Infor CloudSuite Benefits with Richard Leigh Stout

Today we talk with RPI Consultants Partner Richard Leigh Stout to understand the benefits customers are achieving with Infor CloudSuite.

Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Tech Pro Unicorn Podcast brought to you by RPI Consultants, a podcast about the magic of digital transformation through technology. Each week we’ll cover topics related to ERP, RPA, business transformation, leadership, healthcare, and unicorns.

Michael:

All right. Welcome back to Tech Pro Unicorn Podcast, episode four here in the month of March. We are joined today by RPI partner, Richard Leigh Stout. Mr. Stout, if you could just introduce yourself a little bit to the audience.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Yeah, sure Michael, thanks for having me. This is Richard Leigh Stout. I have been with RPI consultants since about 2004. In 2013, I had the opportunity to join the leadership of the organization, and I currently work along with my practice managers to manage the Infor Professional Services focused on CloudSuite implementation.

Michael:

Awesome. Well, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule, I know that there’s a lot of implementations and such going on and you have a busy day, so I appreciate you taking some time to join the podcast.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Sure thing.

Michael:

We’re obviously talking about Infor CloudSuite. It’s a topic that is getting a lot of attention in the market as people are looking at what to do with their ERP solutions. And I noticed that RPI has really positioned a couple of offerings, but one of them that’s a particular interest is around pre-planning. And so could you talk a little bit about pre-planning, what it is, why it’s important to pre-plan versus just doing implementation? And any other trends that you think might be helpful to folks, things that are happening that you see as helpful to being successful.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Yeah, sure. So pre-planning is different from planning in that pre-planning is some activities that you can do prior to getting an implementation project actually rolling. Pre-planning involves coming up with this scope and structure of an implementation project, a high-level timeline. Really figuring out what you want to achieve, what are your objectives with an implementation project, and then starting to get a handle on resource requirements in terms of your project team, an implementation partner to work with, technology assets and requirements for the project. Pre-planning, basically, the advantage to conducting a pre-planning exercise is it puts you in a much better position to find an implementation partner that’s a great fit for your organization and for your goals as a project, and then to get a head start on initiating an implementation project so you can overall shorten your timeline, be more efficient.

Michael:

Awesome. Thank you. That sounds useful for anyone really. And I think when I listened to you describe it, I think people kind of maybe go through that on their own in various fashions, maybe as they’re budgeting or going through a budget cycle trying to estimate-[crosstalk 00:00:03:43]

Richard Leigh Stout:

Sure. Yeah. At least any organization that’s had to do an RFP for a CloudSuite implementation, I think they’ve had to do some level of pre-planning just to figure out what goes in the RFP, and collect some information that’s needed, answer questions from different vendors and be able to do an apples-apples comparison looking at various implementation proposals.

Michael:

Awesome. So as you’re helping customers move to CloudSuite and helping them with their planning and such, are you noticing any trends? How is this different than maybe going from a previous version, like version nine to version 10? How is CloudSuite different?

Richard Leigh Stout:

Yeah, I guess, CloudSuite really is a different application than Lawson. It shares a lot of the same DNA. It’s a natural step forward from Lawson, but it’s a different application than Lawson. So previous Lawson upgrades were generally technical focused projects, oftentimes run by IT, and oftentimes a measure of success was minimal disruption or change to the business, for Lawson upgrade. I think, we have quite the opposite with a CloudSuite implementation, either CloudSuite HCM or CloudSuite FSM, or some program that encompasses a full Lawson three Suite to a CloudSuite migration. These projects are a lot more business centric. With CloudSuite, we had the opportunity to rethink a lot of core design decisions that were made back when an organization first implemented Lawson. And many of our customers look a lot different now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago, organizationally. So now’s a great time for them to start with a fresh new design.

Michael:

Awesome. Yeah. I think in a previous podcast, Keith had said that the average life in the RP customers seemed to have their ERP for about 20 years. And a lot of red, a lot of change to the organization, as you just spoke to warrants, then changes to things like hierarchy and GL org structure and such.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, especially with our healthcare customer base, I mean, the healthcare market has changed pretty dramatically since the late night.

Michael:

Right. So as they move to CloudSuite and they take advantage and redo their business processes and their organizational structure and such, are there other benefits that they’re getting as they move to CloudSuite?

Richard Leigh Stout:

There are a lot of benefits to moving to CloudSuite. Where can I begin? As a more modern platform, CloudSuite provides a level of visibility into organizational data that legacy Coldwell based solutions just can’t provide. There’s also a great deal of flexibility in terms of their relationships between structural data both on the HR side, as well as, the financial side. So it’s so much easier to model a business within CloudSuite with less compromise, compromise dictated by limitations and that we had in legacy software.

Michael:

Awesome. That sounds exciting. They’re always challenging. And it’s always good to hear that there’s light and benefits at the end of the tunnel for all the effort that folks go through. Why would you say now’s the time to start at least planning for, if not start actually implementing CloudSuite.

Richard Leigh Stout:

For customers that are running Lawson today, if you’ve been in forum or user groups, or if you’ve been keeping a pulse on the loss in space, I think you can see that now it’s pretty much the middle of the migration wave. So this is a great time to, if not, if you haven’t started a CloudSuite project, yet, this is a great time to start planning for a cloud. So, you can move while you can take advantage of everything going on in the market, in terms of Infor participating in a lot of projects. The maturity of the software application as larger entities have already completed migrations and the resources available out there right now that are focused on loss into the CloudSuite migrations. Certainly, there’s a limited talent pool out there of experienced consultants. And now’s the time to start locking in your project team for what could be one to three year program.

Michael:

Awesome. I was excited to hear you say when one of your items, I’m going to key on it. You said, “This is the middle of the integration wave.” So I just want to talk a little bit about that because I know initially, customers having come from the customer community, nobody wants to be first, right? Nobody wants to be on that bleeding edge. So it’s good to hear that some customers have already done it and gone live. I know we’re in the middle of several large, very large healthcare implementations and some public sector. So you would say that it’s pretty safe to get into the pool at this point? The water has been tested.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Yeah, totally. You know that the path to get here has been a little bit different between the HCM and the finance and procurement sides, but the HCM application has been around for quite a long time. Now it’s been successfully used on Prem for eight or 10 years, but what I’m talking about system maturity and attaining that critical mass, I’m talking about multi-tenant, and that’s really where the future is for these applications. And I think we’ve seen enough, large and varied clients successfully move into enforce multi-tenant solution, both on the HCM and the FSM sides at this point.

Richard Leigh Stout:

At least I have a pretty good confidence in the platform and the capabilities of the software. It is also still being actively developed and we’re seeing a lot of advances come up in the software as Infor takes advantage of that more and more experience with different customer requirements, but, as well as, emerging new technologies and capabilities in the space, for example, their acquisition of Birst, and then being able to much improve on the analytics that come with CloudSuite by taking advantage of the first tool.

Michael:

Awesome. So you use the term I just want to clarify in case folks listening, don’t understand, can you just focus on that multi-tenant for a second, now that’s a lot of our customers are coming from an On-prem environment. So how is multi-tenant different than On-prem?

Richard Leigh Stout:

So On-premise software is the traditional legacy model, and that’s where a client hosts systems in their own data centers. Of course, there’s alternative approaches there such as which is hosting, and that’s been quite popular in the Lawson space for a number of years, but when I talk about multi-tenant, it’s really a very different way that applications are delivered. And I think one of the biggest impacts in that change is the update strategy. So moving forward I believe that multi-tenant delivery is going to be the primary way that business applications are made available to clients. And I say that across the spectrum, not just in the enforce space.

Richard Leigh Stout:

Multi-tenant means that the software vendor hosts one instance of an application and that many different customers can use that same instance. And in that mode, the software vendor being that they have one consistent platform that they have control over is able to update the system much more rapidly than in a legacy model where a software vendor needs to account for hundreds of different, various deployment scenarios. So with multi-tenant applications, what we see is a switch in the update paradigm from major upgrades that might happen once a year, once every couple of years, that require a serious round of testing and often come with regressions