The cloud has become a source of inspiration for a variety of groundbreaking business models and globally based integration networks. However, even though 69% of companies have a strategy for migrating existing applications to the cloud, becoming a cloud-driven business is easier said than done. With the various configurations, environments, and backstories that come into play, most organizations have a difficult time knowing which route to the cloud is the best for them.
However, according to Syed Rahman, vice president and director of the Center of Expertise for SAP Solutions at Eaton Vance, access to the right technology tools and expertise can clear the fog in people’s understanding and vision of their cloud strategy. “It took us a little while to determine which cloud platform we wanted,” he recalled during the SAP-sponsored Webcast, “Never Compromise Your Mission-Critical Applications in the Cloud with Insights from Forrester.” “But once we figured it out, it was a matter of proper planning and getting the platform deployed.”
Setting a cloud foundation without compromise
As one of the oldest investment management firms in the United States, Eaton Vance has built a reputation for innovative strategies that help clients keep up with fast-changing markets and engage in dynamic, first-mover thinking. The business has grown steadily throughout its 94-year history, from three co-founders in Boston, Massachusetts, to 1,024 employees now scattered across the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
To endure the constant changes and acceleration of today’s economy, Eaton Vance realized it needed to update its systems continuously in a more cost-efficient way. Otherwise, the company ran the risk of operating with insufficient information, leading to unsatisfactory services and missed investment opportunities for its clients.
Most executives in the financial services industry weigh IT spend against potential advantages with considerable scrutiny. According to Rahman, it is essential to have the right tools to quantitatively and qualitatively calculate the total costs, define the benefits of running on a managed cloud, and create strategies to mitigate risk. Acceptance of the cloud is further cemented once executives also understand that a managed cloud is not the same as the public cloud, reassuring them that business information will not be publicly accessible.
By using this information, Rahman’s team engaged in open dialogue with the board, line-of-business management, and supporting workforce. This experience proved effective as the team acquired a solid understanding of the technical and functional shifts that will happen by moving to a cloud platform and using a next-generation ERP suite to run its core operations. “It took about three months to understand how the system will change every aspect of the business,” stated Rahman. “We were able to get ahead of old interfaces, which were previously straightforward, that required new user experience interfaces to maintain their ease of use.”
Building a platform that helps a global workforce operate on the same page
Due to the nature of its business, Eaton Vance was on a continuous cycle of hardware updates to address evolving organizational requirements such as acquisitions, new investment options, and client demands for increased transparency. “Moving to the cloud platform has actually gotten rid of that responsibility because it was automatically done by the provider, dramatically reducing our total cost of owning our IT system,” Rahman said.
One of the first advantages of the cloud deployment emerged in how the asset-management company accesses information. Rahman shared that the reports that previously took hours to generate are now ready within minutes. However, the real benefit of this capability goes well beyond the speed of report delivery. As Rahman advised, migrating to the cloud is “about providing real-time data as our people post new transactions and information to the system and the market changes.”
Another area of improvement was realized in its quality of service of its hosting environment. As its hosting partners divest and sell out their businesses, Eaton Vance was constantly embroiled in a battle over operating with an old hosting provider. Rahman said moving to the cloud eased this tension: “By migrating to an enterprise cloud platform, we have an infrastructure where the provider is not just responsible for selling the license and the hardware, but [we] also ensure a level of performance details in our service-level agreement.”
Kick-starting a cloud-driven future of efficiency and innovation
With the combined improvements enabled by automated, continuous upgrades; global information access; and always-on hosting services, Eaton Vance is now focusing its efforts on delivering the best services to its investment clients. Direct access to a lean team of technology and process expertise empowers every area of the business across all geographic locations to operate as a unit of one that makes decisions on real-time information.
But this is only the beginning for Eaton Vance. The company looks forward to using the cloud environment to enable its accounting team to accelerate and simplify its quarter-end and year-end financial closes. “To gain better performance around our finance processes, we still have a lot to do. But using this cloud platform is, for Eaton Vance, a step in the right direction,” Rahman stated with optimism.
The value proposition of the cloud as a managed service with reduced risk opens Eaton Vance up to a tremendous opportunity to adopt a range of capabilities that can help address organizational requirements on demand. Rahman concluded, “For us, this is a big advantage. We have the technical and business process support we need, anytime we need it.”
Watch the replay of the SAP-sponsored Webcast “Never Compromise Your Mission-Critical Applications in the Cloud with Insights from Forrester” to hear more insights from Syed Rahman, vice president and director of the Center of Expertise for SAP Solutions at Eaton Vance.