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Digital transformation is having a direct impact on all manufacturing and distribution businesses. No matter how complex the supply chain is, organizations need to respond faster to change, reduce excess inventory, and cut costs. In this race, it’s a no-brainer that Infor® has been responsible for the success of hundreds of businesses worldwide. While being industry-specific right out of the box, Infor’s applications’ primary differentiators are its robust cloudready architecture and a creative approach to user experience. With business in about 164 countries around the world, Infor heavily depends on its vast partner network of 1500 companies to deliver value to its customers in numerous verticals and micro-verticals. This is where iStone makes its mark as the largest independent partner to Infor® M3 world-wide.
iStone manages the implementation, maintenance, and development of business and IT solutions with the purpose of mainstreaming and accelerating businesses. Designed for the medium to large national and global manufacturers and distributors, Infor M3 gives organizations the flexibility to manage mixed-mode and complex value chains. As the largest vendor for Infor M3, iStone excels in delivering unmatched user experience, industry-specific functionality, and flexible deployment options in a multi-company, multi-country, and multisite enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
A Future-Proof Solution for the Digital Age
In order to keep pace with accelerated change, organizations require an agile and modern ERP application that is flexible enough to manage both the opportunities and challenges they face today and tomorrow. Infor M3 uses a mix of latest technologies to provide an industry-leading user experience, powerful analytics and provides good practice industry-specific process support and functionality. In an introductory video for Infor, their CEO, Charles Phillips, explained how some of their best applications are based on the ideas that came from customers, and built based on various customizations and changing business needs. iStone, being an innovator at its core, is involved in Infor’s development of M3 and works continuously with their clients to improve the system. In addition to providing inputs for developing the Infor M3 solution, iStone chooses to work with the best third-party solutions on the market, which in turn, allows their clients to gain greater value and drive business excellence with their M3 investment. “With our cutting-edge expertise in integration and user experience, we create the conditions for continuous improvement and ability to customize business models into a constantly changing market,” says Markus Jakobson, iStone’s Group CEO and President.
Developed over years of working with some of the best companies in the world, Infor M3 and Infor M3 Cloud offer multi-functional capabilities combined with highly productive new technologies to support mobility and team collaboration.
The M3 solution is specially designed for medium to large national and global manufacturers, distributors, and after-sales service providers, helping them in providing industry-specific process support and functionality built on good practices, and an industry-leading user experience. In addition, iStone’s flexible deployment options and implementation accelerators result in a lower total cost of ownership and shorter time-to-value. Infor M3 utilizes the Infor OS technology platform that enables M3 to address every client’s business needs beyond a traditional ERP system. To ensure seamless deployment, iStone’s 350 certified M3 consultants worldwide have extensive experience and have built up expertise over the years across several different industries. iStone allows transforming a company’s ERP solution from a system of record to a system of engagement with rapid implementation of Infor M3. With Infor M3, people across the organization can connect to customer data and business processes in ways that best fit specific roles and tasks. Because M3 is information- and event-driven, it brings relevant insights and prioritized tasks to the end user. This enables the core ERP users to be able to be more prolific, with access to contextual knowledge relevant to the task at hand and the customer relationship, as well as improved capacity to prioritize workloads.
The Secret to Successful Implementation
iStone’s years of experience as an implementation partner has resulted in the development of a predictable implementation process, named iStep. iStep aligns three major work packages into the project methodology: identify and plan, define and establish, and execute and close.
With our cutting-edge expertise in Integration and user experience, we create the conditions for continuous improvement and ability to customize business models into a constantly changing market
Identify and plan: In this phase of iStep, iStone begins by analyzing the existing structure and the process of the client organization. The company then examines their IT infrastructure to determine an overall plan for the implementation project. This is where iStep reaches its first milestone.
Define and establish: iStone defines the technical installation procedures and sets a standard prototype solution (milestone 2). Once the prototype is decided, it is verified to check if it meets the exact needs of the client (milestone 3), which is followed by an acceptance test (milestone 4) that can confirm the approval of the prototype solution.
Execute and close: In the final phase of iStep, iStone establishes the perfect production environment, and carries out training sessions for the end users. Once the training is completed, the newly implemented system undergoes a full-scale testing (milestone 5) before the final ERP solution is commissioned (milestone 6).
Successful Upgrade for Expanding Retail-Chain
iStone’s prowess in extending the frontiers of benefits and knowledge of Infor M3 can be best explained with a with a client success story.
Jula is a SEK 5.4 billion company witnessing rapid expansion, with over 90 department stores across Sweden, Norway, and Poland. The company’s steady growth has led to the additional 50,000 m2 expansion of the previously 100,000 m2 warehouse primarily due to increased commodity flow. The company understood the importance of a modern platform that would work as a starting point for the continued expansion. An evaluation of various business systems was made before deciding to proceed with Infor M3, which Jula had used since the late 1990s. The fact that the “End of date” was closing in for the support of the version they were running, as well as the aging hardware, further motivated a decision to move on with the upgrade. Henrik Ljungdahl, CIO at Jula explains, “We found that no other system in the market would add value in a way that it could justify a change, so we decided to continue with M3.”
"In addition to providing inputs for developing the Infor M3 solution, iStone chooses to work with the best third-party solutions on the market, which in turn, allows clients to gain greater value and drive business excellence with their M3 investment"
Once the decision to continue with M3 was made, Jula selected iStone as the implementation partner, owing to iStone’s implementation method iStep and the fact that iStone offered alternative solutions for integration and electronic invoice management. Another crucial factor for choosing iStone was their migration tool, which enabled the experienced consultants to migrate 4.5 TB in a few critical hours.
The aim was to migrate data from all department stores and central warehouses in less than 6 hours, starting at 7 pm and finishing at 1 am. First, a large migration of data was made and following that delta-migrations were made during the critical period. Thanks to iStone’s commitment, the client experienced a smooth migration overnight. The new system was started with a big bang in all three markets at the same time, in all department stores at once, fully operational when the same stores opened in the morning. iStone not only displayed great commitment toward its partner but also proved the efficiency of its iStep methodology.
Having completed a decade of existence, iStone has gone from a small challenger to one of the leading Nordic partners for digitalization, supporting more than 100 companies in their digital development, from business systems to the latest within customer experience management and e-commerce. Needless to say, the company has been a leading torchbearer for Infor through its vast network of 350 consultants having more than two decades experience of Infor M3. The company has rooted its presence in 12 countries and has been noticing a steady growth year-over-year (YOY). “Thanks to our long-term strategy of building our core competencies and skills around key components for companies and organizations with a physical goods flow, we stand strong both as a long-term support and management partner as well as a fast-paced and agile player in digital commerce,” concludes Jakobson.