#Infor #ION – a brief walkthrough

June 7, 2012 13 comments

Infor ION is really creating a lots of  hype and myth amongst Infor family and those who are considering to be the part of Infor family. What is it all about ? What is this ION ? Another buzzword ? Is this a BI tool ?  If  I get ION, I don’t  need anything else to install ? Lots of questions come up from people who have heard that some product coined “ION” is launched by the third largest ERP vendor “Infor”. Trying to answer some of the questions, basically a brief overview of what is ION and what it can do better.

ION stands for “Intelligent Open Network”, its a middle-ware developed by Infor which can be used with Infor and non-Infor products. Its not something which is very new to the enterprise industry. There   is a huge list of middle-wares which are existing which might be even better than ION and also experienced in this area. Now lets see, how ION makes itself different from its peers and what is the best maximum we can achieve from it.

Wait wait !! what  the damn is this  middle-ware ?

Keeping aside all the technical jargon lets try to understand what the middle-ware is with a simple day-to-day example?  Have a look at the image below, and try to figure out what it says

There is English gentleman , who understands only English and a  Sumo wrestler who can only understand Japanese and they both wanna communicate , they can talk in action, but that’s not the effective way to communicate, it will take hours for them to understand a single statement. There is a problem!!

Now Stewie comes along,  he knows both the languages , he becomes a translator in between and helps them communicate. Stewie plays a major role for a effective conversation to take place between the English and Japanese Sumo.

Middle-ware plays the same role as Stewie, this is though a very broad explanation of a middle-ware just to understand how important the middle-ware is. Some big names in this area are TIBCO , webMethods, IBM  etc.

In technical terms, Middleware is a software which enables the communication and management of data in distributed applications. Services that can be regarded as middleware include Enterprise application integration, data integration, message oriented middleware (MOM) and Object Request Brokers (ORBs).

What we are mainly concerned is EAI.

Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is an integration framework composed of a collection of technologies and services which form a middleware to enable integration of systems and applications across the enterprise.

ERP applications ,  CRM applications , BI applications etc typically cannot communicate with one another in order to share data or business rules. Not only this application landscapes require a midlle-ware to communicate , but also two similar applications from different vendors can’t effectively communicate without a middle-ware. “EAI is the “unrestricted sharing of data and business processes among any connected application or data sources in the enterprise”. This is what Gartner talks about EAI.

One large challenge of EAI is that the various systems that need to be linked together often reside on different operating systems, use different database solutions and different computer languages, and in some cases are legacy systems that are no longer supported by the vendor who originally created them. Baan can be considered as an example of legacy application, though Infor have very beautifully adopted and raised it like its own kid.

How ION is different from its peers and how can it help improve our business ?

ION as I have already mentioned, is an middle-ware from Infor. Being an Infor product, connectivity between Infor application landscape is possible in matter of few minutes. As Infor says “3 minutes installation – 3 minutes configuration and 3 minutes Live”. This is great is’n it ? This is very much true when we talk about Infor application landscape communication via standard BODs, but when it comes custom BODs and  3rd party applications in the landscape, it is obvious that it won’t go live in 9 minutes, you will need a little more efforts, but it will be minimal.

Now the above points doesn’t mean that you replace all other middle-wares being already used in your organisation with ION. The other peers are equally good or may be better , but when  most of the application in the landcape belongs to infor family, it is recommended to use ION as  it will definitely reduce the implementation time and as standard business processes are already defined, there will be minimal time in customization as well.

ION effectively enable you to organize your information, act on the information and follow or monitor the information. Infor have adapted the social platforms for real time data operation, alerts and hats off for the very beautiful and stunning user interface. The Pulse reminds me of “Bottlenose”, the only thing missing here is “sonar”. All the data that will be traversed will be through a secure business vault, without compromising on data security. In an enterprise, data security should be always given the top priority, and Infor have done it very well. This approach will reduce a lot of ETL process, normally involved in integration and you can move on to Real Time.

Most (Not All) of the middle-wares will just serve your connectivity needs, but again for reporting, event management, and routing the business flow you will need to undergo multiple surgeries to your applications, this can be higly avoided with ION Suite. ION takes a single touch point approach and lots of the custom and point-to-point integrations can be avoided.

ION service Suite includes ION Pulse which manages and follows the information, ION workflow for automated document routing and approvals across multiple infor/non-infor applications, Event Management for automated task monitoring and pro-active alerting of any exceptions, ION Connect for communication and secure sharing of data across on-premise and cloud applications and a intuitive browser based interface used for configuring and monitoring the ION services. Below figure is the pictorial representation.

If you have used bottlenose, Pulse is like its brother for enterprise applications, mainly meant for reducing the huge load of feeds and alerts, its basically for managing and following the loads of information.

How is ION priced ?

This is again an important question that comes in the mind, when you are thinking of buying ION.

Infor has bundled the ION services in three different SKUs

 

  1. ION – CONNECT ( ION-CONNECT, ION-DESK and Infor connectors )
  2. ION – CONNECT 3P ( ION-CONNECT, ION DESK + IO BOX Connectors for 3rd party apps)
  3. ION – PROCESS ( ION CONNECT, ION DESK, ION WORKFLOW, ION EVENT MANAGEMENT and PULSE)

ION Server-based pricing based on CPU-Cores. The pricing is based on the effective used / assigned cpu-cores and not per the physical number of cpu-cores present on the hardware. So if you are thinking of buying ION for your Infor application, ION connect is what you need . For Infor to 3rd party connectivity, ION connect and ION connect 3P will be required and for the combination of both and also need event management, workflow etc. you will need the ION-Process.

Hope I could answer at least some of the questions related to ION and bring some idea about what ION is ?

Categories: Infor Tags: ,

Microsoft SO.CL – First Impression

February 3, 2012 1 comment

Today morning while going through my inbox, I checked that I have an invite from Fuse Labs to join so.cl, Microsoft’s new social networking site.  Fuse Labs is  research Labs which works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work.

After the grand success of Facebook , all major internet giants diving themselves more towards social networks. Recently Google came up with its Google+ and now Microsoft joined the league with its  so.cl (Pronounced as social). I too wanted to play around with SO.CL  so in no time, I accepted the invite.

The invite landed me to the home page,  It was very much interesting, I personally somewhat liked the homepage and wanted to dig-in to know more how social is inside.

So.cl not really looked social to me, at its first look. The only way to log in to so.cl was using the Facebook id, there was no other open ids, we could use. No Twitter, no Google nothing else except Facebook. Microsoft no doubt have some soft corner for Facebook, so this was not a surprise. But again as so.cl is in invite only stage possible that the team might add more open id’s later. So.cl is definitely not complicating things and is very simple, a plus from me.

Lets see What so.cl team have to say about this ?

So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools. It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning.

Okay to some extent I believe them, lets wait to see where this experimental project leads to :-), Is it something which is gonna conquer the internet in near future ?

Looks like the war has begun to rule the internet.

Currently so.cl is in invite only stage and not public yet, following the footsteps of Google.  To log in to so.cl two things are mandatory, an invite and a Facebook id. Without both these you can only enjoy the login page.

As I logged in, the interface looked familiar. It was the merger of twitter, Google reader and Facebook etc.  It was allowing the user to follow and get followed by other users, conceptually similar to twitter. The feeds from the users followed by you will be visible to you incase they are public or if it is shared to you privately. Quite similar to Google+ and Google reader, Facebook also is doing it in similar manner. Notification are available with the count at the right hand corner again similar to Google+.  But definitely there was something different apart from all this similarities.

Unlike other social networks, SO.CL says “What are you searching for ?” , you can search in the search box and share the rich contents of the search instantly. You can search for images and so.cl will collage it in a very nice beautiful manner and you can share it to your network or public. This was a unique thing I found and was quite impressed with the same. Sharing pictures, searches, videos looks like the forte of so.cl. It is all about searching and sharing. Whatever you search can be selectively added to your sharing. Wow loved it. All the searches are powered by Bing engine, no other engines can be selected :-(.

Again if you don’t want to search and share, so.cl also encourages you to share “Whats in your mind ?” similar to Facebook.

Video Parties is one unique feature in so.cl, slightly influenced from Google+ Hangout, but its about video sharing and not video chat.  So.cl extends this concept by making it easy to share video parties, with So.cl friends who are online. Video parties let you search, and quickly assemble a list of movies to view together with friends. You can view any existing party collection created by any other So.cl user, or create your own, and easily chat with other So.cl users. Watching videos together is more fun, than watching them alone. Like video parties, wished if there was Music party too.

So.cl also allows you to Tag, comment and Like the posts of your so.cl network. So.cl like button is a cute “verticle” smiley lolz.

Making the posts private & public is very convenient and handled very well by the so.cl team, its just need a single click. Feeds and Activities can be filtered in a very well organized manner. Activities are sub categorized to filter as “Everything”, “status”, “searches” and “parties”. Similarly Feeds are filtered against “Everyone”, “People I follow”, “My conversations” & “Me”. This is again something I personally liked. ,But would wish to have my personalized filter too, something like feeds from my personal list of friends. Lists and groups are definitely an important feature missing here for me. May be SO.CL don’t want social discrimination :-).

But whatever it is, what makes SO.CL different from its peers is its simplicity. Even the settings are minimum, the team have worked really hard to make it simple, great work. Even your profile doesn’t carry much complexity, it only includes your picture imported from FB.

My overall experience with SO.CL was good, I think I will login again.

Categories: Micrososft, Social Tags: ,

Desi Innovation – What are you waiting for ?

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

As the month of February approaches, some of the greatest and biggest end of the season SALE , flood  the Malls with consumers with no place to stand around. And we are not the exceptions to hit the Malls.

It was 26th January yesterday, a very important day for all Indians, as its our Republic Day and off course the biggest end of the season Sale of the year. Everyone in festive & holiday mood.  We ( Sachin, Gurpreet, Sandeep, Jagpreet, Yo Shanky & off course me) targeted  Inorbit Mall, Malad to grasp the best deals of the year. We did a lot of shopping, no doubt about it, but this post is not to list down my shopping items ;-).

After we did our part of shopping, it was the time  for my favorite activity “Pet Pooja”. I am big time foodie. We all rushed to the food court on the top floor. I wanted to have some fresh berry blast , so I ordered from “Dosa Plaza” which was the only stall offering fresh fruit juices. To my amazement when I placed an order,  instead of  handing over the usual bill and the token, the guy at the counter handed over some geeky electronic stuff.

For a while, I was just stunned to figure out, “What the heck is this ?”. I learnt from the counter that the device will blink & buzz, once the order is ready . That was really cool. Its really a pain to wait for your order , stare at the counter to check when my order arrives. This device really a great stuff, stopping all the wait time, you don’t have to stand at the counter waiting for your order to arrive. Just continue your shopping, get busy with your friends and once your order is ready the device will blink & buzz.

These devices are called ” wireless restaurant paging systems”  and are distributed by Long Range Systems

Categories: Social, techbuzz Tags: ,

Understanding the social web for better brand building (B3)

January 24, 2012 8 comments

Understanding the social web

The Social web is complex & Social media tools available to enterprise can be confusing. Social media can definitely drive more traffic than most of the other options of marketing, but only if you do it the right way.

If you look at the past, “word of a mouth” was one of the most popular techniques to market your brand/product. Now years after, I would rather change to decades after, we are actually using the same concept of “word of a mouth” renovated to social web, no doubt this time it reaches the huge masses, beyond our geographical reach.

The way of doing business has changed a lot, If you look at the past it was make my product more better than my competitors, keep a closed approach and just sell my product and leave the customer pissed off. Now the whole approach is changed, business competitors are social now, services are shared to expand business, collaborations done to share the best practices, a better relation is maintained with the customers right from helping them to buy the products to use the products.

According to Hubspot, state of Inbound marketing Report 2011,57% of the B2B companies acquired their customers either from their company blogs or LinkedIn Channels. Facebook and Twitter played a major role too, gaining in 48% & 41% of the customers. Graph below shows the 2010 – 2011 Inbound Marketing report published by hubspot.

It’s really very important to understand the Social media, as you can make a blunder out of it, if you have not used it a right way. Haa!! but that doesn’t mean that you will always approve positive feedbacks/comments on your blogs or social pages. If I see a page with 100% positive comments on a page and millions of likes and no dislikes at all, I will be suspicious, and start thinking that it might be fake. So positive as well as negative comments are equally important, in fact a study reveals that negative marketing have raised the sales for an organisation, I really can’t remember the name, but have gone  through some reading with this case study.

Listed below are some of the social media vendors, which can be effectively used as a tool set for a Social Enterprise.

bit.ly

Around 15,000 users use Bitly and there are 8 billion clicks on Bitly links every month. Bitly is a ULR shortner that can be reliably branded and tracked across platforms from Facebook to Twitter or even an instant message. Track where your link has been visited, this will help you spot your marketing opportunities.

Fliptop

Fliptop is a social intelligence service which turns the email addresses into full social profiles, including public Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn data. Recently its integration with Salesforce, adds Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn data to your leads and contacts, for targeted marketing. Fliptop based on the email address provides every details like Name, Age Range, Gender, Location, Employer, Occupation, Influence Score and all the key Social Networks that person is on.

KLOUT

KLOUT is the standard for influence on the web. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure

* True Reach: How many people you influence
* Amplification: How much you influence them
* Network Impact: The influence of your network

This will help you leverage the influence of the influential. Who should you ask to review your product? Whose complaint should you prioritize? Who are eligible for your new beta features, before you release it to the masses.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a social media dashboard with 2 million + SME users, including WWF, Pepsi and NBC. HootSuite helps makes your experience on social media more effective, from engagement, analytics, workflow and security to support. Hootsuite provides advanced tools that are focused to businesses so they have a more effective experience on social. One of the best features that HootSuite is well known for is scheduling.

HubSpot

HubSpot need no more introduction, I have already used the HubSpot report in my post. HubSpot is an inbound marketing software gives you one-stop tools from multi-channel analytics to blogging, SEO and social media tools, and marketing automation. Helping you earn quality leads and retain customers by creating marketing that people love.

Sharethrough

The future of marketing is content and not ads. Sharethrough is Google AdWords for video, optimised for sharethrough rates and not clickthrough unlike Adwords. Guarantees views and
maximises sharing of your branded videos. Visuals and videos have always created more impact on customers rather than display ads, this is what Sharethrough is all about, it makes your brand videos seen and shared.

Along with these tools, there are more branding and marketing tools online which can effectively rise your reach among the customers. With social web, the world is very small, increase your reach and amplify.  Signing off  for today !! hope the post is useful.

Categories: Social, techbuzz Tags:

Check User Authorization for Package VRC – #Baan #undocumented #in

January 19, 2012 1 comment

What will you do to check the authorization of a user for particular package VRC, PROGRAMMATICALLY?

Don’t need to scratch your head, there is a dll available in ERP LN for the same. Here it goes

DLL

ttcmt.dll0005

DLL Function

long ttcmt.dll0005.authorization.for.packages   ( ref domain ttadv.cpac i.cpac() fixed,   
                                                      domain ttadv.vers i.vers, 
                                                      domain ttadv.rele i.rele, 
                                                      domain ttadv.cust i.cust, 
                                                  ref domain ttadv.cpac error.cpac )

This Function to check whether user is authorized for packages of a given vrc. It takes an array with packages, version, release, customer as input parameters and returns “true” is user is authorized.

Categories: BaaN, Infor Tags: ,

What’s your choice, while upgrading your ERP System ?

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Categories: BaaN, ERP, Infor Tags: , ,

Bringing colors to #Baan #Reports in Display browser #in

January 16, 2012 2 comments

“Can I get a color indicator on my Baan reports, its difficult for me to analyse huge data ?”, well that was one of my user at client site, very eager to know whether its possible. He had complaints about Baan Consultants, always turning off when it comes to colors in Baan.

Genuine!! his requirement was very much genuine. When there is so much hype in analytics, with tons of BI products coming up with beautiful visual reports, why is Baan lagging so behind and can’t even get some colors in its display browser ?

Well thats not true, Baan can show colorful reports. Haa!! I agree that the display browser is not so funky like genx reporting tools, but its not limited to black & white.

Surprised!! not many have used fg$

Here is what help says:

string fg$( long color )
Use this to set the foreground color of text, starting at the current cursor position.

The color argument can have the following values:
CW.BLACK CW.BLUE CW.GREEN CW.CYAN
CW.RED CW.MAGENTA CW.YELLOW CW.WHITE

It worked for me, my user was happy to see colors in their black & white reports

All you need to do is, add a variable of type string with length 2 in the report layout and assign the desired color conditionally. Whatever part you wanna display in desired color, simply enclose the part within this variable.

declaration:
	extern	domain	tcmcs.str2	color.strip

before.program:
	color.strip = fg$(CW.WHITE)

detail.1:
before.layout:
color.strip = " "
color.strip = fg$(CW.WHITE)
if VALID_PUR_PRICE then
	color.strip = fg$(CW.RED)
else
	color.strip = fg$(CW.GREEN)
endif

If there not a need for a color indicator conditionally, then there is even more simpler solution.

Here’s the report screenshot

Now my clients have intelligent demands :-), instead of colored text now they want highlights, well that simple too. Tick the reverse option.

Alternatively you can use bg$() for highlights
Lets see what help says about bg$()

string bg$( long color )

Use this to set the background color of the current window. The color argument can have the following values:

CW.BLACK CW.BLUE CW.GREEN CW.CYAN
CW.RED CW.MAGENTA CW.YELLOW CW.WHITE

Categories: BaaN, Infor Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: