It may be a bit of a Yin & Yang thing: where some would consider Oracle downright wobbly in its cloud strategy of the past few years, others would see a healthy, adaptive approach in times of uncertainty and skies full of Black Swans and Turkeys. And indeed, where Larry Ellison once may have brushed off the cloud as talkee-talkee, he now seems well on his way to claim Oracle actually invented the topic in the first place.

One thing is for sure: the cloud is ready for primetime and although some IT departments of organizations still seem cautious about migrating their infrastructure and core data and applications to the (public) cloud, one of the obvious sweet spots is in SaaS solutions for the edge areas of business: customer relationship management, procurement, collaboration and human capital management. All of these areas are relatively less sensitive to security and data sovereignty considerations and can derive direct value from the next generation of cloud-based solutions. And what’s even more important: these solutions are often bought at the business side, with central IT sometimes only indirectly involved.

It should therefore be no surprise that we are already finding that – although Oracle is providing a mix of on-premise and private and public (false and true) cloud deployment options for Fusion HCM and CRM –  the SaaS option attracts most attention.

There is some significant change hiding here, not only for organizations that are facing a shift in power balance between Business and IT, but also to solution providers such as Oracle (and just as much SAP and Microsoft and others) that start to deal with different parts of the organization and face the realities of new, pay-per-use and subscription-based economic models.

Also, to service providers that implement these solutions – like Capgemini – notable landslides are on their way. The charm of the next generation SaaS solutions is in cost-effectiveness, simplicity, agility and speed to market. This requires a matching, highly accelerated implementation approach. One that:

–       builds on pre-defined templates and stays intimately close to the best practices of the standard solution

–       ostensibly avoids the need for customization, but still brings high flexibility and differentiation to business users

–       focuses on quick validation of value scenarios, rather than painfully slow and complex ‘requirements first’ thinking.

The latter is a crucial topic in itself – watch this space carefully for our upcoming No Requirements Manifesto – but for now have a look at the announcement today of Capgemini’s SWIFT HCM (“Structured Way of Implementing Fusion-led Transformation for Human Capital Management”) methodology.

Sorry about that acronym by the way.

For the rest, I truly hope you will agree that SWIFT is not just the next version of an implementation approach: it’s actually the signpost to a new era of creating cloud-based solutions in which the basic rules have changed about how long it takes to implement a solution, how much it costs upfront and who is driving the effort. And although to some it may still seem a bumpy road towards the cloud landscape, for sure it quickly is becoming an expressway.