Join RPI for a webinar discussing LBP with d/EPM. A webinar covering everything today’s LBP users should know about d/EPM in planning for Infor‘s new budgeting solution. Presented by Jim Kears and Beau Hunt.
Justin: Hi, good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining. I’m Justin Braun with RPI consultants. I run our service delivery organization. Thank you for joining our webinar today. We’re very excited to have you.
A couple of housekeeping items before I introduce our topic. This session will be recorded and available on the RPI Youtube channel within a couple of weeks, perhaps less. If you’d like to follow us on social media, you can like us on Facebook, join us on Digital Concourse, or subscribe to our Twitter feed. Please hold you questions until the end of the webinar today. We’ve got a lot of material to pack into a short amount of time.
This is fill you LBP cup with d/EPM cider. Fall is a season for change and this is a very exciting topic because there’s a lot changing with regard to how Infor Lawson does budgeting and reporting. We have two experts with deep experience in the realm of budgeting with Jim Kearns, our LBP expert and BI Reporting, Bo Hunt.
Jim’s going to talk you through some of the functional considerations and feature functionality as it relates to your budget stake-holders and Bo’s going to help you understand that underlying BI technology that supports d/EMP. One of the great soundbites I like about this solution, before I turn it over, d/EPM is a purpose-built budgeting solution built on the BI platform. We’ve got great representation from both sides of the house and I’m going to turn it over to them. Enjoy.
Jim: Thanks so much Justin. First off, we’ll go over the agenda today, so you’ll know what you’re going to get an opportunity to see. We’re going to start out with system architecture, which basically will tell you a little bit about the BI platform, and the footprint, and how d/EPM fits into that. Then we’ll be going over the features and functionality of both LBP, for those of you who may not have seen it, as well as to remind those of you that are using it for plan reviews, administrative reviews, and we’ll talk about reporting.
There have been some changes in terms of what things are called, from going from LBP to d/EPM, so we’ll go over those a little bit. Then finally, we get into probably what’s the most important part. If you decide to let RPI be your path to going from LBP to d/EPM, what might it look like? What’s a project lifecycle look like? What are the integration points that you might need to look at? That’s a little bit of what we’ll be going through today.
Bo: Excellent. Thanks Jim.
Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Bo: All right. We’re going to start off talking a little bit about the platform that d/EPM is built on. As Justin mentioned, it is built on the Infor BI platform.
While d/EPM is a new solution for our Lawson users, especially those coming off of LBP, it’s important to understand that it is an established solution. It’s currently being used by many of Lawson’s customers and more importantly the Infor BI solution, is very established. We’ll talk a little bit about that so we can understand how d/EPM really is just a delivered solution within that platform.
What is Infor BI? Really, currently it’s been rolled out to over 3,000 Infor customers. It crossed all the different markets that Infor serves. Really, it’s a total end-to-end solution. It’s really positioned to replace quite a few products that are currently in Infor’s offering. If we look at some of the things that maybe you’re using today for reporting and analytics like LBI, Infor BI is positioned to be that replacement as we move down the road.
It provides true analytics, which really, there’s not a solution for that, a great solution anyway, within Infor’s offering. Also, it’s a great tool for performance management or planning tools like d/EPM. The reason for that is if we look at the Infor BI solution, it’s all based on an Infor OLAP server.
OLAP technology, it’s been around for a while. It’s nothing new but Infor’s solution is a little unique in that it allows for you to have write-back. If you look at some of the other solutions that are out there, you don’t have that ability to write-back to cubes at the cell level. With Infor BI we can do that. It also allows you to serve up that information at high speeds because it is an N memory grid database.
You can access you data anywhere you need to. If you’re at your desk, you can pull it up in your web browser. You can also bring up an Excel Add-in if you’re a power user and actually browse the cube data live or you can even bring up, there’s apps available for both Android and iOS, that allow you to view that on the fly. You can share reports, do annotations and it’s a really powerful feature.
Bo: Security is pretty highly-sophisticated. You can both secure your reports and your dashboards at the high level, but you can go down to that cell level and really limit either what someone has the visibility to view, or edit. When we look at this, we’ll talk a little bit more about Application Studio in a little bit. Really, when we think about dashboards, they’re really just a collection of widgets or small reports that are all pulled together to tell a story for our customers and help them solve problems.
As we look at how data flows in, we’re going to talk about Infor BI first and then we’ll paint in here how d/EPM fits into this. If we look at the Lawson solution, their approved path is coming from your Lawson application database. They typically recommend that you go though the Infor Ion for their integration, but it’s not the only way to go. Currently, there’s some licensing issues. Infor’s working on cleaning that up and providing Ion for all BI customers.
You also have the ability to take your data out of Lawson or other solutions and bring it over into staging tables and do your ETL there. Then, bring that into your Infor BI cubes so that they can be served up through Application Studio, reports, and widgets.
The nice thing about Application Studio, it’s very powerful. You can think of it as your replacement for Crystal reporting, so it’s going to allow you to do everything from detail-level reporting to pulling up your summary reporting in your analytics cubes. You can also pull from the cubes but you can also pull back from your source system. If there’s some data that you don’t have, in maybe your data store, and you need to go back to your S3 database, you can do that with Application Studio, all within the same report.
From there, from Application Studio, we actually serve those reports out through BI dashboards, which is a web application that’s available again, either through your browser or through a mobile application. Then, we already talked about Office Plus, which is a Microsoft Excel Add-in. That’s the Infor BI footprint, if you will. When we look at, “Where does d/EPM fit within that?” Really, it’s right here. It’s a delivered solution that sits within this. You have pre-built cubes and pre-built reports that are designed and delivered in that architecture.
It looks like we’re … Hey, Carlos. Our slide is not advancing.
Male: It’s a little delayed. It’s a little slow.
Bo: Okay. There we go. Okay. We’re skipped ahead a little bit. Let me catch it up here.
As we look at the environment that you want to install Infor BI in and eventually d/EPM, we typically will recommend that this is installed on a three-server environment. The reason for this, is actually, there’s quite a bit of processing that takes place within the en