Nearly 500 Infor customers, partners and executives gathered in Chi-Town last week for Infor Next Chicago. The two-day conference featured more than 100 action-packed sessions on everything from cloud, social, big data and analytics to industry-specific suites and technology updates to improve distribution, logistics, supply chain, finance and more.
Smaller than Inforum but larger than a typical user group, the event had an intimate vibe which was an ideal backdrop for collaborative discussions and exchange of ideas. The show floor was abuzz with activity as participants traveled from the main room where partners presented Infor M3 services, including an implementation accelerator toolkit for streamlining cloud upgrades, to breakout sessions that covered “how to” information and industry trends.
Some of the key themes we observed:
There’s a lot of interest in version 13.3 and 13.4. The latest version of M3, including M3 with Infor 10x, has more than a thousand new features and improvements since the last major M3 release. The option to go to cloud had definite appeal across manufacturing, equipment, distribution and food and beverage processor leaders in attendance. Gary Drake, senior solutions consultant at Infor, presented a compelling presentation on upgrade options and the business case for cloud or on-premise deployment.
Industry specialization is hot. Infor CloudSuites was a definite show standout, providing customers with a complete set of software that can be implemented in the cloud with minimal to no customizations. For example, agribusinesses have grower contract management built into the application tailored for their industry. The heavy equipment and dealership industry benefits from parts, service and maintenance functionality integrated into the platform. Distribution companies can leverage advanced inventory management and rebate tracking. It was less about basic ERP functionality and more about how Infor is meeting unique needs of every business.
Community is valued. Networking with fellow M3 users was a major draw for attendees, who enjoyed gathering for education sessions, sharing meals in the dining hall and learning about product enhancements and consulting services. Tracy Chemello, business applications manager at Finning, was announced as the new MUGA president and shared her vision for keeping the Infor M3 community connected and informed.
Customer success stories are everywhere. J.R. Watkins, a natural product company that provides home care, personal care and gourmet products, took the stage with Infor leaders to tell how they modernized its aging IT portfolio to optimize speed to delivery for its customers. Selecting Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage, powered by Infor M3 and implemented by Avaap, J.R. Watkins is one of the first food and beverage migrations to Infor M3 13.2 cloud, noting they already see a noticeable improvement in functionality and performance value.
New innovations were around every corner. By that, we mean Avaap made a splash unveiling its Credit Card Processing application and enhancements to its Test Automation software. We were delighted to show off our slick dashboard and user interface for drill-down detail into software test results. Attendees who participated in a demo saw how Avaap Test Automation automates the testing process, resulting in more efficient test execution and use of time, and how it can be used as part of an upgrade project or anytime a patch is applied. Attendees also expressed interest in our new credit card payment gateway and how it helps organizations to accept credit card payments via Infor M3. If you haven’t seen it, contact Avaap for more information on how it can be used in your organization.
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