When many people think of the cloud, they think of fast, low-cost deployments of relatively simple applications, not complex, game-changing systems like supply chain management. Supply Chain Nation asked Serge Massicotte, JDA’s chief technology officer, for his thoughts on this matter. The following is a summary of his comments.
SCN: Most people think of cloud deployment in terms of faster implementations and less upfront costs, but there are many other, perhaps more important, benefits. Can you share some of those?
Massicotte: I think there are many benefits, actually. I would start with quality of service and preventive action. The fact that we operate the software for the customer means we can monitor the application closely. Hence, we are able to detect if there is an issue in the sense that something is not acting as normal, and then we can take action to remedy the situation. Taking action proactively means our customers get better quality of service.
Another benefit I see is that because we have the solution running on our infrastructure, it reduces time to resolution should an issue occur. Since we control the environment and have access to all of the information about the application, such as the log files, investigation of the issue is much faster than it would be if the system is running on the customer’s premises. Faster time to resolution is very important when you think about execution applications such as our transportation management system, which is a huge value for our customers.
Another value for our customers is that it makes our services team more effective. The fact they have access to our environment and can carry out their work more easily in our environment, that makes our services team more effective in delivering service and quality to our customers. At the end of the day, that translates to lower cost of ownership for customers as well.
Another benefit of having our solution on our premises is our ability to upgrade the system on behalf of our customers. With JDA applying patches, and eventually upgrades, there is no burden for a customer to go through an upgrade or apply patches to the software because we are going to take care of that in our cloud solution. It also means we are going to upgrade any third-party software, such as databases, as well. How the environment is being taken care of is crucial for our customers. It enables our customers to embrace new features at a faster pace.
In the future as we evolve our cloud solution, there are two things we want to enable. First, we can look at how users are interacting with the application and find insights around how they are really using the applications. That will help us to better design our systems and make them more productive.
Second, deploying the system the way we envision it will ease the proof of concept process when interacting with customers. We are going to develop a “sandbox” proof of concept environment where the customer can go to access a new version of the software and try it out to see how it works. I think these capabilities create a better partnership with our customers.
SCN: Thank you, Serge. There certainly are a lot of benefits from cloud deployment. In our next post in this series, launching Tuesday, August 5, Massicotte will debunk some myths about SaaS applications and provide advice on deploying cloud-based systems.