Analysis, Article February 16th, 2017
Infor is pushing legacy ERP software customers to systems it considers strategically important. Learn how to decide whether Infor's convergence strategy is right for your business.
Historically, Infor was known as a software aggregator. It purchased many, many ERP systems and banked the predictably recurring maintenance revenues streams.
Today, things are different. Infor has evolved from software aggregator to software developer (for the better). The vendor is rationalizing its portfolio of nearly 40 ERP systems (excluding standalone accounting and point solutions) and focussing on a strategic set of four, notably, LN, M3, S3 and Syteline.
What’s this mean for the 25,000 or 30,000 customers running its other legacy systems? Well, they’ll have to eventually find new systems. Infor is aggressively pushing them to converge onto one of its strategically important ERP platforms.
For example, Infor is pushing Adage, A Plus, LX, BPCS, Protean and System21 customers to M3. It’s pushing XA, MANMAN, PRMS and MAX customers to LN. And, Infor is guiding Visual and Fourth Shift customers to Syteline.
But what if Infor’s platform options don’t fit? When should legacy Infor customers consider other options?
Working with companies that operate legacy FACTS, BPCS, Trend and other systems, it’s become clear that there’s no simple path to convergence. The legacy software systems are fundamentally different in architecture and functionality. Implementation would largely be a full and fresh project with all of the standard complexities of change management, process reengineering, data migration, training and testing.
On the other hand, as an existing Infor customer, you’ll probably be offered financial incentives that might make convergence a more attractive option than the alternatives. So, how do you decide?
There’s no linear path to a decision. Some clients have a strategic relationship with Infor that they intend to preserve. Others have found show-stopping gaps in proposed replacement systems. And, other clients will only make a decision once they to see a full analysis of functionality, implementation, technology and ROI. A major challenge, of course, is evaluating decision-making criteria that seem to be incongruous.
Below are five best-practices to evaluating vendors, software and services. You can cherry pick from among them to decide how you want to evaluate options presented by Infor or others.
Before contacting Infor and/or other software vendors to discuss their solutions, you should first define your business requirements.
These will provide your company with a baseline set of evaluation standards. The following are common components of a business requirements assessment:
You should approach ERP as an opportunity to transform your business. And, this concept of transformation should be reflected in your business requirements. Modern systems have evolved tremendously over the past 15 years. The functionality improvements offer you new and better ways of business processing. So, your business process flows, data flows and requirements should reflect your company’s needs in a reengineered and optimized future state.
ERP is central to a company’s applications architecture, but it’s usually not the only piece.
Generally, an ERP decision has implications on edge software needs, the platforms that enable and integrate various technologies and the infrastructures that house those technologies.
Thus, the next logical task is to map out enterprise architecture options capable of supporting your business needs.
For example, if you’re considering whether to converge onto a new Infor ERP software and platform, you’ll probably want to evaluate ION (Infor’s middleware), other integrated edge applications, and deployment on the AWS cloud, premise-based, hosted or other infrastructure.
If you’re unsure whether you would deploy a new system on-premises or in the cloud, you might craft various architecture scenarios and associated business cases for each. In many cases, permutations and combinations of options include one or more of the following:
For each viable architecture option, it’s important to break down an implementation and support plan.
The roadmaps should span initial technology evaluation and extend out to post-implementation optimization and support. You can use the following as a guideline:
A TCO and ROI analysis should quantify the financial implications of the business needs, technology architecture options and implementation plans.
For the cost portion of the analysis. consider fee and expense items in the following areas:
For the benefits portion of the analysis, consider items in the following categories:
In Steps 1 to 4, above, you’ve defined your various business, budgetary, technology and project needs. In this stage, you’ll want to evaluate how well the vendor, technology and service providers stack up against those needs.
Consider the following when building out your vendor evaluation methodology:
Because we’re in a unique position.
Because we will give you an unbiased assessment. We’re fully independent from Infor. We can give you a fair and balanced assessment of whether convergence makes sense or whether you should look at other options.
Because we have the detailed data. Our team has implemented 700-plus major projects, with Infor software accounting for nearly 100 of those projects. We’ve implemented all Tier-I, most Tier-II and many Tier-III ERP systems. We know their functionality and technology, and can provide you with detailed side-by-side analyses relative to your needs.
Because we’ll deliver your assessment quickly and cost-effectively. With our streamlined process, you’ll have a detailed assessment in-hand within weeks, not months. Your Steering Committee will have the multi-dimensional analysis it needs to decide whether to upgrade or open up its search to other vendors.
Contact our consulting team today and learn how we can make your project successful.