Deploying Infor CloudSuite has a lot of upside potential but it also has a number of risks that you should be aware of. In this article we are going to mention some of the benefits but also some of the risks of implementing Infor Cloud Suite into your business.
Many modern businesses are deploying Infor Cloud Suite. Many of these businesses are mid-market organizations that are too big to deploy a small enterprise-wide technology but they're not so big that they need a SAP, Oracle or a Microsoft Dynamics. Infor CloudSuite is really well positioned at the upper end of the mid market. What we want to do today is talk about what the risks of deploying the technology are, not to necessarily change your mind about infor Cloud Suite but rather to inform you so that you can mitigate those risks and manage those risks proactively throughout your implementation.
One of the first things to be aware of is that the CloudSuite of Infor products is an emerging and developing tool set. in other words, while Infor is a mature product the actual CloudSuite, cloud-based solutions are still being developed and still being migrated to the cloud. In the past, you had on-premise Solutions like Siteline and M3 within the Infor space and now those solutions are being migrated to CloudSuite as a more holistic, complete Cloud offering. Along with that transition though comes the reality that some of the maturity that had been developed over decades in the on-premise model is still not completely migrated in the cloud model. So when deploying Infor CloudSuite, it's important to recognize where those gaps and deficiencies are, not so much so you change your mind about deploying CloudSuite but so you know what you're going to do to navigate those risks.
Infor CloudSuite is more flexible than a lot of the other systems in the marketplace. For example, if you compare Infor CloudSuite to say SAP S/4HANA, you generally have a bit more flexibility and ease of deployment with Infor CloudSuite. That's a positive thing and It may not sound like a risk but there is a dark side to that flexibility. The dark side of that flexibility is the fact that you can change the software and that doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Oftentimes, when organizations deploy flexible Solutions like Infor CloudSuite, they gloss over some of the resistance to change and some of the change management issues inherent in any organization. Resistance to change oftentimes leads to changing the software to fit the way the business runs today rather than leveraging some of the capabilities within the software. It's important to recognize that the flexibility of Infor CloudSuite can actually backfire if you don't have a robust change management plan in place.
Infor has an implementation methodology called Infor Delivery Method and Infor Delivery Method is a lot like other software vendor implementation methodologies that focus on designing, building, testing and deploying software. There's nothing wrong with that, those are all important tasks that you have to do within a transformation but like other implementation methodologies from other software vendors, the Infor implementation methodology doesn't address a lot of the core fundamentals that are going to make your project successful. Functions like organizational change management, identifying change impacts, the formal re-engineering process, the overall program management and program governance to include the Infor deployment but other work streams within the non-technical aspects of the transformation. When deploying Infor CloudSuite you certainly want to leverage that Infor methodology but you want to augment that methodology with the other work streams and other tool sets that are going to be required to make your project successful.
Another thing to be aware of when deploying Infor CloudSuite, especially if you're a larger organization, is that it will most likely require a larger consulting team to deploy the technology for you. Infor has a considerable number of consultants available throughout the world but they don't have the same number of consultants that are certified in the software as say SAP or an Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics. There are plenty available but you just want to be aware that they're not as plentiful as the consultants that are available in other software verticals. Having said that, if you're deploying Infor CloudSuite, you're certainly going to get a lot more resources than most other tier 2 and tier 3 enterprise systems but it is something to be aware of as you compare Info CloudSuite deployments to some of the larger ERP system deployments.
Another common Pitfall with Infor CloudSuite implementations is the fact that implementations are oftentimes underestimated in terms of cost, time, resources and budget. The reason for that is because sales reps from software vendors are human and they're going to downplay many of the risks and some of the complexities of their software. Additionally, the fact that Infor is less complex and less risky in general than deploying SAP or Oracle, leads to a false sense of security that the deployment is going to be materially easier than other system deployments might look.
So when you're planning for your implementation you want to be sure that you're realistic and that you've captured all the different components of your implementation that are going to be required for success and you also want to make sure you add a dose of reality to the assumptions behind your project, your budget and other aspects of the proposal that you get from infor or from your infor reseller.
Like many other ERP software vendors and consultants in the market, risk mitigation, risk identification and risk management is not a particular strength of more technically focused consultants. Most consultants and most infor resources you find are going to be focused on designing, building, testing and deploying technology, that's their job. Their job is not necessarily to recognize where the business risks are, the operational risk, the organizational risks and the program management risks, those are all things that are largely incumbent on you, the implementing organization, to resolve. You certainly might leverage third-party independent resources like our team at Third Stage Consulting to help you with that but ultimately you are responsible for those pieces and that's typically not an area that Infor or its implementation partners are going to be good at nor are they necessarily going to include that in the scope of their implementation.
Finally, in the quest to deploy Infor CloudSuite, many organizations and many clients we see, fail to focus on getting value out of the system post implementation. In other words, they deploy the technology, they go live, they're happy that everything's working and that things aren't slowing down to a grinding halt operationally but they don't go to the next step to say “how can we really optimize the value of that technology.” After the time and financial investment deploying uniform Cloud Suite, it's really imperative to put in place a benefits realization plan and a value realization plan that ensures that you're getting the most value out of your deployment post implementation. Even during implementation you want to have that as a road map for how you make decisions throughout the project
We have given you a lot to think about in terms of risks to be aware of as it relates to your Infor CloudSuite deployment and again, the goal here is not to convince you not to deploy infor CloudSuite because, just like any implementation, you have risks, those risks aren't going anywhere unless you identify and mitigate them, so the goal here today was to help you identify what those risks might be and leave you with a few other resources that will help you identify what some of those risks might be along the way.
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