Lisa Pope is senior vice president of global strategy and sales at Infor, responsible for Infor CloudSuite, a comprehensive portfolio of business-critical applications that helps companies in the manufacturing, healthcare, fashion, public sector and other industries reap the benefits of cloud computing. She shared how Infor customers can leverage the cloud.
How does Infor’s strategy around industry specialization, web-based cloud architecture and beautiful software translate to customer benefit?
It’s the foundation of our cloud offering. In order to move a customer to the cloud, it’s essential to have solutions that fit specific vertical areas, enabling best practices without requiring customizations.
Open architecture is also important. Cloud applications run without the customer worrying about the database or software version. Updates happen automatically and more frequently, creating a smoother user experience.
Beautiful software and a good user experience are equally important and cannot be underestimated. Hook & Loop, our in-house design company, has done an excellent job streamlining processes, creating software that is simple, beautiful and fun to use.
Why is it the right time to consider the cloud?
When you upgrade software on premise, additional hardware or infrastructure costs come into play. System administrators may require training with a new version, so there are other costs to consider as well.
We walk customers through a total cost of ownership comparison to understand the costs of on-premise versus cloud deployment. There’s a natural point when customers ask “Should my IT team focus more on our strategic initiatives and less on running the ERP system?”
Cloud can also address the shortage of IT workers with core ERP skills. Organizations gain access to expertise to run and administer the system while enabling internal resources to focus on higher-value activities.
For companies on the Infor cloud, we are seeing customizations going away. We’re also seeing faster implementations. We can provision a system in less than an hour versus days to weeks.
From an industry perspective, healthcare is leading the transition to cloud, followed by public sector and financial services. One of the surprises is the strong interest we’ve seen in upgrading to cloud in our manufacturing base in North America and Europe.
What are some lessons learned from customers that migrated?
A successful cloud strategy needs top-down support. When leadership champions the cloud, it gives everyone in the company the opportunity to think differently and embrace the philosophy to go with best practices, not customizations.
Another lesson is to take the opportunity to innovate. Leverage the new environment to do things differently and better.
Lastly, communicate security, compliance, as well as what changes and what stays the same. Good change management and communication practices can address any objections, silence the skeptics and get everyone comfortable with what the cloud can do.
What’s the easiest way for customers to get to the cloud?
Infor’s UpgradeX program helps customers upgrade to the cloud quickly and securely. Customers can opt to update the core ERP, or upgrade to an industry cloud suites and get more functionality.
What role does the partner community play in helping customers move to the cloud?
Partners are trusted advisors with deep knowledge of the Infor customer base. They know where customers made changes to the software and why, and understand the new solutions. That ongoing education and advisor relationship is as important for on premise customers as it is for cloud customers in making technology decisions that support business goals.