Infor has added 140 new features to its CloudSuite Industrial (CSI) ERP solution and redesigned its interface. The global provider of business cloud software also offers most of these changes to users of SyteLine, the equivalent hosted on the application's website.
Over the past few years, Infor engineers have spent a lot of time with CSI and SyteLine users to better tailor the manufacturing business management application to their needs. "It allowed us to gain a lot of information and identify several areas for improvement that needed to be addressed in order to bring value quickly to our customers," said Alan Hays, senior vice president at Infor.
A redesigned user experience
Armed with this feedback, Infor's developers set to work to significantly redesign the app's user interface. "Not only are we making the software more visually interesting, but we've put a lot of effort into ensuring that the new layout saves users time when interacting with the app," says Hays.
Several changes have been made to improve screens, tabs and forms so that users can more easily access all the information they need to do their work, says Jean Desbiens, CSI solutions designer at Novipro.
"More concretely, we changed several buttons to free up space, added fields and information in the forms to avoid having to navigate from one screen to another and reshuffled things to make the user experience more user-friendly," he says. These changes will allow users to reduce the number of clicks required to complete tasks, which was a recurring request from customers, says the solution designer.
Older versions of most of the forms that have been changed, however, are still available in the app, enabling companies to incorporate the changes gradually, Hays adds. However, he is hopeful that the majority of users will enthusiastically adopt the new interface. "We made sure to make the user experience as intuitive as possible," he says.
More changes will be added to the interface over the coming months, as Infor continues to optimize the user experience, Hays said.
Easy access to industry-leading processes
Infor has also added a new module, called Process Intelligence, that gives companies access to industry-best-practice processes. The module is perfectly integrated into the ERP and even enables access to the various forms that are associated with each step of the process, explains Jean Desbiens.
"You can also attach all the necessary documents. Users can easily understand the process, their place within it and what they need to do," he adds. According to him, this function greatly facilitates the onboarding of new employees and ensures that the integrity of processes is maintained over time.
"On the first day of an implementation, everyone is ready, properly trained and knows what to do with the software. But months go by, people move, new people arrive and are often left to fend for themselves, without support. This tool greatly facilitates the learning curve and ensures that people have access to the processes they need," he says.
An optional add-on module for companies also makes it possible to modify processes as needed and thus adapt the best practices of the industry to their own reality, adds Jean Desbiens.
A better multi-site experience
Infor has also added a new feature that makes it possible to set up multiple plants on a single site, rather than having to create a site for each one. This is a major change that adds a lot of value, notes Jean Desbiens.
Among other things, this makes it easier to configure and visualize production costs and a different planning structure in each plant, which greatly facilitates consolidation and planning. "The software already made it possible to do this, but we are delivering a higher level of capability; We are elsewhere on the capacity side," he says.
This feature is only available in a limited capacity for now, but its scope will be gradually expanded in future updates, advises Alan Hays.
Many functions have also been added to make the solution more malleable and thus facilitate its implementation without having to embark on expensive customizations of the software. "We have been working for years to make the product practically turnkey. It is now very easy to adapt the solution to the needs of the companies by working on the different configurations," says Alan Hayes.
With this in mind, many add-ons, once available on request, are now an integral part of the application. Users will be able to access features designed for other areas and integrate them as needed, explains Jean Desbiens. "They could, for example, look for quality or compliance management tools designed for the automotive industry, or forms specific to the molding industry," he says.
Changes that can be adopted at your own pace
To prevent all of these improvements from creating change management issues, Infor has also added a feature that enables organizations to control the pace of change adoption. The administrators of the solution can therefore activate or deactivate the new features, and test them before going into production.
This is the approach that is typically used on the backend side in on-premises hosted applications, but Infor offers the same capabilities with frontend and SaaS application to ease its customers' transition to the cloud, Hays says.
In addition to taking advantage of CSI's full functionality, moving to the cloud enables companies to take full advantage of the guidance of the Infor team. "For example, if we find that a customer is not using a feature that would be useful to them, we can provide them with advice in this regard," he says.
Infor's team plans to make many more changes in the coming months, says its vice president. "Infor cares about this app," says Desbiens. I have been working with the company for 30 years; It's crazy how far we've come! I look forward to seeing what comes in the next few years. »