Paving the Way for the Enterprise Cloud

The March of Cloud ERP into the Enterprise

At NetSuite we just completed our SuiteWorld 2011 user conference, the largest conference focused on cloud ERP. With over 2,000 attendees encompassing customers, partners, prospects and analysts the message was clear: Cloud ERP has arrived. In fact, as Jim Shepherd of Gartner observed: “cloud based ERP may be approaching the tipping point”.

From fast growing companies such as Groupon running NetSuite, through to global enterprises such as Qualcomm choosing NetSuite for their subsidiaries’ ERP needs, it’s clear that the adoption phase is entering the enterprise.  In fact, by 2014, IDC forecasts that enterprises of 1,000+ employees will account for 43%+ of the total cloud market, and cloud computing in general being adopted at 6X the rate of the broader market. Part of this wave of enterprise adoption means that customers sometimes will integrate cloud with on-premise investments – whether businesses are deploying cloud applications across lines of business, or deploying them in a “two-tier model”, meaning cloud ERP throughout the subsidiaries linking to an existing on-premise system at corporate headquarters.

Unlike their on-premise counterparts, cloud applications deploy quickly. For example, Groupon went live with NetSuite OneWorld in five countries in just six weeks and plans to deploy NetSuite to another twenty-six countries in three months. In fact, cloud applications can often be deployed by the lines of business with little IT involvement at all.

IT Tools to Support Enterprise Cloud Adoption Further Emerge

With this kind of growth of cloud applications into the enterprise and the speed with which cloud applications can be deployed, a need emerges for enterprise tools for IT to coordinate and manage multiple cloud applications, and solutions to further integrate them with existing on-premise investments – from both a data and user management perspective

Earlier in the year, NetSuite announced a partnership with Informatica in just this vein – providing enterprise data integration to enable IT to integrate transactional and reference data across cloud and on-premise applications, a key component of any two-tier strategy.

Now comes the next wave of tools for IT to manage user, identity, and application usage information across cloud and on-premise apps - to weave cloud applications tightly into the broader business. For example, Citrix and NetSuite are partnering to enable corporate IT departments at NetSuite customers to manage cloud and on-premise together from a user and service perspective, which is especially relevant for those NetSuite customers who deploy the two-tier model

The Citrix Cloud Gateway provides a global “front door” that is a single point of entry and control for all apps – including cloud applications, emerging internal services like private cloud apps as well as existing enterprise web, windows and legacy applications.  Citrix’s play is to provide secure access, unified identity management, real-time SLA monitoring, and compliance reporting across applications – cloud and on-premise. Simply, a single point to manage users and service levels across applications – cloud and existing. The goal is to extend the kinds of IT management functionality that’s available for enterprise apps to cloud-based applications and services.               

In terms of NetSuite, the Citrix Cloud Gateway integrates the creation of user accounts in NetSuite into the broader enterprise directory – so when users change roles, or when new users enter the organization – their NetSuite accounts are automatically created. Conversely, when users leave the organization, access is seamlessly turned off from a single point. So businesses can focus on the benefits of cloud ERP, while ensuring that administrative processes, such as user management remain at an absolute minimum.

Cloud and On-Premise Federation Continues

The emergence of these kinds of tools to integrate cloud applications and existing investments, whether across data, or user management is another stepping stone for cloud applications to move further into the enterprise. The opportunity enables IT to engage in weaving cloud applications into the enterprise fabric – and ensure that the value and promise of cloud applications are combined with ease of administration and use.


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