CIMdata PLM Industry Summary Online Archive

22 April 2013

Product News

Infor Unveils Next-Gen Enterprise Collaboration Platform, Infor Ming.le

Infor announced Infor Ming.le, a comprehensive platform for social collaboration, business process improvement and contextual analytics. Infor Ming.le is embedded within key systems like ERPSupply Chain Management(SCM), Human Capital Management (HCM), and Enterprise Asset Management(EAM), so employees across all areas of the business can communicate and collaborate, and easily follow people, assets, and processes relevant to the task at hand. Information such as documents, plans, photos, and videos are maintained in a centralized location with relevant activity captured to allow easy access by those who need it.

A 2012 report by the McKinsey Global Institute found, "The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks." Infor Ming.le offers a user experience that resembles the most widely-used consumer social networking tools to help deliver relevant data to employees, connect colleagues by functional responsibility, and reduce reliance on less efficient processes like email. Through Infor Ming.le, users are able not only to talk about work issues, but to solve them directly in the application, which can lead to an increase in productivity.

Infor ION Technology is the Foundation for Infor Ming.le
Infor ION technology connects Infor and non-Infor applications, storing information in a common format and repository. Based on OAGIS standards, all applications using ION publish in XML, the language of the internet; and every business event or transaction processed within the ION technology produces an XML document that is stored in the Business Vault, a reservoir for transaction data from multiple business systems enabling more flexible, powerful reporting, business intelligence, and analytics.  Infor Ming.le leverages the power of ION to help unify business applications and their data into a single intuitive interface that is as easy to use as Facebook or Twitter. 

Harnessing the "Internet of Things"
Infor Ming.le extends beyond traditional collaboration tools by connecting users to virtual representations of business objects, machines, and data in addition to colleagues. Identified objects, ranging from purchase orders to power generators, provide real-time updates to interested parties across the organization directly through the application.  Users can subscribe to these updates, receiving an alert upon every action and interaction related to the object, with each stored in an auditable trail in the feed. 

Building a Business Social Graph
Infor Ming.le connects structured and unstructured processes, taking information contained in applications, including HCM, to connect employees to their functions and responsibilities, enabling others in the organization to identify contacts quickly and easily. Because the platform is integrated to the data in the application, as users interact with Infor Ming.le, a map of the relationships between employees and business objects is created, forming a business social graph. This graph can  improve productivity and collaboration by eliminating the need for employees to seek out colleagues to help with business situations.

Capturing Vital Corporate Knowledge
With speed a critical factor in today's business environment, employees have increasingly turned away from email toward instant messaging platforms, which provide faster response times but are less effective at storing conversations for later retrieval. Infor Ming.le captures vital corporate knowledge that can be lost through email and instant messaging, tracking communications transparently in the context of business processes and providing a clear audit trail.

Infor Ming.le - an Example
A sales executive at a manufacturer of disk brakes and pads receives a rush order from a major automotive OEM. He enters this into Infor Ming.le and receives an alert that the order will not be able to be fulfilled in the timeframe requested by the customer. Embedded intelligence in Infor Ming.le also shows that the OEM is one of the company's top three customers.

Because Infor Ming.le draws information from multiple applications into a single platform, the sales executive is able to directly view the production schedule and see that maintenance work on a large piece of equipment is causing the delay in fulfilling the order. Wanting to please a top customer, but not knowing who in the company handles production scheduling, he shares the purchase order with a message through Infor Ming.le to the production group.

Infor Ming.le, knowing who at the company is responsible for production scheduling at the plant assigned to this order, alerts the production manager directly in her Infor Ming.le feed. The production manager sees that the scheduled maintenance is preventative in nature and adjusts the schedule so it can be conducted once the order is complete. This triggers an alert back to the sales executive who lets his customer know that the order will be delivered on time. 

Through Infor Ming.le, the sales executive and production manager were able to solve a critical business issue despite not knowing each other, in a matter of minutes. In addition, all actions and interactions were transparent to all users and saved to the original purchase order providing a clear audit trail. What previously may have been an impossible or lengthy task was solved quickly and efficiently through Infor Ming.le.

Comments about Infor Ming.le 
"Users will notice a stark difference between the new apps and the old apps.  When apps begin with user design instead of engineering, the end users benefit," said Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO, Constellation Research.

"A big area of differentiation for Infor moving forward is changing the experience of how people use software to make it more beautiful, elegant, and intuitive," said Rebecca Wetteman, vice president, Nucleus Research. "For Infor, this is not just about wrapping a better user interface around functionality but taking a more holistic approach to how users engage with the application in a linear process." "We believe Infor is coming to market with the right product at exactly the right time," said Peter Goldmacher, Cowen & Company.

"One of our biggest challenges was connecting our processes to deliver information to make informed decisions with correct and up to date information. Integration is a key part of our system functionality and using ION to integrate our processes and Mongoose to build scalable applications quickly and securely gives us the ability to make changes quickly and know that our processes are working to give us information when we need it," said Luke Rains, system development director, Preferred Sands. "The addition of Infor Ming.le to tie the ION and Mongoose processes together provides a cohesive platform for exceptional decision making."

"In early 2012, Ring found itself in a situation where we had numerous custom applications that required support.  Most of these were simply notifying a user of a situation or an approval workflow process.  This support was very time consuming.  Around this same time, we needed to upgrade several operating systems/equipment.  This upgrade would require many of our custom applications to be re-written.  Rather than spending the time to re-write custom applications, our executive staff challenged us to replace custom applications with solutions from our core applications (LN/PLM/CPM) if possible.  We wanted to use the existing functionality of our core applications to their fullest and it was clear we weren't.  We quickly saw Infor Ming.le, Workspace and ION as the answer," said Kevin Williams, senior business analyst, Ring Container Technologies

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