It’s one of the most common things that we hear in the consulting world. Folks know that they will be moving to a new ERP, but they don’t have the budget right now. Typically, most do a lot of planning around the business case and get a variety of documents together that they put forward to an approval body for funding in the upcoming year. While this is absolutely necessary, it isn’t a great way to really prepare for the work that lies ahead with a CloudSuite Version 11 migration. Some people say, “I know Michael. We should be looking at our vendor master and getting a list of our reports. But I am gathering a map of our integrations.” While that is very important, this unicorn says you could be doing other low-cost things now to save money during the implementation.
If you are starting your “budgeting exercise” thinking this is just another upgrade, maybe you’ve been under a rock. This CloudSuite migration is a totally different animal. It is of the magnitude more similar to a new system implementation, if done correctly. Well then Unicorn, should I be doing an RFP for a new system? Perhaps. But see my post on value in ERP for some guidance there. The Infor product finally has robust capabilities that are world class and up there with the best of breed applications—why would you leave now? The time is now to understand all the changes available to you and to embrace these changes within the system that you know. Yes, I know I am ignoring customer support and service issues that could affect your decision. Back to the budgeting exercise you’re currently in. How do you get an accurate estimate? Sure, the consulting partners will give you estimates of services, and Infor will give you a great deal on licensing the software; But those traditional components are only part of the cost. One needs to consider the intangibles that should be part of the equation. These intangibles include things like looking at your application portfolio to evaluate if anything can be consolidated into the core ERP product. Process redesign is your biggest opportunity here. With all the new functionality in CloudSuite, you can transform your processes by leveraging Birst, IPA, Coleman and going outside ERP with tools such as RPA. The human element can’t be overlooked either. You may need to upskill your talent, shift skills or change your resources as well.
Okay, I’m sure that’s more information than you hoped for. This is the time to invest in your back office and get the ROI we often seek when dealing with ERP. Previous upgrades were done simply to remain in compliance with regulatory needs or maintenance agreements. CoudSuite is the opportunity to get real value from your ERP. There is a lot to think about, because you should be thinking beyond just your Infor applications. You should be evaluating your entire application portfolio to improve efficiency, reduce cost and better the end user experience. A holistic planning approach with a strong methodology is needed to accomplish all of this. So, plan for the big cookie, but what are some bites you can take today at a low cost with high value? “Pre-planning” offers the opportunity to discuss more strategic things you can do without having to pause the entire implementation in the future. Things like data conversion strategy, go live strategy, resource staffing, in and out of scope applications, sponsors, timelines, etc. All of this is important but when you do it as part of an implementation, you have a high burn. By high burn, I mean that you would have a ton of resources all engaged and billing you while you rush these discussions because of the pressures of high cost. Having a much smaller pre-planning engagement with a firm gives you the benefit of a small burn rate and a facilitator to guide you through the pros and cons of each of these. If you are a CFO, Controller or the person doing the budgeting, pre-planning speaks to you and will tend to fit with your strategies. It allows you to sharpen your pencil on the estimates. I will even go so far as to say it saves you money. If you know your conversion strategies, scope and process work going in, you will be able to reduce that portion of the implementation effort that, remember, has a higher burn rate.
What if you did this and knew all the resources you needed, the files, the systems, the scope, the cleanup, etc in advance of starting. You could internally get started on this and save even more money. This implementation will also cause a redesign of your general ledger. “Yes, Unicorn I get the dimensional thing.” Do you? Because it should strike excitement into the hearts of the accountants. We are no longer artificially limited by structure and we no longer need to build smart numbering. Now we can design the company structure like the company actually operates! HR no longer is tied to us and you can leverage that hierarchy for things like security, approval routing, etc. There is so much to rethink in GL—activities, project accounting, grants, etc. This makes design a big deal. What if you knew this up front and could thoughtfully put time (without a high burn rate) into design? What if there was another offering allowing you access to a CloudSuite environment where you could model the GL and ensure it was a good fit? Makes sense, doesn’t it?
So, when my customers say they’re planning for CloudSuite, I question, “Are you?” The pre-planning engagement is reasonable for the deliverables you get… And there are a bunch. The GL design is foundational to moving forward in other modules and you could be way ahead without the GL design offering. Peel some money away from other projects and invest a little here to get more ROI. I promise that what you spend will be rewarded at least 1.5 times in savings on your implementation. Is that a guarantee? Well, sadly, no. But I would love to hear if you don’t think these add value. I also am a fan of assessments.
When you do an assessment, you realize where opportunities exist that you can scope into the implementation. Maybe you’re currently working a lot with grants and managing these in excel. Perhaps it is time to move these into the grant module. Maybe it is time to finally deal with those legacy Crystal reports and move them to Birst to automate them. An assessment is a facilitated process to look at how you are doing business and point out modules and tools that could help. Then you can evaluate the ROI and determine if that should be in or out of scope.
My passion in life is digital transformation. I am called a unicorn because I take the time to understand your business and bring technology to solve complex problems. I believe these offerings of pre-planning, GL design hosting and assessments are great, low cost ways to begin your journey. So often companies buy a full implementation only to have scope and change orders become the norm as they didn’t spend the time up front to plan. These offerings are designed to lessen that pain.