Cell C uses Britehouse Oracle expertise to move into public cloud

Cell C gains cost saving, agility and employee collaboration benefits by converting on-premises Oracle to ‘born in the cloud'.

Cell C, South Africa's third largest mobile communications operator, has moved its human capital management (HCM) systems into the cloud, using the Oracle Customer to Cloud (C2C) programme and the implementation expertise of Britehouse Oracle.


Britehouse Oracle is the only certified Oracle cloud provider in Africa.

Cell C uses its HCM systems to recruit and retain people who exemplify and help it sustain its market position as ‘the provider of possibilities'. The company's HCM platforms, particularly performance management, are therefore of strategic importance in enabling the company to maintain its competitive edge. Equally important is its learning solution, which, along with enabling employees to keep abreast of the latest thinking in the mobile communications sector, enables Cell C to contribute to the country's transformation by transferring knowledge to and building capacity among young South Africans.


However, Cell C's performance management and learning solutions had to be decommissioned because of escalating outsourced resourcing costs and monthly licence costs made onerous by the rand-dollar exchange rate.


The company's IT division suggested moving from a capex to an opex operating model, by replacing the on-premises solutions with equivalents contained within Oracle's C2C programme. Oracle would provide credits for the on-premises versions that would cover the cost of moving the relevant HCM activities to its cloud.


In a 12-month, phased, low risk approach, Britehouse Oracle deployed Cell C's HCM to the cloud, using the first several weeks of the implementation period to introduce Cell C executives to the cloud's commoditisation of processes.


Cell C executive head of enterprise systems, Carol Wright-Rogers, says the business expected its existing solutions would simply be copied to the cloud.


"It took time to adjust to the fact that the cloud is quite prescriptive to process. It standardises and simplifies everything. It's all about accelerated delivery. Retaining our ‘as is' state would have negated that. Until we got that, Britehouse Oracle kept asking us what we wanted done and we kept asking how it would be done.

"But, as soon as the business saw just how quickly they were getting their desired functionality from the cloud, they accepted that it was up to Britehouse Oracle to ensure that what we wanted was delivered and focused instead on delineating our requirements accurately."


Tanya Langbein, Britehouse Oracle Cloud Executive and account owner for the Cell C project, says many customers find the public cloud's aggressive speed to deployment challenging. "Customers have always wanted more speed in implementations than is realistically possible with on-premises solutions.


"But they're taken aback by the fact that the cloud delivers faster than they can prepare for. They have to work at pace with us – and they have to do more change management than they are used to.


"The cloud also means relinquishing one's attachment to having unique processes, as though the processes define the company. The generic nature of public cloud methodologies is what provides the agility every modern company needs.


"Once executives realise that the simplicity of the cloud gives momentum to innovation in their business, they can't get enough of it."

Putting its HCM systems in the cloud will save Cell C four times the cost of the same functionality being run on-premises.


"Just as importantly, the cloud project has created unity and commitment among our employees," Wright-Rogers says. "We now have what I call social HR. Because the cloud platform feels like social media to employees, they're using it and collaborating with one another on a daily basis. They're no longer treating our HR initiatives as administrative ‘stuff' and getting involved with it only every few months when they absolutely have to meet key performance indicators."