Yes, multi-tenancy still matters – here’s why customers should care

Profile picture for user Jim Plourde By Jim Plourde August 5, 2021
Summary:
Jim Plourde of Infor discusses why IT leaders should consider upgrading to multi-tenant cloud architectures, the benefits and cost advantages, and a customer perspective from Z Nautic Group.

Cloud technology concept © akitada31 - Pixabay
(© akitada31 - Pixabay)

Enterprises that have decided to move to the cloud are being presented solutions built on two different deployment models - Single tenant (ST), which is really nothing more than running an on-premises solution on someone else's gear (a.k.a. Hosting), or multi-tenant (MT) built on much more scalable, true cloud technologies.

The importance of the decision on what model to go with isn't always recognized and is rushed through without proper consideration of the repercussions. Executives may assume the only distinction between the options is whether the cloud is public or private. Or, they may guess that a private cloud is safer. Such misconceptions can cause enterprises to start their digital journey in the wrong direction, heading to disappointment. This primer into the many benefits of multi-tenant deployment will help IT leaders and their colleagues understand why MT deployment is sometimes called the only true cloud.

Why it matters

Which method you choose matters greatly. It sets the parameters for your upgrade and your organization's ability to digitally transform itself. Making the wrong choice can waste resources, including time and effort of your team. Moving to a single tenant solution can bring surprise costs, require more commitment from the IT team, and hinder the ability to adopt advanced capabilities that require greater cloud technologies. Unfortunately, some organizations don't realize the hidden limitations of single tenant deployment until they are struggling through an implementation that feels like they are simply relocating old problems to new hardware, at a new, out-of-reach location.

Retaining old problems versus purging them

One of the most compelling reasons why ST vs. MT matters is that an upgrade is also a chance to innovate, adopt new processes, and truly become agile. It's a chance to say goodbye to those excessive modifications that can be so problematic for future upgrades and put sweeping new strategies in place. Simply migrating your legacy solution to the cloud perpetuates old inefficiencies and causes new ones.

Refresher on the distinctions

Let's review the key differences between ST and MT options. Even highly experienced IT professionals can benefit from refreshing their knowledge on the topic and drilling into the details. Here are basic definitions:

Single-tenant architecture provides software that is served by separate server infrastructure for each customer like it would be installed on-premises, giving the enterprise more control, but requiring more effort and investment. Organizations can lift their legacy system, with all its existing strengths and shortcomings, and put it in the cloud. The organization remains responsible for several functions, such as security and back-ups or hands those responsibilities to the hosting provider for added fees. These add to the cost of maintaining the solution.

The multi-tenancy environment gives several clients the use of the application within the same operating environment on shared hardware and resources. This shared-cost model reduces investment and provides the benefits of using standardized processes, maintenance, and security. MT solutions rely on extensibility and configurability that can be upgraded rather than customizations that cannot.

Pinpointing the extra work and costs of single tenant deployment

The difference between single tenant and multi-tenant involves more than how many companies are on a particular cloud. The responsibilities retained by the organization also differ. This chart shows some key areas and the impact.

Chart showing single tenant and multi-tenant key areas and impact © Infor

Here are some additional benefits of multi-tenant deployment to consider:

Advanced capabilities. Take advantage of vast cloud resources and advanced capabilities, such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

Platform as a Service. MT architecture offers no code/low code tools so business users can create reports and personalize forms, and more, without altering the code.

User tools. Modern MT solutions provide tools to support extensibility and provide the ability to personalize, without the backlash of cumbersome modifications.

Top quality, sophisticated solution. Be confident in the quality of the solution. For the software to be viable in a MT environment, it must meet rigorous testing and quality control standards.

Streamline processes. Adopt industry best practices built into the solutions, including highly efficient workflows, proven by early adopters.

Escape modification hassles. Never worry about upgrades and how to make adjustments for modifications again.  The "no modifications" goal will help keep teams focused on new accomplishments rather than preserving familiar methodology.

Digitalization. Digital transformation builds upon these MT cloud benefits. These points provide the basis for a long-term strategy and operational action plan. Multi-tenant deployment makes the vision possible.

Security expertise. Get the continuous scrutiny of experts who are vigilant to new attack approaches.

Automatic back-ups and full redundancy. In a MT cloud solution, automatic backups are done for you with full redundancy in case of a severe interruption from a storm or disaster.

Match peek demands. MT cloud solutions are easy to adjust for temporary peaks in demand.

Continuous upgrades. Stay always modern. Adopt updates as they are released and never risk being outdated again.

Control costs. Save resources, like staff, security, and paying for excessive capacity for peak periods and space for full redundancy/back up versions.

Agility. Adjust capacity as needed for mergers or new branches. Localization are always updated so you can easily expand into new regions.

Innovation. By freeing your IT team of maintenance tasks, the team can focus on more strategic issues and innovation.

A customer story

Z Nautic Group, a longtime Infor customer, recently upgraded to Infor CloudSuite Equipment, a multi-tenant cloud ERP system specifically designed for equipment manufacturers, dealers and rental companies.

Z Nautic Group, formerly known as Zodiac, is well known worldwide for producing inflatable boats. Today, with 600 employees, the group has 1,600 dealer partners (and a few distributors) throughout the world and is exclusively dedicated to the production and distribution of boats in the leisure and professional markets.

Anthony Chapeltegui, Z Nautic's IT manager, says the company had three main reasons for moving to the multi-tenant cloud, including:

  1. Built-in last-mile functionality. "Infor's ability to offer us standard business functionalities that were perfectly adapted to our equipment sales (including rental), spare parts management, procurement and stock management issues," he said.
  2. SaaS Features. "It offered greater configuration for security, scalability, simplicity and reliability," he added.
  3. Embedded analytics. "The built-in BI modules give our users control over the production of tables and reports, particularly by geographical area and by product."

The MT solution also enables Z Nautic to eliminate time-consuming maintenance and upgrade processes for its IT team. Chapeltegui concluded:

We were impressed by the user-friendly interface offered by Infor. It has won over our teams, taking them from the stone age to the digital age, with customized settings and displays to meet individual needs. Combined with strong process automation and workflow capabilities, we expect rapid performance gains…and ultimately to benefit from better knowledge of our dealers through improved data centralization, as well as our time and budget.

The wrap up

This customer story is just one of many. Organizations worldwide in all industries are realizing the value of cloud deployment as they strive to upgrade and modernize processes to be more competitive. But, turning to a cloud-based solution is just the first step. It's also important to choose multi-tenant deployment so you can take advantage of the features that make cloud computing so attractive: agility, security, and the ability to adopt advanced AI-driven functionality.

For more information about the benefits of cloud solutions, visit https://www.infor.com/solutions.