I’ve been working in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software business for over 30 years and have seen many customers have great success with Infor Distribution solutions like A+ and FACTS. Based on my experiences, I’ve compiled a list of the top six reasons why A+ and FACTS customers continue to find success using these heritage ERP solutions.
Both A+ and FACTS are tried and true having stood the test of time for nearly 30 years helping distributors operate their back-office operations more efficiently. They are basically bulletproof when it comes to reliability with almost 100% uptime if the hardware is current.
Everyone already knows how to use the software. This means, there’s no need to allocate additional time or resources to train staff on a new system. There’s value in knowledge capital and knowing how to run a business with the systems in place.
3. Version Upgrades
Infor A+ and FACTS have stood the test of time. As these are critical to the operation of a business, to function properly and continue to deliver value, maintenance is required. This maintenance when it comes to your ERP is making sure you are on the most current release. This allows you to take advantage of the new functionality built inside the platform.
Over the past two years since the pandemic started, I’ve observed that customers on a current release of Infor A+ or FACTS were able to be very agile. The pandemic brought a resurgence of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which allows for electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format. Our customers that were on a current release could easily add the EDI module allowing them to take advantage of the changing environment and gain new business. By being on the current software release, customers were able to modernize, innovate and drive digital transformation into their business as their customers and vendors required it.
Those who embraced digital transformation have been the most successful during the pandemic. From an Aktion perspective, we experienced an increase in delivering EDI services and there are several new EDI vendors in the market. The result is an uptick in integration data in/out and web services being used more frequently. Those that were on a current software release were able to quickly adapt.
Unlike many ERP solutions today, the source code for both Infor A+ and FACTS is included. This allows users the ability to customize the software to meet their specific business needs. Infor A+ and FACTS users are a very active and engaged community. Collaboration in this community is one of the main reasons why these heritage ERPs are still valued and used in the Wholesale Distribution industry. Sharing customizations with other users is common. Aktion is actively involved in this community and regularly provides input on customizations for users.
6. Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Third-party Applications
Another way I’ve seen many A+ and FACTS users add functionality into their system is by using ISV applications. These ISV applications can be used to perform targeted tasks such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Tax Compliance, Credit Card Processing, Ecommerce, etc.
Deciding What to Do with Heritage Infor ERP
Aktion has developed a list of questions we share with our customers to help them decide if staying on an existing heritage Infor ERP is in the best interests of the business.
Does the current ERP meet 90% of business needs?
Are there plans for a control change in the next 3-5 years?
Wizard of Oz Syndrome
In many cases, an Infor heritage ERP was installed many years ago and it’s likely the team that installed the solutions are no longer with the company. Adding to this, businesses change and need to adapt to stay competitive. Even with customizations and adding ISV software, the heritage ERP may not meet the needs of a modern Wholesale Distributor.
To help companies make an informed decision, we recommend conducting a business operations review. The review is a blueprint for identifying the gaps, if any, in their current ERP functionality and is the foundation for developing a comprehensive IT strategy. Frequently the review illustrates for company stakeholders that their existing Infor ERP solution has the functionally they need and is delivering business value. All they need to do is “click their heels!”
Phil is a Practice Manager in the Supply Chain Division and leads the team responsible for supporting and delivering services for both Infor A+ and FACTS customers. For more than 30 years, Phil has provided strategic direction to customers implementing ERP software and infrastructure technology solutions.