RPI Consultants had the pleasure of attending the annual Infor Connect conference in St. Paul, Minnesota this year. As expected, the industry-leading cloud-based ERP provider shared many updates that will offer enhanced value and functionality to customers for years to come.
From reporting and analytics to customer interface improvements and a commitment to empowering its partners, the 2023 event showcased exciting innovations on the Infor roadmap.
Whether you were able to attend the event or not, we’ve got you covered. In this post we discuss the top five takeaways from this year’s Infor Connect conference.
Takeaway 1: Enhanced User Experience
User experience has become a pressing focus for organizations in the modern day, and Infor has taken note. During the event, Infor shared details about its new application interface, Portal.
Paying homage to the original Lawson system, Infor’s Portal interface boasts an intuitive experience that facilitates higher levels of engagement. Because it’s a role content workspace, it’s designed for hyper productivity. With actionable dashboards, an intuitive menu structure, and a configurable interface, users can customize their software with widgets, on-screen applications, shortcuts, and more. In addition, Portal allows for seamless tracking and reporting through various Infor systems and applications.
All Infor CloudSuite implementations beginning after May 2023 will default to the new Portal interface. Organizations leveraging the existing Infor ming.le application will have the next year to test and configure the new experience before being required to use Portal.
RPI highly recommends getting a head start experimenting with Portal to improve user adoption. Contact us to learn about best practices for change management and ensuring a seamless transition.
In addition to the new interface, Infor has acted on feedback regarding the volume of updates released throughout the year. To support better adoption of new functionality for customers, Infor is amending its update scheduling to bi-annually.
As such, Infor will roll out all feature functionality updates in April and October. New features will be toggled off during updates, allowing customers time to test out new tools on their own schedule. Keep an eye on the release report overview in Infor Concierge for updates.
Regulatory updates, non-disruptive changes, and bug fixes, on the other hand, will continue to roll out every third Sunday of the month.
Takeaway 2: Redesigned Organizational Reporting
Building off the focus to improve the user experience, Infor is taking a closer look at its reporting applications and structure.
To give customers the ability to report on transactional, detailed data, Infor is yet again looking to improve the experience by looking at reporting needs through the lens of the intended audiences and grouping various tools accordingly.
Going forward, Infor is classifying its various reporting tools into three main categories: operational, financial, and analytics. Each grouping encourages the use of individual tools and identifies personas who are most likely to use them.
GL Report Designer, for example, was recently made available for financial reporting needs. Staff accountants, controllers, and financial analysts can leverage this tool to create trial balances, income statements, and balance sheets.
Beyond the reporting changes introduced, Infor is also enhancing the experience of retrieving and building reports within the system.
Beginning in October this year, customers will be able to navigate to a reporting landing page that will host all their reports within CloudSuite. Using personalization filters and an intuitive search function, business users can quickly retrieve, run, and organize business reports. The redesigned reporting experience will allow users and admin teams to access and generate reports more efficiently.
Takeaway 3: Faster Data Retrieval
It’s true reporting improvements within CloudSuite will play a significant role in assisting organizations in identifying key trends and uncovering business insights. But the improvements don’t end there.
During Infor Connect, the ERP software leader announced Lakehouse, a significant advancement from the traditional operational data lake used today. The new platform applies structure and hierarchy to data stored across the CloudSuite ERP system, as well as the information stored in a data warehouse. This ease-of-access allows users to build reports and analytics using Infor tools.
What makes Lakehouse really standout is that it can pull data from various systems within the ERP and is not limited to just Infor applications. The cloud-based data storage system indexes and archives information in an organized, effective way that lends itself to quicker data retrieval. Moreover, the system works by streaming data as opposed to downloading and uploading it, creating a less resource-intensive process for storing and recovering data.
Lakehouse will not be ready until late next year, though early testing is anticipated for the end of 2023. As a stopgap, Infor is rolling out a data traceability tool for cross-referencing errors and discrepancies between transactional data sets and the data lake.
Takeaway 4: Intelligent Automation
It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into every facet of the workplace. Naturally, Infor is leaning into the growing topic and has identified ways to incorporate it into data and analysis forecasting. Using machine learning, Infor is repurposing its AI engine to review data for patterns and trends to create actionable projections.
While in the early stages, the engine will be able to help organizations identify and solve various business challenges. By collecting data and processing it through the AI model, organizations can identify key insights and subsequently make reliable forecasts and recommendations on how to address business concerns.
For example, if the analysis finds a pattern of decreasing revenue from a particular business area the machine learning engine will recognize the pattern and be able to create revenue projections more accurately for that business area. Perhaps more importantly, identifying patterns like this presents organizations with an opportunity to identify root causes driving missed goals and as a result can help solve problems.
Takeaway 5: Improved Lines of Communication
Last but not least were the announcements made by Infor at the Partner Summit. In an effort to better assist partners like RPI with helping customers, Infor discussed its very intentional plans for creating a feedback loop.
As the Infor Connect conference demonstrated, the ERP software leader is already making strides to address feedback provided by the community.
Moreover, the improved lines of communication demonstrate Infor’s commitment to keeping partners enabled and in the fold. By reducing barriers for partners to effectively deliver solutions and collaborate with, Infor is also leaving competitiveness at door and instead is focusing on better empowering its user base.
So how exactly is Infor doing this? Beyond hosting Connect which was primarily focused on strengthening relationships and disclosing future plans, they are also putting processes in place for CloudSuite delivery/life cycles.
By being more transparent, Infor is ultimately holding itself accountable to the customer and partner community, which is a win for all parties involved.
Infor Connect is Over, Now What?
The annual relationship-focused event has concluded, but organizations eager to get the most out of the Infor CloudSuite system should begin preparing for the forthcoming changes now.
In addition to creating an opportunity for clients to discuss the software experience and ways to get more value out of the system, Infor Connect is a chance for organizations to better allocate and plan resources for ensuring optimal success with their ERP.
And for the organizations that have not yet migrated to the cloud, if the enhanced interface, reporting solutions, and data storage systems showcased at the recent Infor Connect aren’t convincing enough, there are many additional benefits to adopting CloudSuite.
To help your organization begin leveraging these benefits, and to learn more about how you can incorporate the forthcoming items into your system, contact RPI Consultants. With over 20 years of experience working with Lawson and Infor, we can help you maximize your ERP investment.