Infor d/EPM Review

The bigger the DB with accelerators the more unstable it is but it gives you enough options to implement BI processes.

Valuable Features

It is a reporting solutions built around an in-memory OLAP database. For me, the most valuable features are the import master and application studio. They give you enough options to implement decent BI processes even if you have to compromise sometimes.

The Import Master allows you to extract data from virtually any sources and the Application Studio which allows you to report on OLAP sources (Infor) or any SQL database. It has a system of user actions which can add another layer of business intelligence.

Improvements to My Organization

If you are using only spreadsheets and have to download your data from various sources then you will have to reconcile these to build reports that make sense, this product will improve your life. You will spend less time building your reports and more time analysing the potential issues and gaps.

Room for Improvement

The following features need to be improved -

  • The rule engine
  • Application studio web-server
  • The web-server, because it is still slow to load the reports which is why the designer has to simplify the reports that would work perfectly on the native application
  • The gap between the web-server and the native application is large enough to force the designer to only focus on one or the other to avoid disillusions.

The company itself needs to improve on the way they share the information on the product. If you Google anything related to Excel for example, you will find enough discussions, forums, help, tips which will help you become an expert on the subject. If you Google anything related to Infor BI ION, however, you will find virtually nothing. This especially evident as best practices are obscure (especially when the model requires a certain level of complication). I would think that the more resources out there would convince more users to use the product.

Use of Solution

I have been using it for the past four and a half years.

Deployment Issues

Each deployment is ad-hoc (very customized), the question here how much are you willing to compromise when complications will endanger performance.

Stability Issues

The bigger the database with accelerators the more unstable it is, but without accelerators the model would not run.

Scalability Issues

Yes, a complicated model may seem to be working perfectly in the design stage but when several users are connected at the same time, the real time simultaneous calculations can endanger the performance.

Customer Service and Technical Support

It depends on the module -

  • Application studio is top notch with Inforxtreme
  • OLAP server and office plus is average with Inforxtreme
  • Import master is low with Inforxtreme (but all you need with this is the documentation, if it is not in there nothing more will help you)

Previous Solutions

I previously used Excel. Even if after the first months Excel seemed more capable in terms of modelling (you can do virtually anything in Excel), in the end when your model is fully automated and an additional item or driver will not ruin your model the gain of productivity with INFOR BI is pretty decent.

Initial Setup

An install takes 20 minutes max (client side or server side).

Other Advice

Compromises are key. Remember that it is a budgeting and forecasting tool, so you can't have a complex model that is simple to use, easy to maintain and fast all at the same time.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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