Demystifying the cloud ERP implementation process — Key steps and considerations
In part two of our cloud blog series, Kasun Sandaruwan, Vice President for Americas at Fortude, explains the key decisions and activities that stakeholders should pay attention to along the cloud implementation or migration process, with a special focus on Infor CloudSuite.
1. Will the cloud implementation disrupt the business? What are the risks?
Over time, you have stabilized and optimized your ERP solution to run in a way to best support your business needs. At this point, you may feel apprehensive about making any changes to your ERP. And business leaders often subscribe to the adage that “if it is not broken, don’t fix it,” which stands true in some situations.
There will always be risks with migrating to the cloud as with any other changes made to enterprise systems. However, meticulously planning the migration, identifying the best approach, and using the correct tools and technologies can reduce these risks significantly and allow the business to run without disruptions after going live.
2. What are the cloud migration options available for enterprises?
- Like-for-like migration: This approach is a pure technical upgrade where the existing solution is migrated to the Infor CloudSuite platform with technical uplifts. This works well if you are running an older version of M3, with standard M3 functionality, without many system modifications, and do not have an immediate requirement for any solution improvements. As it’s the same solution running on the cloud, the risks associated with this approach are little to none, with no requirement for heavy change management. This option also reduces the migration duration.
Learn more about the Infor CloudSuite: https://www.infor.com/nordics/products/cloud-strategy
- Full reimplementation: Here, the cloud migration will be used as an opportunity to relook at the business requirements and redesign the solution end-to-end. This is the nuclear option. There will be many risks and challenges associated with this approach, but this option also offers game-changing benefits.
Since you are redesigning the solution, you can start with a clean slate, introduce best practices to your processes, and use new features and innovations rolled out by the cloud solution provider. This approach works best if you are coming off of a heavily modified or an obsolete version of M3 or Movex or if your business processes have significantly changed and the business demands a complete revamp of the solution. Also, if you are migrating to CloudSuite from a different ERP platform like System21, this is the only option.
- Hybrid approach: ‘Hybrid’ is a combination of options 1 and 2: the existing solution will be migrated to the cloud, but key solution improvements will be considered. This option works well if you have modified the system moderately and require immediate solution improvements for selected business processes.
3. What other factors should be considered when implementing a cloud solution?
Consider what data you want to migrate and which supplementary products you wish to implement in the cloud along with the core ERP.
In both like-for-like and hybrid approaches, you have the option to migrate all your data, including historical data, to the cloud. Infor data migration team offers services to do this. However, you must decide what data you need to migrate to CloudSuite. You do not need to migrate all your historical data because you can archive them and move them to a data warehouse for reporting purposes. Migrating 2-3 years of historical data or only migrating open transactions will be sufficient in most cases.
Infor has introduced several edge products replacing their predecessors. For example, Infor Warehouse Mobility is now Infor Factory Track, and Infor Process Automation has been replaced with ION workflows and ION notifications. Together, we need to decide when to bring in these products during the cloud implementation process.
As the implementation partner, before starting the migration process, we will be conducting a discovery workshop with your teams to understand the current solution landscape. We will look at the existing system architecture, integrations, system modifications, core ERP solution in detail—and most importantly, any pain points your business users are experiencing with the current solution. A key task of the discovery workshop is to understand your long-term business objectives. Then, based on the findings, we will recommend which migration approach works best for you.
Key deliverables of the discovery workshop include the high-level project plan, the system architecture design, possible solutions to address pain points, and the cost estimate.
5. So, what are the implementation steps?
Once the approach is finalized and the scope and the timelines are agreed upon, the cloud migration begins.
In both like-for-like and hybrid approaches, we start with the data migration. The core M3 solution, along with current and historical data, will be moved to the cloud as-is. Once that is done, the consulting team and business users will test the solution to ensure both configuration and data have been moved to the cloud correctly.
We then approach the training phase. We will train the business users on using the CloudSuite solution and ramp up your IT team on Infor cloud technologies.
Subsequently, our technical consulting team will start working with your team to uplift the technical components such as output documents, MAK modifications, integrations, JScript, Mashups and reports.
In parallel, the consulting team will collaborate with business users to look at possible solution improvements.
When the core solution is up and running on the cloud, the Fortude team will conduct the integration testing, user acceptance testing and full-scale testing. If you are migrating from an on-premises version of M3 or Movex, even though core functionality has not changed, the CloudSuite solution will look and feel different. Therefore, it is important that users familiarize themselves with the new solution throughout the implementation.
This is a very high-level overview of the cloud implementation process. However, in a real-world scenario, functional and technical consulting teams will look at each stage more comprehensively, considering the unique nature of your business and the aspirations of your stakeholders.