The cloud has been a major topic of conversation at Inforum, every regional user conference, and in every enterprise IT meeting over the last five or so years. Lawson announced its cloud services back in March 2010 and now offers the majority of their core products—Lawson Infor in the Cloud.
Our latest Lawson Infor survey data, however, shows that only 16% of respondents had made the move to the cloud so far; but of those not yet on the cloud, 35% are in the process of considering the shift. So, how can you evaluate whether cloud is right for you?
A Look at Lawson in the Cloud
In general, the cloud is usually seen as having three core benefits for a business:
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership
- Rapid Deployment
While these are the benefits typically considered when it comes to the cloud, it’s important to recognize that the reality does not always match the ideal—or at least not to the degree anticipated. Based on the feedback we’re hearing from our customers, many have yet to reap the rewards they expected.
Total Cost of Ownership: Infor Lawson Cloud vs. On-Prem
Many of our customers who have made the decision to move to the cloud did so at least in part because they calculated the total cost of ownership, then looked at the end dates of their support agreements and decided it was an inevitable move. Why not realize the cost savings sooner rather than later? Indeed, when you look at cost estimates of Lawson ERP over 5 years for an on-prem installation versus a cloud installation, the total cost of ownership definitely looks lower in the cloud. The cost estimates for on-prem versus a cloud installation for Guilford County, North Carolina are available as an example:
- Total cost of on-prem over 5 years: $2,887,858
- Total cost of cloud over 5 years: $2,559,497
However, upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that the cost savings is based almost entirely on the lack of need for a full-time employee (paid $110,000/year) to maintain the system. The estimate includes the employee for the first two years of the cloud installation, before showing no budget for an in-house expert starting in year three.
But our clients who have made the move to the cloud tell us that they have continued to require in-house staff to work on their Lawson system and anticipate continuing to need that help for the foreseeable future.
To quote a Lawsonguru.com message board user:
“You will be told you won’t need [a systems engineer/admin]. My team has determined these responsibilities do not go away. Just the physical part of pushing the buttons on a keyboard, looking at logs, and applying patches/upgrades. Your mods and little services the admin provides you don’t think about, which Infor will not do, catch up.”
If we add the cost of that employee back into those figures for Guilford County we find that cloud would have a total cost of $2,889,497.29 —making the total cost of ownership more, over 5 years, than an on-prem installation by about $2,000.
Rapid Deployment of Lawson on the Cloud
For a new user, this is likely a very real benefit to expect of the cloud—however, few companies implementing Lawson are starting from scratch. A quick review of Lawson message boards will show that early adopters found the move from on-prem to a cloud solution to be less smooth as they expected.
The two biggest complaints are the response time and knowledge of support—which long-time users say is gradually getting better—and ensuring the amount of server space you have. In several cases, to increase responsiveness and speed of the system, companies have opted to increase the amount of server space they are paying for. Discussions with our clients have surfaced many similar complaints, especially around support response time. One client shared that it took, on average, 4 weeks to get a new user set up and 6-8 weeks to get a printer set up. Another client was frustrated due to the fact that she had to escalate every support ticket in order for anyone to actually try and resolve the issue.
In our 2016 Lawson Survey, over half of cloud users were frustrated with their provider response times and the frequency of system outages, and over a third were dissatisfied with the access to their system.
Scalability of Lawson on the Cloud
This is perhaps the one benefit most on the cloud seems to be able to realize almost as promised. Throughout the message board referenced above, companies found that when they needed additional server space (or a dedicated server, in one case), the process was simple enough that it needed no additional comment.
The cloud has the potential to offer Lawson users a number of significant benefits, including lower costs, speedy deployment, and easy scalability. However, many of our clients have found there are still a number of bugs that need to be worked out around cloud support, smooth migrations, and easy access to information. These things are slowly improving—and the only way they’ll truly be resolved is through the process of doing. That means each company considering the move should carefully weigh the decision to determine what’s best for them.
Want to talk shop about your current Lawson environment and what the cloud could mean for you? Contact us today to get in touch with our Infor Lawson consulting team.