Thomasnet.com® CEO, Tony Uphoff, and CTO, Hans Wald, join the “Cloud Migration, Inside the Pivot” podcast to discuss a digital transformation that has been 120 years in the making.
Initially, the company migrated from on-premise servers running Oracle eBusiness to virtual servers running the same applications on AWS with a lift and shift approach. While this offered efficiencies, they strategically decided that a SaaS model was better for the business and moved to Sage Intacct to reduce friction in the customer journey. As they describe, migration is a journey built on collaboration, business & technology alignment, and bringing functional roles into the decision-making process.
For those unaware, Thomasnet.com is a digital platform used by millions of industrial buyers to research, analyze, and source materials for their business. The company connects buyers, engineers, and MRO professionals to over 500,000 North American manufacturers daily to accelerate decision making with real-time content and data updates.
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7:47: Initial approach was “lift & shift;” the team took on-premise servers and moved them to the cloud in several waves which successfully reduced costs for the business
8:29: This lift and shift primarily Included the financial suite of apps from Oracle eBusiness and moving those from physical on-premise servers to virtual servers running on AWS
9:00: This process led the team to reconsider their approach by looking at “friction points” in the customer journey which shifted their focus from lift and shift to a literal transformation
12:44: The Importance of collaboration between business and technology leaders became very clear at this point, where Uphoff and Wald pulled in discipline owners to discuss, debate, and define the best possible customer experience
14:05 A strategy started to emerge that the group called “Interest to Invoice,” which was spurred by an “order to cash” discussion to truly understand how to pull the friction out of the purchase process for their customers.
16:16 Favorite Uphoff Quote: “We’ve ridden the horse of increased efficiency through technology for too long. Today it should enable new capabilities and or new business models”
17:02: Favorite Wald Quote: “This is not just a technology implementation it is a way to start examining our processes and we are deliberately trying to find better ways to do things and then we will look at how to map those to the software.”
19:33: The process of shifting from the Oracle eBusiness suite in AWS to Sage Intacct
21:36 Credit Card Processing automation and integration
22:30: So much of the b2b payment system is still checks, transcoded and input into the system manually…there is a lot of complexity.
24:05: AI & ML requires human insight; it is not just about letting the machines do the work
26:24: How did Thomasnet.com land on Sage Intacct after the long process of considering alternatives when moving from Oracle eBusiness suite
31:15: Uphoff to the team at Thomasnet.com on the shift: “My role was to define what this means to you, but, more importantly, what this means to our customer.”
38:02: The “inverse relationship” on being good at understanding business strategy as a technology leader, or technology depth as a business leader
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