MUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Epiphany

MUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Epiphany

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Infor Epiphany (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Epiphany is yet another Infor acquisition.

Application Detail

Epiphany is a CRM system with one of the stronger integrated marketing platforms. As such its email capabilities are very good, as is its campaign management functionality. Epiphany has possibly the best reporting capabilities of any CRM application although we rate Base ERP’s reporting as slightly better.

At one time Epiphany was the user interface CRM leader, but as is the case with most acquisitions, the software has received little investment from Infor and Epiphany still good has a good user interface is now beginning to lag other CRM applications that are under constant development.

Epiphany Email

Epiphany has a very good email marketing application which allows companies to not only create detailed customer profiles but to adjust then the email offers that it sends to increase response rates.

Epiphany Offer

This email offer has been optimized for a particular recipient; it is made up of different components that can be switched around.

Close to ½ of the CRM applications are now SaaS-based, and this is the precise future direction of the software category more than any other software category. Epiphany was one of the best CRM systems from the pre-SaaS era. As customers have become accustomed to the faster CRM implementations that SaaS providers can offer, Epiphany now lags regarding implementation time, which therefore increases its TCO. Furthermore, it is unlikely to develop very much further under Infor’s control. However, the application is still high enough in enough different areas to warrant a look by buyers.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

The biggest risks for an Infor Epiphany implementation come from the limited functionality of the application combined with the limitations of Infor consulting. We adjust for this in our TCO Calculator for Infor Epiphany.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

The strengths and weaknesses of Infor Epiphany must be communicated and built into the project plan. As Infor consulting is generally below average, buyers should think of staffing their Infor Epiphany implementations on the heavy side regarding client resources. This is important because it is difficult to find independent consultants who are experienced in Infor Epiphany, although it may be possible to see these resources from a boutique consulting firm that is strong in CRM and has experience in Infor Epiphany. If these two risks are mitigated, an Infor Epiphany implementation has a good likelihood of success.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the CRM software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Infor Epiphany. 

MUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle RightNow

MUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle RightNow

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Oracle RightNow (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Right Now is yet another Oracle acquisition which was acquired back in 2012.

Application Detail

RightNow was a mid-pack CRM application, but was supported by a better than average vendor in terms of business practices, management and sustainability – that is before it was acquired by Oracle. Although RightNow stretched the definition of CRM as the application was always weak in some core CRM functionalities but then strong in other areas not traditionally part of CRM. Another example of this is that RightNow was considered the go to solution for call center CRM.

RightNow was surging as a vendor prior to the Oracle acquisition. However, RightNow’s price was increased and potential future improvement was reduced through the Oracle acquisition. Furthermore, the merger was bad cultural fit with Oracle’s aggressive anything goes and low quality sales information combined with RightNow’s conservative management approach.

RightNow was developing to be a far broader solution prior to the Oracle acquisition, but that strategy as has changed after the merger and many of RightNow’s strategic plans for improvement have been halted or slowed. The acquisition came at a bad time because RightNow was really still developing as an application and seemed destined to move into some interesting directions. RightNow would have been far better if it had stayed independent as many buyers now complain about performance issues, something that the ever cost cutting Oracle support is not equipped to handle.

RighNow is a SaaS solution, however requires a client download in order to access the SaaS system. When RightNow was making some of its greatest headway, it was when the CRM market was beginning to differentiate.

Currently, the area where RightNow is strongest, is developing into its own sub area called call center or contact center or service center Software. CRM vendors are much better known, and so many are attempting to grow in that direction, notably Salesforce with its Service Cloud – vendors like Aspect and Zendesk. These vendors have better applications in this area than anything produced by a mainline CRM vendor. This software provides both phone and chat related functionality, but also adds areas to websites such as help centers that take up permanent residence on the site. In fact we have been impressed with some of the application in the call center or service center software category, and would never accept any of the CRM systems that we cover as substitutes. (we don’t believe it to be large enough yet to invest resources in covering)

RightNow is a super premium priced CRM option. However, it is difficult to see how it is worth the price with its questionable roadmap, persistent performance problems along with the severly lacking Oracle support. As soon as RightNow was purchased by Oracle, it instantly lost all of its organizational attributes, and assumed the negative attributes of Oracle. While a contender a prior to 2012, RightNow is an application to stay away from “right now.”

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

Buyers who purchase Oracle CRM On Demand have a strong tendency to be “Oracle shops,” who have often not performed their due diligence or run a proper software selection. Oracle CRM On Demand has a problematic combination of a low level of functionality with Oracle’s habitual overselling of all of its solutions. When this combination exists, it means dialing back the promises that were made during the sales cycle to something that can actually be implemented.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor specific risk. In our formula the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

Expectations must be lowered prior to the project kick off and the scope must be conservative. IT got what it wanted by choosing a convenient application and maintaining their Oracle connections rather than choosing a competitive application that will add much value to the business. Now the implementation is when the price will be paid for making this decision. If the business requirements are low, then there is a possibility of success. Low expectations are the best bet for a successful Oracle CRM On Demand implementation.    

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the CRM software category. Or goto this link to see other analytical products for Oracle RightNow.

MUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Lawson

MUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Lawson

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Infor (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Info is another ERP software vendor, which has grown through mergers and acquisitions. Infor is the 3rd largest ERP software vendor in the world. Infor acquired the ERP software vendor Lawson in 2011. Infor actually has the following ERP products.

Application Detail

Infor10 ERP Enterprise, Lawson M3 ERP Enterprise, Infor10 ERP Business, Infor10 ERP Express, Infor10 ERP Process Business. And these are just the major ERP systems. Infor lists the following ERP systems on their website.

  • Info LN
  • Infor LX
  • Infor M3
  • Infor SyteLine
  • Infor System21
  • Infor VISUAL
  • Infor XA
  • Infor Adage
  • Infor SunSystems
  • Infor Lawson
  • Infor Distribution A+
  • Infor Distribution FACTS
  • Infor Distribution SX.e

However, we have decided to focus on the Lawson ERP system as this is the flagship ERP for Infor.

Infor Lawson has the best user interface of any of the older generation ERP systems. Infor Lawson uses a very inventive interface design where icons along the top provide navigation between the major areas of the application.

Infor Lawson DashboardInfor Lawson also has a decent dashboard that shows the user basic activity.

Infor Lawson Past Due Invoices

The application also has a very useful search bar along the top, along with a search modifier. Infor Lawson has the first application we have reviewed that has updates and alerts that really work well. They are listed per category along with the right side of the user interface.

Infor Lawson Red Ball

 

This is another view on the alerts – this allows the user to hover over the appropriate icon and see the list of vendors that are on hold.

Infor Lawson Chatter

Infor Lawson has copied the Chatter functionality in Salesforce, which allows comment threads to be saved and accessed. Infor Lawson has done a very nice job with this functionality.

Infor Lawson is an interesting alternative for large ERP buyers. Infor Lawson has the highest ERP worker productivity of any of the ERP applications, which are sold to large buyers. While most of the other large company ERP applications are increasingly dated, Infor Lawson is a borderline ERP system, which is simply a combined financial system with a strong human resources module. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is better to go into ERP procurement understanding that buying a single system, which would do everything, was never a feasible strategy. Infor sales will attempt to counter this argument by pointing to its multiple offerings which can be connected to Infor Lawson – however these are all acquired applications, and each one of these applications would need to be evaluated on their own merits. Attempting to allow Infor to perform your solution architecture by pitching all Infor products is a bad strategy.

However, that fact that Infor Lawson combined a finance system with a strong HR system is why Lawson was traditionally strong in service industries such as finance and healthcare. Buyers that fall into this category may want to give Infor Lawson a look, however, if no real supply chain management requirements exist, FinancialForce along with either its consulting service application an HR application would be another possible alternative.

It is certainly true that service industries do not require ERP suites, and in fact even for manufacturers ERP systems are not actually necessary as the rise of excellent stand-alone financial applications provides the flexibility to create flexible solution architectures. For more on this topic see our Solution Architecture Packages.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

Software Decisions Risk Defined: (See This Link for Our Categorization of Risk)

Infor Lawson is one of the better ERP systems in this category, and it is in many ways a well-designed system that just happens to be short on some functionality. However, Infor’s consulting is not strong, and few consulting companies specialize in Infor Lawson, although they can certainly be found.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

Managing an Infor Lawson implementation means managing the risks related to getting consultants assigned to the project, and secondly to deal with rather limited functionality. This can quickly become a problem if the buyer takes statements made by Infor sales to heart and hold’s the implementation team’s feet to the fire to make all of them come true. And this, by the way, can easily happen, because as we explain in our Honest Vendor Rating of Info, Infor generally has a low accuracy level to the information it provides during the sales process.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Big ERP software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Infor Lawson.

References

Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer for Tuning

Tuning ERP and External Planning Systems with Brightwork Explorer

MRP and supply planning systems require tuning in order to get the most out of them. Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer provides this tuning, which is free to use in the beginning until is sees “serious usage,” and is free for students and academics. See by clicking the image below:

Software Selection Book

SELECTION

Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information

What the Book Covers

Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.

Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.

This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.

This book is connected to several other SCM Focus Press books including Enterprise Software TCO and The Real Story Behind ERP.

By reading this book you will:

  • Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
  • Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
  • Understand what motivates a software vendor.
  • Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
  • Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
  • Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
  • Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
  • Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.

Buy Now

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
  • Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
  • Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
  • Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
  • Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
  • Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
  • Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process

Analytical Products

What It Is

Our analytical products put the information necessary to improve decision making into your hands. They are empowering because they are self-service, which means that, rather than being “handled” by consulting company, you get the information and get to work with the information. They are timesaving because they include much of the numerical information you would get from a software vendor – as well as additional information that they would not share – without having to interact with every software vendor on your list.

Decision Making Support

Any company making decisions on enterprise software needs quality information and estimation, however, firstly quality and unbiased information is hard to come by. Secondly, there is very little in the way of quantification. One of the amazing conclusions from our analysis prior to developing our site was that there is no entity that estimates the comparative risk of different applications. Our analytical products are very focused on providing hard information, and some of our analytical products answer questions that no one answers in a quantitative dimension.

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After you sign up, you will be provided access to the analytical product page of your choice. You will be able to access all of this information within minutes. Select from the following analytical products.

Analytical Products

LinkDescription
Honest Vendor RatingsSoftware vendors rated on innovation, reliability, etc.
Software Category AnalysisHigh level analysis of covered software categories
MUFI Ratings & RiskOur application ratings & risk estimation
Project Planning PackagesInteractive calculator providing FTE, duration, finish date estimates.
Enterprise Software TCO CalculatorsInteractive TCO calculation; software costs, hardware costs, implementation costs & maintenance costs.
Solution Architecture PackagesCost comparisons between different solution architectures.

Project Planning Package – Infor Lawson

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: Infor (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Big ERP
  • Company Headquarters: 641 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011
  • Site: http://www.infor.com
  • Contact number: 646.336.1700
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for Infor Lawson.

References

Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Project Planning Package – Infor Epiphany

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: Infor (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: CRM
  • Company Headquarters: 641 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011
  • Site: http://www.infor.com
  • Contact number: 646.336.1700
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for Infor Epiphany.

References

Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – Infor Epiphany

How it Works

Fill out the form below for a your TCO estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: Infor (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: CRM
  • Company Headquarters: 641 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011
  • Site: http://www.infor.com
  • Contact number: 646.336.1700
  • Delivery Mechanism: On Premises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, goto this link to see other analytical products for Infor Epiphany.

Honest Vendor Ratings – Infor

Introduction

Infor has a number of products of good quality. While Infor’s products often score well for functionality, Infor as a company scores poorly for implement ability and maintainability. It’s extremely clear that Infor has acquired itself into a very confusing situation and it is a software vendor with a very complicated storyline regarding its applications. This is a software vendor with 13 different ERP systems.

It confusing enough to simply profile Infor’s applications, and how Infor salespeople are supposed to cover all of these applications, and how support is supposed to support all these applications is a mystery to us.

Infor is an unusual acquirer because unlike Oracle that lets its acquired applications languish into obsolescence and JDA, which actively pares the weaker applications that it acquires, Infor seems to actually attempt to keep all of its acquired applications ready for sale and support.

Infor, like the mega software vendors, would like to perform solution architecture work for its clients. That is providing a complete solution from its various acquisitions, using the argument that Infor may not have the best application in each area, but that buyers should buy from them because then all of the applications will be “integrated.” However, doing this will lead to poor outcomes, in fact, it always has been the case in enterprise software regardless of the software vendor that is being discussed. Each of Infor’s applications must be evaluated on an application by application basis.

Infor’s management has a reputation of being a bit too financially oriented. Financial oriented is great for Wall Street but is not as good for customers. Another problem is Infor’s constant acquisitions, and it cuts in several directions as is listed below.

  1. Acquisition heavy firms lead to too many people managing and speaking to customers about products for which do not have authentic knowledge.
  2. As an employee of a software vendor one of the worst things that can happen to you. Such a large number of people who work for Infor, who used to work for independent software vendors and were far happier in these other companies is a recipe for bad moral.
  3. Infor exacerbates this problem by having one of the higher employee turnovers of the ERP software vendors.
  4. It is a problem when so many of our client interviews are centered around problems that arise from too many acquisitions. Infor most likely needs to do what JDA has done, which is to cull its product database. But again, Infor does not follow JDA’s model. And they do deserve credit for reinvesting in the product after an acquisition.

Quality of Information Provided

Infor has a sales commission structure that escalates. This means that Infor does not actually pay a competitive commission until the salespeople meet cumulative goals. This is not a great way of managing sales commissions, and while this might be considered an effective/good way for Infor to motivate its salespeople, it puts a concern on the reliability of information that comes from Infor salespeople exactly because of this motivation. If the buyer runs into a salesperson towards the end of their measurement period who’s entirety of the bonus is related to closing the final deal – or making no bonus, one could expect the quality of information to be provided by this salesperson to be quite poor. This is a general criticism related to incentives. 

Consulting and Support

Infor has the same issue as Epicor in that due to fairness issues in terms of compensation (too much compensation going to the top and too little for those that will actually be working on your account). Infor does have a problem with employee morale, and this negatively affects both the motivation of implementation consultants and support personnel. Infor’s margin on its employees is too high in our opinion, and the employees have figured this out. One reason for this is that Infor has many ex-Epicor as well as ex-Oracle employees and executives. Not surprisingly, Infor scores poorly on both consulting and support.

Internal Efficiency

Our research has lead us to conclude that Infor has a weak management. Many of their policies and approaches are elitist really only designed to benefit the executives in the company. This is an entry for buyers, but one would wonder why people, aside from executives, would actually want to work for Infor. Infor prefers to repeat common management mistakes.

Innovation

Infor’s continual growth by acquisition strategy leads to the same problems faced by Epicor in terms of product quality. For instance, Infor literally lists 14 different ERP systems on its website. Quality problems are doubly a risk for Infor as they have created a corporate environment, which will generally not promote innovation. Innovation is promoted from stable work environments that allow the developers to work to long range goals from a perspective of security. 

Vendor Scores

Part of the Following Software Categories

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Software Selection Package for Big ERP

Software Selection Package for CRM