Infor Adds Industry-Specific Functionality to M3
March 4, 2014 Alex Woodie
Infor last week launched a new release of its Infor M3 ERP software. Version 13.2 brings enhancements in six industry verticals, including food and beverage, clothing, and equipment dealers, among others.
When we last visited M3, Infor explained to IT Jungle how M3 version 13.1 would be the last big release of the ERP suite for some time, that Infor was going to slow things and simultaneously become more agile in an attempt to keep new capabilities within reach of users on older M3 release. It’s not unlike the Tech Refresh (TR) approach that IBM adopted for the IBM i OS or the “bite-size uplift projects” that Oracle recently adopted for JD Edwards.
And M3 version 13.1 was a big release. It contained more than 500 enhancements and, most notably, was the first version of M3 that was 10x compliant. That is key because 10x compliance opened M3 to integrate with the Infor ION middleware and, therefore, get access to all the interesting add-ons from Infor, like the HTML5-based SoHo interface, Ming.le for social media, and a business intelligence product built on Amazon‘s RedShift data warehouse.
So when Infor announced in February that it added more than 1,000 new features to M3 version 13.2, we had to go back and check our notes. It turns out, that “more than 1,000 new features!” figure is the total feature count since the last major release (prior to version 13.1). That’s going back four years, to version 10.1, which Lawson shipped in 2010. (Infor made its first bid for Lawson in March 2011 and completed the deal 13 months later.)
So what’s in version 13.2? Nothing huge, since the big shifts are saved for major releases every few years or so. But there’s some notable stuff, such as a new CRM system for equipment dealers, a new product lifecycle management (PLM) product for fashion companies, and a new Fresh Food Planner for food and beverage manufacturers chasing the market for ultra-fresh food.
Infor also debuted industry-specific customer lifecycle management (CLM) capabilities. Infor says the M3 CLM product “not only delivers sales force automation and account management functionality, but also drives a more intelligent approach to account management.” Specifics were not available.
In the UI department, the SoHo HTML5 interface that Infor debuted with 13.1 last year has been spruced up with “multi-browser capabilities that allow it to run on mobile devices such as the iPad.” The UI also sports configurable start pages and new menu navigation, the vendor says.
Henrik Billgren, Infor’s vice president of M3 product management, says customers will have an easy time upgrading to the new release. “The latest version of M3 is built on a new delivery platform to enable fast and incremental upgrades and deliver new capabilities without the cost and risk of a major upgrade,” Billgren says in a press release. “Combined with the Infor UpgradeX program, this offers customers a unique opportunity to move to the latest user experience, and exploit all the new capabilities available in M3, be it on premise or in the cloud.”