Lori Parker leads Professional Services for the Infor Line of Business at Velocity Technology Solutions, including both Lawson (S3) and M3 products. Lori has over 18 years of implementing ERP systems with over 12 years experience working directly in the Infor Lawson space.
The entire Infor market is progressively moving toward Infor 10 adoption ahead of the manufacturer’s stated decommission of mainstream support in May of 2016. Despite the product being available for over two years, many organizations have justly deferred the upgrade until a certain scale of Customers has gone live on Infor 10.
As advisors to our Customers, we understand the slower than normal adoption rate of the product. It is the first major release of the former Lawson S3 product since the acquisition by Infor, and the significant improvements in the user interface are hard sells in the board room, until they understand the functionality that sits behind the “new look”. We’d like to share some of our experience with Infor 10 to dispel some of the myths associated with Infor 10, as well as share best practices.
Infor 10 is ready for adoption. Now just over 40 organizations are live on Infor 10 and the product is stable and well supported. Organizations running S3 who are using an experienced partner to conduct the upgrade should not delay due to anxiety about the product’s stability. The system is stable and in our experience, when configured correctly performs well.
The end user system matters. Infor 10 is very visual. The additional graphics and the inclusion of the SharePoint frame do rely on well-performing end user systems. Because of the visually rich environment, Infor does not expect v10 to perform as well as v9 from the end user perspective. The memory, OS, graphics card, and browser versions all will have more of an impact on the end user experience with Infor 10. Infor is recommending IE11 or Chrome with version 10.0.5. It’s always prudent to reference end user recommendations within Infor’s installation manuals.
The release schedule looks consistent. Infor has demonstrated a consistent release schedule whereby a new LSF (aka Technology) release is available each May and October and a new Applications release is available each May. Several v11 products are now available in the technology stack, and we expect Infor 11 will result in the transition away from COBOL to Java. Each LSF release in the 10 series has included performance improvements.
An engineered architecture limits downtime on the cutover to Infor 10. A common objection to upgrading is the requirement for downtime at the Go live cutover. At Velocity, using our Infor-specific architecture investments, we have been able to limit downtime during the cutover from v9 applications and LSF to v10 for applications and technology to less than 15 hours. By decreasing the downtime associated with the go live cutover, we remove one additional objection to upgrading to Infor 10.
If possible, use the upgrade to retire customizations. Upgrading to a new release can lower your organization’s total cost of ownership by taking advantage of new functionality, thereby allowing you to retire and eliminate customizations. At Velocity, at the start of each project we aim to reduce customizations by 30% by pointing out those that are not used or those that will be replaced by functionality within the software. In the end, the Customer is in control of whether we retrofit the Customization within the new version, but as good technical advisors for our Customers, we are always looking for ways they can save money and reduce their complexity.
Plan with success in mind. At Velocity we encourage our Customers to examine their business calendar and plan their upgrade by starting at when they would like to go live, and then work backwards to determine a start date. We are planning on conducting Infor 10 projects within 12-16 weeks, depending on how many third party products and customizations are involved. Our Project Managers and Customers use Velocity Zoom® to get real time feedback on the progress of testing during the project, and our Support Center is there for any issues that arise at Go Live. Knowing it is a big moment, we focus on success and a great customer experience at Go Live.
As we look at our Infor 10 pedigree at Velocity, we are proud to have certified ION experts, trained installers, and a trained support staff. In fact, over 100 Customers have committed to do their Infor upgrade with Velocity. With over 170 projects completed in 2013 and 45 + migrations to our virtual private cloud for Infor, Velocity has the scale to serve the market.
The stability of Infor 10, combined with the improved user experience, should motivate your company to start their Journey toward Infor 10 now before the rush in 2015. And, if your organization is committed to deferring the project until next year, now is the perfect time to get ahead and implement or refine your role-based security and to confirm your configuration matches the way you do business. If there are opportunities to improve the foundation, now is the right time to jumpstart those activities such that they are complete well before the upgrade to Infor 10.