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The drive to the cloud has never been more fevered. These software endeavors are characterized by being very large, involving many hundreds of millions of dollars investment, usually with a burn rate of a couple million dollars per week. The complexity stems from not only the social complexity but also technical complexity, typically requiring large data conversions and numerous often quite convoluted and brittle data integrations. It is at its core, not much different than the ERP COTS initiatives of the past few decades.
Lest we forget, these efforts failed more often than not, and were likely to result in "economic duress" in the late stages of these programs as things inevitably destabilized due to the open-loop eco-system configuration employed. History is riddled with examples of such ERP implementations being finally cancelled after much waste and broad disenfranchisement of enterprise stakeholders. These are the train-wreck programs that end spectacularly and are widely reported on due to their sensational demise. Unfortunately, Cloud initiatives do not escape these failure mode patterns of the past. Ironically, it would seem that the industry suffers from a collective case of amnesia, as the same system integrator or product vendor participants seem to resurface again and again. It is almost as if there exists a rotating chair of sorts - perhaps a hidden oligopoly with few new entrants into the market to spur competition?
The danger with Cloud-based ERP replacement programs is very real. In fact, the probability of more severe duress being exerted on enterprises is even more likely due to the implicit, even deeper vendor lock-in associated with cloud.
Blinded by the promises of large scale reuse, time-to-market acceleration and perceived cost advantages from the outsourced resource model associated with Cloud, large enterprises willfully enter into such relationships and immediately accept the associated risks. But what of the accompanying risk mitigation strategies? How can enterprises mitigate the typical "two-in-a-box" strategy employed by the big System Integrators? What if all your key decision makers were being unduly influenced by their consultant shadows charged with owning the relationship.
What if PMO operations were also outsourced such that an untainted view of program health was unattainable due to the implicit conflict-of-interest inadvertently created? How about keeping the vendor honest with their continuous delivery maturity - are they as transparent as is required for their inevitably over-hyped shift to DevOps? How would you know?
Some of our trusting customerse
What you need is an independent, "second pair of eyes" in your Cloud initiatives to keep them honest and call it as it is. Vendors and associated SI's must be held accountable for their business cases, something they do not have a very good track record with - for the benefit of lowering costs and improving outcomes for their clients. Instead of idly watching and standing aside as a top-heavy, big command & control centralized PMO gets stood up, our consultants, some of whom go back to the 1970's with their experience, critically insert themselves to ask the tough questions. Armed with the latest in real-time analytics and collectively their over 300 years of experience, SDE consultants are uniquely positioned to "turn the lights on" and provide untainted, honest assessments such that data-driven decisions and course corrections can be made to steer the investment off the rocks. Our consultants have made a difference on some of the largest COTS and Cloud initiatives the world has ever seen - whether it be largescale DoD programs, the re-engineering of the Japanese Banking System, large equity trading and portfolio accounting systems, or large HR systems.
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