We obtained valuable insight at the recent Infor management briefing, hosted by senior leadership at the company’s New York offices.
These types of events are useful since many of Ultra’s manufacturing clients evaluate Infor systems during the ERP selection process.
While we classify Infor as a tier two ERP vendor for some products, note that Infor is the third-largest provider of enterprise applications and services, serving 70,000 customers in 194 countries.
Our previous post took a close look at Infor’s strategy and position in the market.
For the first part of our Infor Briefing recap, see Infor Vendor Briefing Part 1: A Focus on Vertical Solutions, Innovation.
Hosted by Infor’s CEO Charles Phillips, President Duncan Angove and Stephan Scholl, President of Sales and Consulting, the second half of the briefing focused on Infor product news and developments. We also heard about major Infor wins, including Infor implementations at Hertz, Herman Miller and Piper Aircraft.
The following product highlights will be of interest to mid-market manufacturers.
ERP and Collaboration
There’s a lot of discussion about collaboration and social networks, and now we see Infor bringing that functionality into business applications. Infor Ming.le lets companies incorporate engagement, collaboration and business conversations via real-time chat and other features directly into the ERP User Interface.
The system is a comprehensive platform for social collaboration, business process improvement and contextual analytics. Infor Ming.le is embedded within key systems like ERP, Supply Chain, Enterprise Asset Management and other mission-critical applications so the entire enterprise (including the extended supply chain) can communicate and collaborate, tracking people, assets, and processes. Information such as documents, plans, photos, and videos are maintained in a centralized location with relevant activity captured to allow easy access by those who need it.
Business Intelligence and Reporting
In terms of ERP business intelligence reporting, in previous years Infor relied on third-party integration with Cognos and Crystal Reports. Today, Infor has invested heavily in the development of their own BI and reporting tools, With Infor ERP, comprehensive BI is incorporated directly within scoreboards, dashboards, and other reports easily customized by role. This means users can tailor the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most valuable to them within the UI.
Infor’s suite of BI tools includes financial and operational reporting and analysis, dashboards, planning, budgeting, forecasting, role-based analytics, data mining, and financial consolidation capabilities. For our clients entering into ERP selection, they should take a close look at how Infor filters and analyzes data, and publishes information throughout the organization.
ERP and CRM
One of the highlights for our team was seeing a demo of Inforce – Infor’s CRM suite with full integration of Salesforce as their CRM product. These are interesting times in the CRM space since we recently saw an announcement that Oracle is going to partner with Salesforce for their ERP CRM functionality. Like Oracle, Infor acknowledges the market dominance of Salesforce, and the challenge ERP vendors face when it comes to CRM functionality.
Inforce connects Salesforce with Infor ERP and financial solutions so companies can share information and common processes between ERP and CRM. As an example, an enhanced Customer Profile includes back-office information including customer credit limit, accounts receivable status, multiple site addresses (bill-to, ship-to, pay from), contacts, quotes, orders, shipments, invoices, payments, and returns.
From our perspective, each one of these product developments has the potential to offer dramatic business process improvements to mid-market manufacturers.
From the enhanced UI – which makes ERP acceptance, training and use more intuitive and easy — to the social collaboration features embedded within Infor’s ERP suite, these developments offer the potential to help companies work smarter and faster.
Infor’s developments within BI and ERP dashboards are also noteworthy. We saw powerful, intuitive analysis tools that provide real-time, enterprise-wide insight for fact-based actions and intelligent decisions.