ERP vendors with deep on-premise history and products have a different set of issues with cloud. During Dennis’ trip to Africa, he got a first hand view on these topics from  Simon Griffiths of SYSPRO.

Simon tells Dennis about SYSPRO’s decision to provide a cloud deployment option for their customers. Considerations included regional autonomy, cost, user experience, and the extent of code rewrites. SYSPRO has currently opted for a hybrid cloud model, giving customers the choice to move to cloud or also back to on-premise.

Simon shares the thinking and field views behind those decisions:

We actually looked at it from a number of areas. One, obviously, was the technology side. When you’re an on‑premise vendor, how you’re going to put that technology into the cloud. The other thing was how you were going to price it. When you’re going into the cloud, your pricing model changes completely. The old ways of doing things no longer apply.

One hot button topic is code rewrites. Purists insist that products should be entirely rewritten for the cloud, but many on-premise vendors, including SYSPRO, are taking a different route. Simon’s take:

Certainly, we’re not going to rewrite all our code which we’ve been developing for the 20‑ or 30‑odd years. What we did realize, after a while, is that user interface needs to be more appropriate… We’ve used Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation. That basically allows us to deliver that thin‑client type of application. One of the problems that people don’t seem to realize, in an ERP, is it’s not just a whole bunch of fields.  There’s a lot of complex stuff on that traditional thick client. Just to try and put that on a web page is very, very difficult. Our decision was to go thin client, but then that’s why we adopted Windows Communication Foundation.

But while SYSPRO decided against a massive code rewrite, they are focusing intensely on enhancing the user experience along with cloud delivery. The last part of the talk covers how SYSPRO is approaching user-experience, and why a “process-centric” approach matters.

Show Notes

1:07 SYSPRO’s product evolution – history snapshot

2:35 Working out cloud pricing with the CFO

3:54 SYSPRO  – taking calculated cloud risks

4:50 The decision to outsource the software hosting – regional considerations

5:57 Massive code rewrites – no. User experience improvements – yes.

7:16 SYSPRO Version 7 – a user experience and process-centric overhaul