution could be a Cloud-hosted environment that hosts an “on-premise” version of the software that is accessed remotely. If this solution is intended to compliment the ERP, it could be a bolt-on solution that isn’t built using Cloud-solution best practices or built specifically for Oracle SCM Cloud. These vendors do not maintain or take on the risk of security, data redundancy, testing, QA, and making sure you have continuous and instantaneous access to the latest functionality and releases. Keep in mind that fake cloud solutions must be updated and maintained instance-by-instance (just like an on-premise solution). You are taking on the risk of a potentially unstable product that isn't built for the cloud. Your IT team will have to coordinate with the vendor for taking on any upgrades they make to their product.  If the complimentary product is not developed and updated in coordination with Oracle SCM Cloud, it is likely you will encounter problems with current or custom functionality following any automatic Oracle Cloud ERP updates. 

Some common questions to ask a provider when evaluating solutions include:

  • Is your solution developed in coordination with Oracle SCM Cloud?
  • Will you have to wait on them every time a new update of Oracle is released?
  • Will you need to pay to make sure your customizations are supported? 
  • When do they receive and begin testing the latest Oracle release?
  • What is their uptime performance and contractual uptime guarantees?
  • What are their security and privacy certifications?

Top Reasons for a True SaaS Solution for Oracle SCM Cloud

  1. Staff Productivity - A true SaaS Cloud solution breaks down the data barrier of on-premises solutions by offering real-time visibility into data across your organization. Management is able to make quick decisions to re-route shipments, locate containers, and collaborate with suppliers to meet customer demand. IT teams are being tasks with being both innovative and budget conscious. A true cloud solution removes the burden of day-to-day maintenance and infrastructure costs and support. Workers are being asked to be more productive and need solutions to reduce manual processes and data entry errors on their tasks.

  2. Scalability - Using a Cloud solution defies geographical boundaries. Cross-departmental access of data is now available anytime, anyplace - all through a WiFi connection.  

  3. Risk Mitigation - By moving to the Cloud, you remove the pressure of maintaining and updating systems - allowing you to focus your time, effort and money into fulfilling your core business strategies. 

  4. Low Cost of Ownership - Small and midsize businesses are now able to function with the same agility and visibility that enterprise organizations are, on a budget that fits their needs. There is no upfront cost or infrastructure, like on premise servers, payment needed. Your monthly licensing fee includes maintenance and support services. 

  5. Flexible - Going with out-of-the box Cloud functionality and supporting applications means saving time and money in the long run. Being transformational, it is best to avoid modifications if possible. Ask yourself, “What is the use case and will it provide value?” Most of the time, it will be better to change your processes to match the best practices concepts already built into the Cloud product, but modifications can be done. One of the benefits of Cloud is that it is easy to configure without the need for code changes. Be sure to talk to your implementation project manager on the best way to accomplish your goals. 

How Does RF-SMART Handle Integration to Oracle Cloud

RF-SMART was the first to launch a mobile barcode inventory management app on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Our Products Team worked with Oracle Product Strategy and Development to develop a true Cloud-based application that delivers supply chain functionality specifically built for Oracle Inventory Cloud and Manufacturing Cloud. This is a software product built specifically for SCM Cloud, not any other ERP. Because of this, RF-SMART customers experience improved scalability and agility that is promised by a true Cloud product. We are committed to continually improving and expanding our product. To date, we’ve added hundreds of customer-driven enhancements.

21972-312_SOC_NonCPAAs part of our Cloud strategy, we recognized the need to invest in leading-class, enterprise-caliber infrastructure solutions to effectively serve thousands of RF-SMART users around the world. RF-SMART’s commitment is illustrated by having an independent examination performed annually by a leading Cybersecurity CPA firm, resulting in a SOC 2, Type II report. By using globally recognized Cloud security best practices, our product has higher availability, reliability, quality and faster time to resolution for users.

In addition, our automated QA testing makes sure our application is regression tested 10-20X per day. Regression testing ensures any code changes made in the product will not impact the system’s functionality. Our auto-scaling, true Cloud architecture is designed and tested to make sure RF-SMART can support you whether you do 100 or 1 million transactions per day. 

Like Oracle, RF-SMART operates under a shared security model. We have full responsibility for providing and maintaining all hosting infrastructure for the RF-SMART Oracle Cloud product. That includes servers, auto-scaling, security, reliability, disaster recovery, failovers, availability, performance monitoring, etc. This is the transformational part of Cloud, as you do not have to maintain servers, maintain code, or be on-staff for maintenance and upgrades. RF-SMART takes on all of that risk and frees up your IT staff to focus on security and other business priorities.

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