To quote our friend and tech guru Aaron Epps, "Friends Don't Let Friends Build Data Centers." This phrase is something we live by at RPI, and it leads us to discuss another plague on our current IT society: burden-point solutions.
Legacy ERP systems are basically glorified databases, which means you need a whole bunch of other software wrapped around them to provide a complete business solution. That's typically been done by a bolt-on single-purpose or niche applications that integrate with your core ERP system, which organizations have accumulated a great number of over time.
Leigh and I have spoken to IT directors that manage 200+ different applications in their portfolio, and it seems crazy to us that one department can be responsible for a triple digit number of applications that all need to work together and exchange data. Getting the job done that way means it's a never-ending task just to keep the plates spinning. Along with keeping those interfaces working, making sure that all those individual applications are up to date and speaking to each other is a game that can never be won. Some of these aren't always the byproduct of a cohesive IT strategy – sometimes it’s a case of someone in your organization saying, "I absolutely need to have this functionality. This is the only way I can deliver it." If you can't prove otherwise, you're stuck supporting one more application.
Although we've painted you this hellscape, there is also good news. These challenges present new opportunities for growth and modernization. I think one of the big benefits that Leigh hit on last week is that migrating to the cloud gets you to a modern platform with all the features and functionality you would expect, as well as the process-centric efficiencies. I think there's also an opportunity here to leverage your organization's intellectual capital that has been built over the years to make better core decisions.
The average life cycle on ERP is 20, 25 years, so you'll be living with that system for a long time. If you do CloudSuite implementation correctly, it will create a culture of continuous improvement for your organization. This change will allow you to continue to get more out of it and you put you in a position to empower your users to make it better. What's really important is that when folks implemented Lawson, they didn't have all this knowledge going into it. While CloudSuite is different, it is similar in some ways; there's a lot that it can bring to the table that I don't feel like you could get starting from scratch elsewhere.