Unlocking the potential of the Infor Multi-tenant Cloud Environment.
Feb 02 2020
The Multi-tenant Cloud environment is providing untold opportunity for business. Apart from the oft-stated benefits of cost-reduction, flexibility, scalability and security, and no more upgrades, the Infor Multi-tenant Cloud environment offers a powerful platform which can unify your business applications and give deeper functionality. ComActivity have pioneered the unlocking of this potential of this platform with a comprehensive migration of an on-premise implementation of Infor M3 to a multi-tentant environment.
Our tech team leader, Akash Agrawal, provided great insights into the Multi-tenant Cloud.
But first, Cloud Basics
(Skip this section if you are up with all things cloud)
We asked Akash for some Cloud Basics – “Put very simply, most applications follow three tier architecture – the user interface, the application layer, and the database layer, where all the records are stored. For ERPs in a traditional full on-premise solution, all these elements are stored in close proximity on your own servers.”
He continues, “A few years ago, it goes without saying, the world started to transition to cloud. If your software is on the cloud, you are a “tenant” of that cloud. If your ERP and supporting infrastructure are not shared by any other companies, you are on a single-tenant or private cloud. Put simply, a single tenant cloud is your on-premise solution hosted in another location.
If your ERP and supporting infrastructure is supporting many companies, but your data is isolated and invisible to those companies, you are on a multi-tenant cloud, and this is where the real benefits, efficiencies, and cost savings of cloud kick in.”
As Akash explains, “As businesses start moving to cloud, hybrid cloud implementations started to appear, where the interface and the ERP may have been stored in the cloud, but your own inhouse applications were stored on your local servers. The advantages here were that it removed the requirement for major inhouse infrastructure and reporting, however, it didn’t deliver the full benefits of a true cloud implementation because your solution was spread across multiple servers – your own and externally hosted servers. A key issue is latency – the time delay as communication takes place between your local solutions and the cloud solutions.”
A true multi-tenant environment
According to Akash “Whilst a hybrid cloud architecture may still be suitable for some organisations for various reasons, an ideal ERP cloud situation is where your custom applications that depend on ERP data is co-located in the same cloud environment that hosts your ERP. This removes the requirement for internal infrastructure from those applications, removes latency because it’s all within the same environment, and you can access the ERP data because it’s in the same network. It gives you more flexibility and reduces cost.
Infor have provided just such an environment within their multi-tenant cloud offering which include several extensibility options. One of the tools that Infor leverages is Mongoose – which is a powerful extensibility platform for when you want to develop stand-alone custom application – for example a Claims Management System.
Within Infor Operation Service (Infor OS), you already have all the applications – Infor M3, Infor Document Management, Infor Enterprise Collaborator (the integration tool). With iInfor Mongoose you can add your own custom-developed applications, under that same Infor OS umbrella.”
What this means for your users
We asked Akash what this means for business users on a day-to-day basis. He responds, “For business users this means that they don’t need to log onto separate applications, they will use a single sign on and switch seamlessly between applications. Data can be processed back and forth between Infor M3 and your custom-developed business applications that sit on the Mongoose platform.”
Pioneering the Multitenant Capabilities/ Unlocking the Benefits of Infor Multitenant Cloud
Akash is very proud of the work his team in this area. “ComActivity have been at the forefront of utilising this leading-edge cloud-based platform, and we have been among the first to leverage the opportunities of Infor Mongoose for customers.
In one recent project, we moved a large distribution customer from an on-premise Infor M3 implementation to one of the first Infor fully multi-tenant solutions in the world. During this migration we achieved some pioneering leveraging of the Mongoose platform.”
Akash describes a couple of real-world use cases.
Use Case 1 – Integrating the Customer’s Claim Management System
“Prior to this migration, we had already developed an on-premise claim management system for the customer. This solution already had good connectivity with the Infor document management (IDM) and other M3 features. For example, the customer could easily upload a document from their claim management system to the IDM repository. The challenge was how to achieve like-for-like functionality for the entire application when it moved from an on-premise environment to a multi-tenant cloud environment.
Users were able to sign onto the Infor system home page and navigate seamlessly between Infor applications and their own custom solutions (shown in red below)
We also provided heavy drill-back functionality across applications. For example, users can now click through directly between claims and associated documents in IDM. Even though these are native features between Infor M3 and Infor IDM, we were able to seamlessly extend these to the customer’s CMS.”
Use Case 2 – Enhanced Reporting
“The customer had built an internal application that generated some complex General Ledger transaction reporting that didn’t sit natively within M3. The on-premise solution was based on a number of tables with complex technical connections. We leveraged the Mongoose platform to deal with the heavy logic.
The users can now access more seamless functionality, and a better user experience in the interface – for example: suggested autofill, drop down from fields, remembering last selection. When it comes time to generate the report, the user can view it first on the screen, hide or show columns and then export to excel.
Another method of enhanced reporting we used was context apps connected to M3 functions. Users can view more details about M3 transaction currently selected by checking the context app area. This leverages the same set of data hosted in the Mongoose platform.”
Below is a standard M3 function with context app data displayed through Mongoose.
Unlocking the potential of Infor’s Multi-tenant Cloud
Akash summarises, “Utilising the Infor OS and Mongoose in the Infor Multi-tenant cloud environment will give more flexibility, and better experience for your users. Building in your own custom development in this environment will reduce costs. Mongoose is a “low-code” platform so it is faster and better-quality development in a quality architecture and best-standards. There are other extensibility tools which can be leveraged for other customisations in M3.
ComActivity has been one of the pioneers in unlocking the full potential of the Mongoose platform, which is jam-packed with opportunity for businesses who want to take advantage of the multi-tenant cloud environment.”
If you would like to learn more about Infor’s Multi-tenant Cloud we’d love to speak to you – get in touch.
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ComActivity Technical Team Leader
Akash has decades of technical experience, and is passionate about his team’s achievements. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org