Use Case: Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership of Infor Mods for Building Supplies Distributor

June 3, 2024
  • A building supply distributor used Infor's legacy ERP, SX.e, and Web UI, which were essential but outdated and hard to maintain.
  • Custom ERP modifications were costly and challenging, causing disruptions with version updates and increasing the total cost of ownership. Reliance on multiple vendors added complexity.
  • Partnering with ProfitOptics, the distributor streamlined operations and reduced custom mod reliance. ProfitOptics redeployed two mods with their SaaS tool, focusing on minimizing vendor use and improving system integration.
  • The partnership improved interoperability, user experience, and created a custom order portal, eliminating manual data entry. New features were added without disrupting core ERP functions, leading to reduced manual workflows, increased integration, a comprehensive operations view, fewer IT roadblocks, reliance on a single IT partner, and improved profitability.
  • ProfitOptics provides innovative solutions to overcome legacy ERP limitations, enhancing efficiency and reducing the total cost of ownership.

The Situation: 

A major building supply distributor faced some big technology issues at the heart of its busy business. It was on an instance of Infor, a long-standing and well-known ERP platform. One part of the business used SX.e, the legacy on-premises version of the platform—so old that new licenses are no longer being sold. However, the tool was still valuable for building complex pricing structures and managing inventory levels. The business also leveraged an Infor web interface called Web UI, an online overlay for SX.e.

But these legacy tools had limits.

The Problem: Legacy Infor ERP Customizations Hard to Maintain

Infor is known for its ability to customize the solution out of the box. Infor calls these modifications “mods,” and the building supply company had a few of these. Each mod took the baseline ERP and changed the source code and configurations to bend the software to fit company workflows. 

The problem is that once these mods are applied, you must maintain them. For a growing company, the total cost of ownership of customizations can feel like an anchor.

Some companies modify their ERP with hundreds of customizations, which is a challenge each time the ERP provider issues a version update. Each mod can cause disruption if the new core ERP instance begins breaking these workflows. It’s a common problem, and these challenges often force staff to employ workarounds. 

The story of what happened to this particular building supply company is a familiar one. 

Solutions: Reducing the Cost of Ownership of Legacy ERP

The building supply distributor approached ProfitOptics to improve the employee experience and make jobs easier and more efficient. The team started with undoing two Infor mods and redeploying them alongside the ERP. ProfitOptics’ purpose-built software as a service (SaaS) tool would streamline their experience and reduce the cost of ownership of their legacy tools.

One goal of this partnership was to reduce the company’s reliance on multiple external vendors. For example, they knew they could buy a three-way AP matching tool to replace one of the Infor mods they customized. But the company didn’t want to be a small fish in a big pond; they wanted a sole IT partner, not multiple tech vendors. 

ProfitOptics’ experience made us the perfect go-to. ProfitOptics can scale and flex its solution to fit the company's needs over the long haul. 

Another goal was to streamline the trading partner integrations they had built into their systems. For example, if the distributor sold custom windows or doors, they entered those specifications directly and manually in the manufacturer’s system. 

This data did not transfer into the distributor’s ERP, so the order went into a kind of limbo. When boxes of products arrived in the warehouse, there was that panicked moment of, “Who’s this order for?” Cutting, pasting, or translating information between different vendor systems was manual. 

Results: Winning with a Long-Term IT Partner

Over time, ProfitOptics has become a true partner to the distributor, creating interoperability between platforms and overlays that smoothed the rough edges of outdated user experiences.

Take the issue of the custom doors and windows. ProfitOptics created a standardized custom order portal that tracks manufacturer orders but translates them back into the distributor's ERP. The problem, ultimately, was communication between disparate platforms. ProfitOptics melded the siloed systems into a more unified whole. 

The custom overlays also added new features and functions that allowed for smoother workflows. These custom solutions don't directly affect the ERP source code; they run alongside your business's core engine—so disruptions from adding these tools are minimal if not non-existent.

The distributor experienced significant benefits from its partnership with ProfitOptics:

  • Improved the end-user experience with an easy-to-learn screen interface.
  • Eliminated the time sinks of manual workflows.
  • Increased interoperability between manufacturer and distributor.
  • Provided a 360-view of operations.
  • Removed the roadblocks that slowed employees down.
  • Reduced their reliance on multiple outside software vendors and created a “single source of truth” for future IT needs.
  • Added better interfaces without disrupting core business functions.
  • Saved money and increased profitability.

Is Your ERP Holding You Back?

ProfitOptics brings innovation to ERP. We are driven to find new and better ways to help our clients. When it comes to your IT team, no matter how able and expert they are, innovation is the first soldier to fall in the battle to keep the company running smoothly. If you’re strugg

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