Infor Kicks Off Inforum 2012 User Conference

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Infor, a provider of business application software serving more than 70,000 customers, today kicked-off Inforum 2012, its annual user conference, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. This year's conference draws almost 5000 attendees, customers from 44 different countries, and marks the first time that Infor and Lawson Software customers come together since the companies combined to solidify Infor's position as the third-largest enterprise software company in the world.

Event Highlights

  • Keynotes & General Sessions: Infor CEO Charles Phillips and other senior executives will outline the company's long-term vision in light of its staggering growth and recent infusion of significant capital. Infor will also showcase advancements in business intelligence, social business applications, localizations, and its innovative integration platform, Infor10 ION Suite. Keynotes and general sessions will take place between 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. MDT on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24, and will be streaming live on Facebook.
  • Educational Sessions: More than 700 specialized sessions along the theme of "Go Faster" will address customers' hot button challenges, including how to choose a next generation Infor10 product; best practices for managing and optimizing global, complex supply chains; and how best to streamline data capture and analysis across manufacturing facilities.
  • Infor Executive Forum: This invitation-only, C-level event draws prominent customer and partner executives, including salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff and IBM Senior Vice President Robert LeBlanc.
  • Infor Solution and Industry Deep Dives: Infor executives will outline the company's current product roadmap and industry-specific go-to-market strategies.
  • Ferrari Formula 1 Show Car on Display: As the official supplier of the Scuderia Ferrari race team, Infor will display the 2012 Ferrari Formula 1 show car.
  • Musical Headliner: Three-time Grammy Award winners Train will perform at Infor's Customer Appreciation Night on Tuesday night.
  • Infor Excellence in Action Awards: Infor will honor customer achievements across a variety of categories and will name one overall "Customer of the Year."

"Inforum 2012 enables us to connect face-to-face with our customers from around the globe, including the opportunity to formally welcome customers from Lawson to Infor, where we are specialized by industry and engineered for speed," said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. "This week, our customers will learn more about how our industry-specific approach to building, packaging and deploying innovative applications can help them accelerate the pace of their business, enhance their global competitiveness and ultimately, boost profitability."

Infor Delivers Social Business Applications

Infor announced at the conference the next generation of Infor10 ION Workspace, an evolutionary step in enterprise software with advanced collaborative and communicative capabilities. Delivering contextual information in a familiar environment that mirrors social networking tools, the latest release enhances the Workspace user experience, which provides role-based information from multiple applications in a single interface with a common, sleek look-and-feel to enhance decision making across the enterprise.

The new Workspace, which was demonstrated today atInfor's annual user conference, provides companies social media-like sharing and communication tools to increase creativity and collaboration, with important protections for sensitive business and customer data in a secure environment. In addition, Workspace helps businesses address the challenge of knowledge transfer across different generations within the workforce by encouraging the sharing of information in a way that is intuitive and familiar to both younger and older generations of workers, including millennials.

"Today's consumer technology has helped people grow accustomed to communicating with their peers in a way that easily allows them to share information, collect feedback and make decisions," said Duncan Angove, president of Infor. "This release of Infor10 ION Workspace takes the familiar tools of consumer communication and applies them to the workplace, enabling companies to drive continuous improvement in a more collaborative, productive, social enterprise."

Generating Growth through Collaboration

Infor10 ION Workspace provides a social engine for the enterprise, fostering a collaborative environment where users can share information with colleagues in real-time. Users create a profile to represent themselves virtually, and can join public groups, create private groups, comment on posts by others, and follow their colleagues and items that affect key customers, partners, suppliers, vendors, or other designated links in the supply chain.

Relevant, in-context data is pulled from Infor applications, and most non-Infor applications, by Infor10 ION technology and posts to the profiles of users for whom the information is relevant by role in the organization, enabling them to track key items such as invoices, orders, shipments, and more. Users can also create posts and share them with specific groups, building a platform for multi-dimensional conversation and collaboration with colleagues regardless of location or job-function. Social conversations will be tagged with relevant information to allow for search and retrieval in the future.

Making Better Decisions with Contextual Information

ERP and other enterprise applications contain an enormous amount of data, but not all of that data is relevant to everyone in the organization. Using Infor10 ION technology, Workspace pulls information relevant to a user's function to enable faster decision making. With a traditional, siloed application infrastructure, users must log into and search through multiple systems to obtain the data necessary to make an informed business decision. By integrating multiple systems through ION, Infor is able to deliver contextual information to users through Workspace, enabling them to make faster, more informed decisions that increase the speed of business.

Workspace also advances enterprise search capabilities by enabling users to search multiple applications at once because information aggregated by ION is stored in the ION Business Vault, a repository of business documents from across the enterprise. The ION Business Vault will also store social conversations from Workspace, automatically tagging relevant contextual terms for future retrieval.

Extending Consumer Technology to the Enterprise

Infor10 ION Workspace has been designed to mirror familiar social networking tools, making Infor applications among the most intuitive in the business software industry. The latest version of Workspace represents a "consumerization" of enterprise software, with a sleek look-and-feel, which is a far cry from the "green screen" roots of ERP. Workspace draws on familiar Web-based applications to extend information contained in the ERP system, such as maps, weather, photographs, and more.

Workspace also helps manufacturers address the critical problem of attracting and energizing young workers, particularly millennials. With Workspace, younger generations of workers are able to interact with one another in a way similar to their interpersonal interactions online. They can share and discuss their work with each other in an intuitive, familiar environment, helping to excite them and ignite the creative collaboration that fuels innovation. As people have increasingly come to expect that their social networking platforms draw items like music, pictures and articles in, rather than requiring them to seek out such information, Workspace utilizes ION technology to pull data from multiple applications across the enterprise into a single interface that delivers a consumer-grade experience to the user.

"Not since email was first introduced in a business context has a technological development had such potential to change the way that people work as Infor10 ION Workspace," continued Angove.  "Companies that deploy Workspace can hope to achieve levels of collaboration and communication never before seen in the workplace, helping them recruit and retain young talent, excite their workforce, and drive innovation and profitability."

Customers running an Infor10 family product can deploy Infor10 ION Workspace bundled with Infor10 ION. For more information on Workspace, please visit www.infor.com/company/technology/workspace/.

Infor Integrates PLM and Lawson M3 ERP Enterprise

Also announced at the conference was the integration of Infor10 PLM Process (Optiva) and Lawson M3 ERP Enterprise, creating a complete process industry-specific application that enables customers to bring products to market faster, at a lower cost and with greater confidence in their ability to navigate regulatory and statutory requirements. This integration delivers on Infor's commitment to speed and innovation through the extension of two best-in-class applications. Infor10 ION technology provides the platform that enables the applications to seamlessly share data and information, bringing new levels of speed and visibility to companies in process manufacturing industries such as food and beverage, chemicals, cosmetics and personal and household goods.

The integrated applications provide a more complete solution that supports the business cycle from concept generation and product development, through to sourcing, manufacturing, sales, and finance, connecting the product development and production processes to reduce the time it takes for a new product to reach the market. Additionally, the applications share data across systems and between brands, divisions or departments, eliminating duplication and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of development and procurement processes.

Infor10 PLM Process and M3 ERP Enterprise are brought together pre-configured using Infor10 ION technology, Infor's lightweight integration platform that executes business processes and operates with a standard business language to provide a connection that is "unbreakable" by software upgrades, patches or enhancements. Additionally, Infor10 ION Workspace provides a common, sleek user interface across PLM, ERP, and other Infor applications, creating a consumer-grade experience that helps customers make better, faster, more informed decisions.

The integration of  Infor10 PLM Process for M3 ERP Enterprise helps ensure product safety by providing a roadmap which focuses on the needs of companies in the process manufacturing industry, including the connection between PLM and ERP to help minimize the risk of a recall, manage compliance and labeling, and reduce the impact of any product issues. Additionally, by leveraging application features that manage ingredients, specifications, recipes, allergens, and nutritional information, customers are able to alleviate many of the challenges faced in both product development and production such as compliance checks, quality control, labeling, potency and attributes, shelf life, catch weight and traceability.

"Market pressures demand that companies launch products in an increasingly short time-frame, causing manufacturing, design, and regulatory complexities," said Venkat Rajaji, global PLM product manager, Infor.  "Savvy process manufacturers have identified PLM as the answer to getting ahead of the competition by bringing products to the market faster, safer and at lower cost. The integration of PLM and M3 delivers an unprecedented level of product safety and compliance tools, reducing the business risk posed by product recalls."

Infor Announces Focused Business Intelligence Offerings

The company also announced newly focused business intelligence offerings, which now consist of two distinct groups of solutions, each aimed at addressing specific business requirements. By targeting well-defined business needs, Infor's business intelligence and performance management portfolio reflect the company's emphasis on delivering the industry-specific solutions that are tailored to customer needs.

Components of the Infor BI Platform include:

  • Infor10 Business Intelligence (BI) is a best-of-breed performance management solution that enhances and improves the tools managers already use every day. It simplifies complex choices and improves a company's ability to make effective plans and communicate those plans to everyone who needs to be included.
  • Infor10 ION Intelligence incorporates contextually relevant business intelligence features into the company's innovative Infor10 ION Workspace user interface. Users of Infor10 products in all categories will gain the benefits of ION's built-in business intelligence capabilities, without needing to know anything about business intelligence solutions—critical information will simply be presented when it's relevant to the user's current task.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics will also be part of Infor10 ION Intelligence, which draws on all business systems connected to the ION network to deliver more complete, accurate, and timely reporting and analysis.

Infor10 ION Intelligence is available to customers who plan to run it in conjunction with other Infor10 applications, while Infor10 ION Business Intelligence (BI) is available as a stand-alone solution.

"Because of the complexity and velocity of today's business environment, effective business intelligence tools are essential," says Rod Radojevic, director of Product and Industry Marketing for Infor's business intelligence solutions. "That's why we've made it our highest priority to deliver the most focused, industry specific capabilities to our business intelligence and corporate performance management customers."

Additional Resources
Note: registration may be required to access online content

  • Inforum 2012 Website: www.inforum2012.com
  • Video: Inforum 2012: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNBo8CTbke4&hd=1
  • "Like" Inforum on www.facebook.com/infor
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