Transitioning to public cloud-based systems poses both its own challenges and rewards.

But with 95% of all data center traffic predicted to be cloud-related by 2021, the shift to cloud-based systems seems all but inevitable for most organizations.

“We’re finding very much it’s not a case of if people migrate to the cloud but when,” said Andy Campbell, HCM strategy director at Oracle.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

Campbell and other Oracle execs at Oracle’s Modern Business Experience in London yesterday shared a few factors organizations should consider when moving to the cloud.

SaaS is not just for small companies

“If you look at oracle’s top 10 largest customers globally, 9 of 10 have either deployed at least one of the three major pillars — ERP, human capital or supply chain — in the cloud,” said Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, adding “one of them deployed their entire estate in the cloud”.

“It’s no longer the case that software-as-a-service is designed for mid-sized or small companies. It’s designed to go all the way from $100m companies to the largest of large.”

Be ready for resistance to not building bespoke services

Because public cloud services are built with many different organizations in mind, it’s important for firms to calibrate their expectations accordingly says Campbell.

“You start off with applications that provide best-in-class functionality…rather than starting with a blank sheet of paper and then designing your requirements,” he said.

Be prepared for new ways of working

Be prepared to educate staff about how to change their ways of working in order to get the greatest benefit from new cloud-based systems, for example, the increased potential for real-time collaboration that a shared cloud system enable.

“The development and the implementation of products tends to be different: it tends to be faster, more agile, more collaborative,” says Campbell.

Switching to the cloud is typically faster than earlier in-house migrations

While a successful switch to a cloud-based service will certainly require a lot of effort upfront to ensure working practices change to suit the new cloud processes — once the migration does get underway it tends to be relatively rapid, says Campbell.

“Evidence seems to suggest that implementation in the cloud typically is about 40 – 60% faster than a traditional, on-premise upgrade,” he said.

Cloud isn’t as rigid as you think

While cloud-services are not bespoke, that doesn’t mean they’re wholly inflexible.

In some respects, the ability to add new service modules to core cloud platforms and to bring services online in new regions, can offer greater scope to meet an organization’s immediate priorities, says Oracle’s Campbell.

“Cloud gives you the opportunity to flex your deployment model, to take account of your priorities and your geographies” he said, adding the cloud model lets firms “deliver what you want when you want it, rather than necessarily having a Big Bang approach”.