The Business Case for Moving to the Cloud

Defining the business case for your organization to move onto a cloud based ERP system is not easy. The first thing you need to realize is that this type of project isn't driven solely by IT - all business areas that will be impacted by this project should have a seat at the table. This is when you start talking about where does Lawson (or your current system) meet your needs, and where does it fall short? Are there any outstanding pain points with the business applications that are in place today that could be solved as part of a CloudSuite move?

Payroll is a great example of why this is important because as long as people are getting paid, then it seems like your process is working. The reality is revealed when you talk to the payroll department and find out that broken pieces of the process are forcing them to spend thirty hours gathering, massaging, and analyzing the data before re-entering it. While this may get the checks out the door on time, that's a lot of manpower being essentially wasted. The minute someone is out and you don't have anyone to step in, you’re going feel that pain. If you know what your constraints are, then you can fix the ones that are impacting you the most. Identifying opportunities to automate where you can and taking a look at available point solutions will help you get ahead of the ball. 

In preparation for launching the CloudSuite project, you should lead your team through a pre-planning exercise to get yourselves ready. At a high level, that means figuring out the right scope for your organization and your timeline roadmap. Where does it make sense to start migrating to CloudSuite? Should you do it in phases if you're trying to bring over a three-suite Lawson application in your medium to large size entity? A pre-planning engagement will give you the answer to these questions and help you plan that roadmap out.

Since there are several different paths that you could take in terms of phasing and timing, start by laying out that roadmap to see where you have consensus within your organization. Everyone should agree on what makes sense for the different times of the year, especially when considering any other application upgrades or changes within the enterprise IT infrastructure that might coincide with the migration. It makes sense to line up a payroll implementation to take place along a time and attendance system, since there's interdependencies between those two.

You want to start by figuring out the high level timeline and scope before considering what development artifacts need to be brought forward. A lot of those are going to be interfaces to other systems because moving to the cloud still requires them and the technology used to interface between legacy and cloud-based systems is pretty different, so start cataloging those as soon as possible. You can also start to figure out what the level of work effort will be, because if it is going to be significant, you need to know what level of staff augmentation or external help you might require, and during which phases of the project. Leaving this until the last minute or not backfilling your staff will inevitably lead to the project going over the timeline and budget, in addition to impacting daily business processes.

Next week, we will expand on how to define the business case for your organization's move to the cloud by discussing data and preparing it for conversion.

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