By: Keith Wayland May 30, 2023
Organizations are often of the mindset, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” And while this is true in many situations, there is much to gain from proactively enhancing your office’s back-end infrastructure.
Businesses looking to improve productivity, reduce costs, and execute with greater efficiency can do so by phasing out their on-premise resource systems and migrating to Infor’s CloudSuite.
Before understanding the benefits of cloud-based systems, however, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges on-premise ERP systems, like Lawson pose in the modern-day workplace.
The Call for Digital Transformation
Legacy ERP solutions had their time and over the last 20 years have played a fundamental role in helping organizations monitor and manage their office back-end. Due to technology constantly evolving and major events like COVID-19, the rise of cloud ERP solutions have made shortcomings of on-premise systems much more visible. In fact, according to a survey conducted by AppDynamics, 66% of businesses “say the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in their digital strategy, driving an urgent need to push through initiatives which were once a part of multi-year digital transformation programs.”
It’s clear then that the time to adopt cloud-based ERP solutions is ever increasing and failing to lean in can harm employers. Below we highlight some of the major challenges organizations face with legacy systems.
- Less competitive: One of the biggest obstacles with on-premise ERPs relates to the competitor landscape. Say for example, an organization within your industry migrated from Lawson to CloudSuite in the last year. As a result of that transition, they can operate with greater efficiency due to streamlined processes, more automation opportunities, fewer point-solutions, increased mobile access, and a simplified architecture. A situation like this puts your business at risk of being outpaced by competition, not only from a performance standpoint, but also from a process perspective. Job candidates and new employees that have experience in your industry might find that the software you have in place does not meet the needs of the business the way they’re used to running it. This could lead to frustrated staff, turnover, and as a result, lower quality service for your patients, constituents, and customers.
- Burdensome point solutions: Another challenge with a legacy ERP is the requirement for multiple point solutions to achieve desired business outcomes. And since new business objectives can arise at any time, many single-purpose or niche applications that integrate with your core ERP system accumulate over time. The more add-on systems connected to your on-premise system, the more time intensive they become to manage, which ultimately impedes your ability to work efficiently. The more disparate applications connected with your ERP, the more possibility there is for issues to arise, from data inconsistencies and the number of updates to manage to maintaining interfaces, operating systems, and database versions. As a final concern, the learning curve for IT teams to understand the architecture grows with each additional application.
- Time intensive: In addition to the challenges mentioned above, legacy on-premise ERP solutions require a lot of manual effort and maintenance, from ensuring compatibility across the different point solutions to installing updates and building workflows alongside an ERP, as opposed to within. For example, if your organization is leveraging a third party solution for payroll and check processing, you would need to contact the vendor directly to roll out any updates. Your staff will need to dedicate time and resources to communicating, planning, and deploying the updates as well. With CloudSuite, payroll is an integrated SaaS application, and updates are seamlessly released through Infor.
Making the switch to a cloud-based ERP is no small feat, but one that is simply better for your business in the long run. Solutions like CloudSuite are far more process-oriented—they’re not transactional databases. They have an increased application footprint that allows you to reduce point solutions while also creating greater access for users. This means less maintenance for your organization and is just one of the many benefits.
The Benefits of CloudSuite
Infor’s CloudSuite ERP solution provides a host of quality-of-life improvements to organizations that take full advantage of the state-of-the-art system. Below we’ve highlighted some of the major benefits.
- Simplified architecture: As previously mentioned, CloudSuite and other cloud-based ERP systems significantly reduce your number of connected point solutions because many of them come standard out-of-the-box. That means greater usability, efficiency, and simplicity across your business’ back-end architecture.
- Reduced costs: When you make the move from on-premise to CloudSuite, you immediately save on physical hardware costs, and licensing multiple point solutions. Oftentimes, on-premise systems require niche skills and management from various vendors, so making the switch to CloudSuite also poses an opportunity to save on administrative overhead. With CloudSuite, you have the support from Infor, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the vast community userbase. Plus, with CloudSuite, your organization can better budget each year as the upfront subscription costs are built in over the course of a five or ten-year contract.
- Greater reliability: Organizations can incur up to $50,000 per hour in lost productivity due to unexpected IT downtime, according to a study by Intracule. Businesses can minimize these costs by adopting CloudSuite, due to its increased reliability and uptime. The reason? CloudSuite is a SaaS and the responsibilities of managing and keeping it updated fall on the provider, which in this case is Infor.
- Increased security: Next, there’s IT security, which was recently identified as the highest priority for organizations, according to an IDG report. Fortunately, security has matured significantly in the cloud environment. Leveraging role-based security measures, cloud services protect internal data with various privilege controls. CloudSuite security systems protect the networks hosting your data in the cloud, thus reducing risk, and eliminating the need for third-party connections. AWS too provides data security and management protection to Infor’s CloudSuite users.
- Real-time updates: On-premise system updates are resource-intensive since they occur less frequently and usually involve direct outreach to vendors. CloudSuite on the other hand, updates in real-time and on a designated timetable. With Infor multi-tenant support, cloud updates are pushed live like a mobile device—that is, behind the scenes and without disruption to your workday. Cloud updates for bug fixes, regulatory updates, and new functionality happen routinely. You have the ability to test and turn on update functionality when your organization is ready. And in the event, there is unexpected CloudSuite downtime, organizations will have on-demand support from Infor and AWS.
- Increased employee productivity: Despite the initial setbacks associated with migrating to CloudSuite, organizations can ultimately save their employees time and resources post-implementation. Many of the manual tasks, such as ensuring compatibility, verifying data fields between initial and target locations, and pushing live application updates can be automated or handled by the service provider. With these tasks taken care of, employees can allocate their time to better serving your business, as opposed to dealing with complex, layered back-end infrastructure and IT concerns.
CloudSuite Implementation Blockers
There have been several historical barriers to cloud adoption ranging from security to data to privacy. Moreover, migrating to the cloud is resource-intensive, and it can disrupt day-to-day business operations.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to adopting CloudSuite, and other cloud-based ERPs deals with control. Business users in organizations that have an on-premise ERP solution oftentimes believe they have more control over how they can customize the application and access their data.
The reality is that this is simply not the case. Cloud-based ERPs have advanced capabilities for configuring HCM, Supply Chain Management, Finance, and technical development. Plus, Infor offers highly customizable reporting tools, such as the business intelligence and analytics platform, Birst, so executives and business users alike have visibility into the data that’s most important to them, in a clear, easy-to-view way. CloudSuite also provides many delivered reports, dashboards, filters, and views to help organizations better understand and audit their data.
While there are legitimate concerns regarding change management and helping stakeholders understand how migrating to the cloud will affect business practices, there are many steps, such as engaging in a pre-planning exercise, that can be taken in advance of the project to inform and prepare your organization for success.
Of course, managing a migration, including retrofitting reporting and interface development, or taking the opportunity to transform processes during a CloudSuite implementation can be complex. To alleviate resources concerns and ensure your organization is getting the most out of its cloud ERP, consult industry experts like RPI for assistance.
Out With the Old, in With the New
Cloud architecture is built to be flexible and adaptable to new technologies as they emerge in the marketplace. To that end, organizations with on-premise systems have a unique opportunity before them. As discussed in this post, now is a great time to revisit your ERP system and evaluate options for transitioning to the cloud.
While a change like this can be intimidating, Infor’s CloudSuite is still very much so based on the same DNA as Lawson. It shares the heritage and was designed to overcome the limitations of legacy systems and offer a modern experience built on emerging technology capable of extending to meet where an organization is today and where it wants to be tomorrow.
Ultimately, making the move can position your organization to scale, evolve and innovate. With our history in the Infor Lawson space and track record of successful CloudSuite implementations, engaging with a partner like RPI can ensure the process is efficient, and successful.
If you need help evaluating your current ERP system, discussing options for migrating to the cloud, and identifying which implementation method will best suit your organization, contact RPI Consultants. We would love to hear more about your current processes and goals for the coming years.