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At Inforum 2016, a pitch to 'lift and shift' to the cloud

At its 2016 user conference, Infor featured the Lift and Shift program, which the company hopes will get legacy on-premises customers to move to the cloud.

Infor wants to get its customer base off premises and into the cloud, and it's promising help to get them ther...


The company's Inforum 2016 user conference featured a program called Lift and Shift, which offers a two-step process to get many of its legacy application customers onto the Infor CloudSuite within 24 months.

Lift and Shift was first announced at Infor's Inforum Europe conference in November 2015, and was prominently featured at Inforum 2016, held this month in New York City.

Two years to the cloud

The first lift phase of the program moves legacy applications wholesale onto, essentially, a private hosted environment. The second shift phase allows anywhere from two to 24 months to prepare and modernize the applications for a move to the cloud -- in this case, an upgrade to the Infor CloudSuite on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The program supports Infor XA (all versions prior to 9.2), Infor LX (all versions prior to 8.3.5), Infor System21 (all versions prior to 3.1), Infor M3 and Infor LN (Baan).

The Lift and Shift program is designed to give customers time to move to the cloud, said Lisa Pope, Infor's senior vice president for global CloudSuite strategy and sales, at Inforum 2016.

Lift and Shift isn't really new, but it is a good program and approach.
Cindy Jutraspresident, Mint Jutras

"[Lift and Shift] was designed for customers who are on very old product bases," she said. "So, that's a way to get a customer who may have a compelling need around hardware -- maybe they're at a point where, if they don't go buy a million dollars' worth of hardware, their system is not going to continue to run. That might be a good example of a customer who would consider lifting with us. We would take over the infrastructure -- handle that for them -- but then our goal in that two years is to really work with them to migrate to that new system."

For the most part, the program makes sense to Cindy Jutras, president of Mint Jutras, an ERP consulting firm in Windham, N.H. "Lift and Shift isn't really new, but it is a good program and approach," she said. "For many years now, I think Infor has made it too easy for customers on legacy products to stay put, so I think this is a step in the right direction."

HCL Technologies Ltd., an Infor partner based in Noida, India, offers an IBM System i (iSeries) hosted environment for the lift phase and provides services to shift clients to Infor CloudSuite on AWS.

"From the lift part, they can migrate their applications to the iSeries cloud before they migrate them to AWS. And we work very closely with the Infor consulting services to define the complete roadmap for the lift and create a very detailed statement of work in terms of what is going to be moved and the complete IT management that is taken care of by HCL," said Piyush Saxena, HCL director of data center and cloud services.

"The idea of the shift is that within 24 months of the move to the cloud, you move to a current version of your software in the cloud. So, if you are LX, you move to the latest version of LX or to cloud suite, or a combination that suits your business needs," he added.

Sharing the burden of a move to the cloud

One of the main benefits of the program is it relieves that customer of the pain and challenge of completing such a complex move. Many enterprises are reluctant to undertake such a project because they fear those challenges, but that leaves them stuck with outdated legacy applications, according to Colin Haughton, senior technical manager, HCL Technologies.

"Some customers may still be on Infor LX version 4, but the current version is 8.3.5, so the change can be a daunting task as you try to figure out which things you need to get rid of, or which tasks that you do manually now [that] might be available in the new system," Haughton said. "So, having partners and the program takes the guess work and trials and frustration out of it, and you are handed a list of recommendations of what you could do, and where there are decisions to be made, you are in the position to make a more informed decision about what you want."

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