Infor CloudSuite, RPI Consultants, and more with Keith Wayland

Michael Grace talks with RPI Consultants Managing Partner Keith Wayland about why companies should plan their migration to Infor CloudSuite V11 sooner rather than later, and a bunch of other interesting topics related to Infor and RPI. 

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 to Tech Pro Unicorn podcast Series Two, here in March. And we are joined by my guest Keith Wayland, who’s the managing partner at RPI. Welcome Keith.

Keith Wayland:

Thank you. Happy to be here.

Michael:

Awesome. If you could just take a moment and introduce yourself a little bit further for the audience.

Keith Wayland:

Sure, absolutely. My name is Keith Wayland, I’m a managing partner at RPI Consultants. I’ve been in the ERP space for just over 20 years now, specifically in professional services mostly related to Infor CloudSuite and Lawson.

Michael:

Awesome. Well, welcome. Thanks for taking the time. Today, we’d like to talk a little bit about CloudSuite, I know it’s something that really the masses are now starting to turn their attention to and really starting to make an effort to move towards. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to pick your brain and get some of your experience.

Michael:

And we’ll start with asking, really, how is CloudSuite making a difference? What’s the difference between CloudSuite versus Version 10?

Keith Wayland:

Sure. So I’m going to assume that we’ll have some listeners that are familiar with Lawson, which is a ERP system that started in the mid ’70s and some that are potentially not. And I guess the biggest thing in CloudSuite it is part of the new wave of ERP software. And potentially two of the most critical elements of that are that it is SAS software, and what that really means is that there are a lot of folks sharing a single instance, kind of that Amazon experience and everybody’s sort of working off the same platform and that has some key long-term consequences. And the second is the way that it’s built is it’s sort of a modern coding infrastructure which allows it to be more nimble in terms of its updates and evolution, and scalability.

Michael:

Awesome. So it’s similar to maybe what other users are familiar with cloud systems? I saw a great quote somewhere and somebody said, “Cloud isn’t some mysterious thing, it’s really just somebody else’s computer.” And so-

Keith Wayland:

So it is-

Michael:

Yes.

Keith Wayland:

Go ahead.

Michael:

Go ahead.

Keith Wayland:

In a sense that it’s been true in certain cases where they put it on somebody else’s computer and call it cloud, but true cloud is what they call multitenant where we’re all sharing the same core platform that we’re working on. And CloudSuite is true cloud, not pretend cloud, if you will.

Michael:

Awesome. Okay. And what would you say the key benefits are that customers get when they move to the multitenant cloud?

Keith Wayland:

So I think there’s three major ones. The first is that the folks that build CloudSuite along with probably a lot of the other current generation of ERP systems are the ones that worked on ERP implementations in the ’90s and early 2000. And when you’re building something from the ground up, based on your experiences implementing out of the field, you take into account the challenges that you had. So it is fundamentally more flexible and it adapts to some of the needs that are out there in the market. So right out of the box, the functionality is more robust, there’s less bolt-ons to cover gaps and it offers core flexibility in the things that really matter in terms of how you track the financials and HR structures of your business. So I’d say that’s number one.

Keith Wayland:

Number two is partly an Infor strategy, that it is a complete software package. So when you move to CloudSuite, you don’t own certain modules and then consider whether you need others, you get this full bundle of functionality. And it’s not just the modules, it’s embedded workflow, so what that means is that when you look at certain things that might assist your organization like invoice approvals, they’re coming out of the box. Which leads me into the third, which is that it’s a lot more process than transactional driven. So when you look at old-school ERPs, they’ll have the ability to retain information for an invoice and process of payment, but in an organization, an invoice is a document that needs to get routed somewhere for approval and coding, and for many years we’ve been doing that with third-party systems. And here this comes delivered, that functionality, that workflow, that document integration. And so I think there’s a lot of benefits there.

Keith Wayland:

And I know I said three, but I think there’s another one that comes long-term that comes from the multitenant and that is when you have a community of folks that are all on the same version and iteration and underlying infrastructure of a system, then that shared knowledge becomes a lot more powerful. Right now, when you look at the older ERP systems, they tend to have a very diverse set of footprints and versioning and customization and it’s hard to roll over things that worked in one organization to another.

Michael:

Awesome. I think some people are going to miss the qualifying conversation before you can have a real conversation, right? Like what version are you on? Are you on [inaudible 00:05:52]? Are you in the cloud? Are you IBM? Are you-

Keith Wayland:

I won’t miss it.

Michael:

Yeah. You ask a whole bunch of questions that really have nothing to do but just figure out whether or not you’re the same or not. So, that’ll be great.

Keith Wayland:

Because I think the reality is still those conversations happen because so often you would try to reproduce something that worked in one location and run into issues because of those specifics.

Michael:

Right. It works for one but not for another, yep. Why would now be the time? There’s so much going on out there in every organization, but why is now a kind of… What’s the drivers, I guess, if you will, of why people should really move to CloudSuite now or at least start planning for it?

Keith Wayland:

One of the really interesting things about ERP is that they are incredibly sticky. It’s a major organizational effort in terms of resources and costs to implement an ERP system, it’s disruptive to your operations. And so when you look at implementing, you’re looking at not something that you’re doing for next year or the year after that, you’re looking at a 20 to 25 year plan, that’s the average life cycle of an ERP system. So I think that there was a very large wave of ERP implementations, I don’t think there was in the late ’90s leading up to Y2K. And if you look at lots of customer base but also Oracle PeopleSoft, et cetera, they’ve been on about 20, 25 years, they’ve absorbed those costs, they’ve capitalized it, they implemented their ERP for their needs in the late ’90s based on the functionality and limitations that work today.

Keith Wayland:

So I think that the reason to do it now is because it’s there and it’s available and it’s such a significantly [inaudible 00:00:07:37]. I think if there was anything like what we’re doing today in the late ’90s or early 2000s, it would have been what people would have been implementing. And I think that the longer you wait, the more you’re shortchanging yourself. That said, these are big organizational efforts and I definitely am not saying that you should just next week say, “Okay, let’s go do this.” Right?

Michael:

Right.

Keith Wayland:

Appropriate planning and making sure that it has enough of a priority in an organization are really important. One of the things that concern me is an organization that was doing a migration, a large CloudSuite implementation and that project was not listed in the top 20 most important projects for the executive office. And so that’s definitely not the way you would approach it. And I’d say if your organization has things, other priorities at the moment, then do those, make sure that you’re going to get the attention of the executive sponsors because there’s decisions that are going to get made that are going to affect your ability to compete 10 years from now.

Michael:

Right. Okay. That’s great. There seems to obviously be a key driver there. You mentioned pre-planning, which leads into kind of my next questioning. And I know we’ve done a couple of webinars and such talking about pre-planning, could you explain maybe just a little bit about what pre-planning is and why it’s important? I know that we’ve talked about what you can do now is kind of the question we always get from our customers, like, “Are we going to budget for that? But what could we be doing now?” And we always talk about pre-planning. So if you could tell the guests maybe a little bit about what that is and why it’s important.

Keith Wayland:

Absolutely. So it dovetails nicely into what we’re talking about, this being major efforts. And pre-planning is about scoping and understanding what a successful outcome is going to look like in your organization. So it’s everything from what is the correct timing and order and resource allocation and who and how you’re going to partner strategically to accomplish this to also it’s an education exercise. It is important to have vested business owners in this process, there’s value to them it’s just that it hasn’t always been communicated in a way that they understand what it is that they can get out of this, right?

Michael:

Right.

Keith Wayland:

Like you want to create awareness of the val