Arris is laying the groundwork for a cloud infrastructure rugged enough to support the company for the next ten to 15 years.
"What we want to do is to make sure our operational backbone just runs, and focus our attention on customers," Phil Baldock, Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) senior vice president and chief information officer, tells Enterprise Cloud News.
He adds, "And let's make IT more exciting. We don't spend enough time focused on future technology and taking the leadership position."
Arris is a $6.8 billion telecommunications equipment manufacturer incorporated in England and Wales that provides cable operators and telcos with high-speed data, video and telephony systems for homes and businesses. It's now the biggest player in that industry, having eclipsed Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).
Like many companies, Arris has grown through acquisitions, most recently acquiring Ruckus wireless networking in December. (See Arris Reels in Ruckus – Why I Like This Deal.)
As part of the company's drive to transform IT, Arris is transitioning from a 15-year-old Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) 11i on-premises installation -- acquired when the company bought Motorola Home from Google -- to instead run its business on Oracle Cloud Applications. All told, Arris is moving 100 applications to the cloud. (See Arris Secures Motorola Home.)
Arris sponsored the No. 19 stock car that won the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship, driven by Daniel Suárez. Photo by Royalbroil (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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"We are taking our back office, which has been untouched and unloved for 15 years, to the forefront of technology," Baldock says.
The decision to stay with Oracle "was a slam-dunk," Baldock says. "We've got a lot of talented IT people who understand Oracle."
Arris is implementing Oracle Financial Management, Supply Chain Management, Human Capital Management (HCM Solutions), Procurement Cloud and CPQ Cloud configure price quote software.
To make the transition, Arris is going through an iterative design process, as opposed to previous waterfall-based design. Arris prototyped its cloud applications this quarter, with another prototype phase scheduled for the first quarter next year, and production rollouts scheduled to begin in the second quarter and continuing through mid-2019.
"This is a 10- or 15-year decision for us," Baldock says. "We have to get it right now."
The transition isn't so much a technology problem as it is a business process problem, Baldock says. "The biggest challenge is not technology -- it's change management, bringing staff along the journey."
Arris is looking to Oracle's cloud-based supply chain tools to drive down costs. Arris currently spends $5 billion to $6 billion a year on cost of sales.
A major reason for the shift to cloud for Arris is to force itself to continue innovating on IT. With on-premises software, when an upgrade comes out, "you get your Oracle CD and it goes in a dusty cupboard." With cloud, the vendor updates the software in its data centers, and those come to you automatically. "It's like you're getting on the Oracle bus and you're forced into an upgrade cycle," Baldock says. "It forces a certain rigor on us." With Arris's existing on-premises software, the company was so far out of sync with the standard that it had to spend millions on value-added services just to catch up.
Before deciding to go to the cloud, Arris planned to update to Oracle R12. But then it would have had to face another upgrade in five years. The cloud is a longer-term investment.
As part of the transition, Arris wants to extend Oracle to such major customers as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) "What we really want to do is build connections to customers, where they can have an Amazon-like experience," Baldock says. Arris would provide visibility into the order in process, warranties, service chain and analytics.
— Mitch Wagner Editor, Enterprise Cloud News