Infor to Consolidate Distribution ERP Suites
May 3, 2011 Alex Woodie
Infor is consolidating its various ERP suites for the distribution industry to two main products, the company announced recently. The IBM i platform will be represented with Infor Distribution Enterprise i, which is based on the A+ product that Infor obtained with its 2004 acquisition of daly.commerce. Eventually, the company will merge the two distribution ERP suites to a single product with a common code base.
Infor chief strategy officer Bruce Richardson discussed the future of the company’s ERP development strategy in a recent posting on his blog, The View From Inside. According to Richardson, the company is currently executing on a five-year roadmap that will see Infor’s multiple ERP products for the wholesale distribution business consolidated to two, including Infor Distribution Enterprise i and Infor Distribution Enterprise, which is based on the SX.enterprise suite.
“By 2013, the two products will share the same functional code base,” Richardson writes in his blog. “We are already working on building an identical user interface based on the new Infor Workspace. We’re also working on integration with Infor ION.”
Infor is offering to customers running other distribution packages upgrades to either of these two products through its Flex upgrade plan, Richardson said. Infor is also ramping up a cloud solution for customers who don’t want to run either of these products onsite. The cloud offering should be available by the end of the year.
A+ is an RPG-based distribution suite that was originally called Application Plus when it was developed by daly.commerce and its predecessor, Daly & Wolcott. The Rhode Island company, which was founded in 1988, had about 1,200 customers on its OS/400-based Application Plus and its Windows- and Unix-based product, called commerce@work, when it was acquired in 2004 by Agilisys, as Infor was called then.
Infor says it has almost 1,000 customers running SX.enterprise, which was developed using the Progress Software database and development tools, and runs on Windows and AIX. The software includes warehouse management, inventory control, and order entry functionality.
Richardson–who related in his blog how he hated the lack of transparency from software vendors when he was an analyst at AMR Research–praised the work that Andy Berry, vice president and general manager of Infor’s distribution business unit, is doing to publish five-year roadmaps for the products, including all industries and sub-industries that it supports. The roadmap for the electrical industry has already been published, he said, and similar guides for the HVAC, industrial, and building materials industries will be out soon, he says.
It’s not clear whether any of Lawson Software‘s products are included in the roadmap, or are up for consolidation. Lawson has a large number of distributors (as well as manufacturers) running its M3 suite. Lawson last week agreed to be acquired by an Infor company.