Epicor vs Infor – ERP System Showdown (Part 1)
As a leading ERP consulting firm for the mid market, we are often asked to compare systems. Today we will be looking at Epicor 10 and Infor 10X specifically. Our recommendation is always to find the right tool for the right job — and with these systems —there are many things to consider. Remember, not even the most powerful brand software in the world is a “best fit” for every organization. In our comparison of Epicor vs Infor, we’ll brief you on the more elementary facets of software selection, common issues that have been experienced, and what ultimately plays the biggest role in cost payback.
The company as the product – ERP product lines for Epicor and Infor
Infor ERP utilizes Microsoft technology, and is self-touted as the third largest ERP vendor in the world. However, Infor recently underwent an aggressive restructuring; buying out 30 different software companies in a short amount of time. Rolling that many different systems into a single, powerful suite is certainly no easy task. As you could probably expect, this process has not been seamless for the software giant. There have been massive criticisms as to how Infor software mergers and system integrations have taken place. This is a core point of comparison when browsing user feedback.
This experience has left many current Infor users recommending that future buyers avoid vendors who restructures on such a titanic scale. It appears to play a major role customer service, and in the functionality of all these different systems.
Epicor 10 is a choice ERP system among many organizations, but not without its own fair criticisms. Users adopt Epicor because it is a comprehensive, single source of information. In one review, users expressed the ease of use of Epicor 10, and its ability to generate powerful dashboards, as the primary reason for selecting the software. That’s important for busy users who need to carry out operations without becoming hung up on wonky tech jargon from a remote IT person. usability is one the big keys in user adoption.
Often criticisms of Epicor include issues implementing the software as desired; something that most businesses can mitigate by working with a certified partner. It’s also fair to mention that Epicor doesn’t offer the same niche vertical software that Infor does. However, these niche vertical offerings from Infor are rarely kept up with; as most are acquisitions. User acceptance and satisfaction with these products lines is very poor. Ultimately, the best solution may be finding a strong ERP system and integrating vertical software modules on top of the desired system.
Thoughts on this information
Recently, Infor hired 600 new engineers to integrate those 30 systems into dozens of software lines. The company broke product offerings out by featured solution per industry, per size. A recent user review detailed an RFP nightmare with Infor; due to this process. The vendor had offered so many lines of product, the company couldn’t decide which one was a good fit for their business processes. In the end, they walked away from Infor and chose to work with another ERP vendor instead.
Too much time and too much money is at stake to be cyphering through dozens upon dozens of demos from a single vendor. Infor offers some great options, but is running the risk of offering too much. When those systems become too diverse, customizing valuable processes can be a nightmare and inevitably be very costly for the mid market that they largely serve.
Epicor’s offering is much easier to get a handle on. They offer a very succinct selection of services; which include there current ERP versions and Prophet 21 ( their whole sale distribution line). This doesn’t inherently make it better (in fact, it actually offers less vertical specialization); however being able to make decisions about which systems should be implemented, and the best way to implement them, are critical to the success of an implementation process. As mentioned above, finding a good system fit and integrating models on top if it can often prove to be more effective than implementing a niche vertical software that is outdated and difficult to use.
Ultimately, Infor is currently unable to pull IT teams from massive internal projects to build out all of these new systems for their clients. This is why they promote other brand solutions that they have recently acquired as plug and play. It’s a vicious cycle and can be an expensive game to play if you’re an organization looking to implement a new system. We see clients that have fallen into a similar trap, and it’s why we strongly recommend using an expert partner in software selection and business process modeling.
The modern look and feel of a system encourages users to adopt the system which increases ROI in the short term. Epicor 10 (an upgrade over previous 9, and Vantage systems which were slightly more cumbersome) is one of the easier-to-use ERPs on the market among user groups. It provides touch enabled dashboards that are adaptable to each specific users needs; which is extremely beneficial for manufacturing and distribution verticals who easily need to modify a system and remain agile. Epicor users have taken to the new version very well. The simple dashboards are easily customizable and need little help from IT departments to setup. It’s rare that software upgrades like this are so universally liked by users.
In recent months, Infor has made some attempts to redesign the look of their system, but nothing significant compared to previous versions. Reviews reveal the UI/UX elements of Infor’s applications are a challenge for users to consume, and the user experience in particular needs a serious lift.
From a UI perspective, there are too many out of the box fields which may confuse users in different silos. A busy front facing machine is generally a turn off for users. Too many add-in fields have presented a challenge to uncover which channel will trigger the intended business process.
In addition, there’s not a sync design template used inside all of Infor’s product line; making systems integration cloudy. If you accidentally purchase one of their many new software solutions that has yet to be upgraded, you’re really purchasing a dated product at new product price.
Critics argue an ERP’s UX design should be one of the top three competitive differentiators sought for ERP software. In your RFP process, we suggest allowing employees with no technical background— like sales or accounting personnel— to demo the system. This allocates greater insight as to how the everyday person will engage with the system. The color, layout, and configuration are also important design elements to consider.
Mobility, Access to Data, and Usability
Access to data, mobility, and system usability is more critical for your business than ever before. In a recent study, the better half of 2500 companies running ERP said their system was “adequate” or “basic.” The study further reported users want more flexible and accessible ERP applications that enable employees to access information from mobile devices.
Mobile solutions are meant to empower people, processes, and infrastructure while sustaining business growth. Companies should be keeping mobile solutions in their minds from the start. Rarely do businesses perform all their profit driving operations in-house. As such, users need instant access to a number of intelligent data to make profitable business decisions remotely. During the development process of your implementation, you should consider help accelerating the deployment of mobile solutions. Epicor has optimal visualizations that are engaging for mobile users in any silo.
In addition, Epicor has proved to be a leader in user accessibility. User reviews say Epicor 10 illustrates a quick turnaround of information from production events to users. They further admire the intelligent analytics on simple, easy to use, dashboards. It is critical to consider user engagement, since these individuals are making the profitable business decisions beyond company walls.
Infor also delivers mobile access, however the complex design of their system is too busy for the modest layout of mobile. When users encounter complex analytics it elongates the time it takes to capitalize on an opportunity. In March, 2015 Infor did release their latest Infor Xi platform providing a responsive design with machine-learning and big data capabilities, but no mention of when one of its dozen ERP systems will feature such a robust application.
Think about the ROI
Throughout your RFP process you will come across companies that want to “provide the perfect solution for the type of business you’re in”, but users say the approach isn’t working. In order to see a solid return on your software investment, its imperative project teams realize obvious goals at the onset, like vendor management, risk management, and continuous improvement. Vertical niche modules can be added to any system. None of these objectives can be properly addressed when organizations are paralyzed by software selection and don’t think about the most important element of the project; implementation. Infor, once an industry titan, has made questionable business decisions that have recently hurt their brand and customer service deployment. Where Infor has failed lately, Epicor succeeded, spending much of their development hours on ease of use, mobility, and application integration—the three most pressing needs of today’s modern workforce.
The price tag of a project will only increase if companies fail to partner with an expert in software selection and business process modeling. It gives users a chance to choose which functionality best meets their goals and move into a modern space. Investing in infrastructure is an emotional decision that should be considered by many in an organization. Looking for the more rudimentary facets of software design and architecture will nurture your ability to make a more profitable decision and mitigate many software implementation risks from the start.
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