Infor SyteLine Review

    1/16/19 10:00 AM

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    CSI Review

    What is Infor SyteLine enterprise resource planning (ERP) software?

    Infor SyteLine (recently rebranded as Infor CloudSuite Industrial or CSI) ERP software is Infor’s ERP offering for small and medium-sized manufacturers and distributors. For more than 30 years, SyteLine has been used by manufacturing-centric companies for managing their business activities. SyteLine scales from as small as a 15-user single site up to hundreds of users across multiple sites, divisions, and multiple companies.

    What types of companies use SyteLine?

    Infor SyteLine ERP software was developed primarily for manufacturing companies. Its functionality addresses all the various modes of manufacturing, including but not limited to make-to-order, configure-to-order, make-to-stock, engineer-to-order, built-to-print, and mixed mode.

    We have found that SyteLine is especially strong in configure-to-order environments due to its tight integration with the Infor Configure Price Quote (CPQ)  solution. The Infor CPQ tool is not only useful for configuring product, but also in cases involving complex quoting and pricing formulas. Infor CPQ combined with Infor SyteLine is a popular combination for SMBs looking at ERP software.

    Deployment options for Infor SyteLine ERP

    A key area for review is deployment options, including on-premise and cloud deployment. The SyteLine ERP solution can be deployed in whatever fashion is preferable to the company—as SyteLine cloud, on premise, or hosted (private cloud).

    The fact that SyteLine is written with .Net code and uses the Infor Mongoose platform means that it can be offered as a browser-based solution, whether on-premise or in a SaaS deployment using the industry-leading Amazon Web Services.

    The thin client orientation of SyteLine allows it to be device agnostic—a feature we have found to be very popular for end users with increasing attention to providing ERP functional access on mobile devices.

    Infor SyteLine has all the boxes checked when it comes to giving users access to the system.

    SyteLine and the Infor OS

    The Infor strategy of developing common applications that extend to vertically focused ERP solutions has streamlined the SyteLine integration with the Infor OS. Applications included in the Infor OS include:

    • Infor home pages and social collaboration tools. Infor leverages the home pages and collaboration tools to ensure the best possible user experience. The Infor home pages consist of “widgets” that let users personalize the home page, leveraging the Mongoose toolset. Widgets are a combination of smaller pre-built Mongoose forms or user built. There can be up 15 widgets presented on a home page at one time. A home page is where a user personalizes with specific information and links to forms, reports, graphics, and drill downs to relevant information that assists them in performing their job function. Additionally, Infor has invested in providing users with the option to communicate in a collaborative format where they can follow business objects, see updates, and send approvals, in a chat style contextual environment.
    • Infor Document Management is included in the Infor OS. Infor has leveraged its tool as the document management system for SyteLine.
    • Infor’s Birst Business Intelligence is also included, as well as pre-built business intelligence content that is ready to go, versus traditional offerings that come with a blank pallet.
    • A near-term goal is to roll out Infor Coleman AI (Artificial Intelligence) with the vision of providing a conversational user interface, in addition to traditional key stroke interaction.

    All these applications within the Infor OS are accessible on mobile devices in a native format. Infor’s Mongoose framework provides the foundation for numerous mobile applications.

    Looking at the entire Infor ecosystem, it’s hard not to appreciate Infor’s emphasis on the user experience and functionality.

    Related: Infor ERP: Everything You Need To Know

    What’s included in the Infor SyteLine ERP software package?

    Our review finds that the SyteLine functional footprint is larger than that of most ERPs. Infor has chosen an all-inclusive approach, versus the modular a la carte methodology of other ERP providers. Infor SyteLine's on-premise bundle has most everything a company needs to run smoothly, as Infor is doing what it can to make the SaaS offering as attractive as possible. Ultimately, SyteLine provides users with the ability to manage their business from sales opportunities to cash collection on orders… and with plenty of room to expand as business requirements dictate new needs.

    Also of note is that relative to other ERPs, Infor requires very few third-party tools. This is an area often overlooked when comparing and reviewing ERP systems.

    Some leading ERPs require many third-party applications to deliver an all-encompassing solution. Relying on third-party solutions is fine in some cases, but oftentimes it requires third-party or nonaffiliated professional services groups to work together and coordinate activities, which can make both implementation and ongoing support difficult. I've seen one too many “break-ups” between primary ERP providers and third-party suppliers. A great example was when Fourth Shift and SAP teamed up to provide a manufacturing solution using SAP Business One. Ultimately, Infor acquired Soft Brands and Fourth Shift, and those who had purchased that third-party combination were left in an unfortunate situation.

    Last but not least, there are issues when the third-party products are required but don’t have development paths. The lack of development coordination can result with non-compatible products, rendering the third-party product useless with the newer ERP version.

    Watch the Cloudsuite Industrial (Syteline) demo gallery

     

    Infor SyteLine ERP software: On-premise offering

    The core SyteLine modules include:  

    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    • Estimating
    • Customer Order Entry
    • Workbench Suite
    • Multi-Company and Multi-Site Operations
    • Projects
    • Inventory Management
    • Shipping Management
    • Material Planning
    • Shipping and Receiving
    • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
    • Engineering and Master Data Management
    • Engineering Change Notice (ECN)
    • Lot and Serial Trace
    • Outside Process Management
    • Production Scheduling
    • Point of Sale
    • Return Material Authorization (RMA)
    • Accounting
    • Financial Reporting
    • Fixed Assets
    • HR (Human Resources)

    Additional nice-to-have functionality includes interoperability with Microsoft Office tools: email and task integration with Outlook, exporting and importing spreadsheets to Excel, financial reporting with Excel add-in (which provides for pulling ERP data directly into Excel), and the ability to do reporting on premise using Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

    Infor has provided a healthy offering of optional modules as well. A sample of some of the most commonly used optional modules are:

    Factory Track for time and attendance, labor collection and shop floor execution, and material handling, including barcoding. Infor leverages its use of the Mongoose toolset in the Factory Track application allowing for the use of multiple mobile devices in a user-friendly environment with an attractive user interface.

    • SyteLine Quality Management Suite is for those concerned with certification and compliance. Highlights include incoming inspection, production inspection along with NCM and CAR, calibration, and supplier quality performance. (Included in core package with cloud subscription.)
    • Advanced Planning and Scheduling has multiple scheduling options, including Capable-to-Promise (CTP) and backward finite scheduling. It includes multiple what-if scheduling options and easy identification of resource and material constraints that could affect completion dates. (Included in core package with cloud subscription.)
    • Infor SyteLine Service Management is a highly functional service management module compared to other ERP standard offerings. It makes it easy to service customers after the sale, which has become an integral and profitable activity for many companies. The ability for the SyteLine users to provide service contracts, maintenance, and repair both internally and with mobile technicians allows SyteLine users to be more competitive. (Included in core package with cloud subscription.)
    • Infor Campus is a virtual training offering available by subscription. Subscribers get access to live classes, recorded classes, and workbooks with detailed SyteLine curriculums. There are over 600 classes available on SyteLine. Positioned as an industry leader, Infor has the resources to provide SyteLine users with comprehensive information about the product.

    Infor Syteline ERP Software: Cloud

    The SyteLine (CSI) cloud bundle with a SaaS deployment includes all the basic modules previously mentioned that come standard with the on-premise offering, plus a lot more; the only “nice-to-have” functionality optional module that may be required is Factory Track. Our Infor SyteLine review finds the SyteLine cloud bundle to be one of the most comprehensive offerings available in the SMB market.

    The Infor SyteLine SaaS offering includes the core offering plus modules not included in the on-premise package, including the Infor OS, Infor Implementation Accelerators, Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Service Management, and Quality.

    Infor has also added industry packs as part of the core offering at no additional charge with the SyteLine SaaS bundle. Industry packs included are Printing and Packaging, Automotive, Process, and Molding packs.

    Extensible products for Infor SyteLine ERP

    Infor makes it easy to extend functional capabilities outside traditional ERP boundaries with Infor ION middleware. Infor ION is the Infor Intelligent Open Network. It is Infor’s middleware which allows for integration with the other Infor products and Infor SyteLine ERP. Because of ION, SyteLine customers can fulfill business requirements using other Infor products without having to use third-party software.

    • Infor Configure Price Quote (CPQ) is a powerful configurator and pricing application for configure-to-order manufacturers. CPQ is also great for manufacturers with complex pricing, as well as manufacturers that depend heavily on dealers and manufacturer’s reps. CPQ and Enterprise Quoting will allow you to extend the ability for dealers to do their own configured quotes and bill of materials and routings. To learn more about Infor CPQ please visit Benefits of CPQ.
    • Infor CRM is for companies with demanding sales management and customer interaction requirements.
    • Infor Product Lifecycle Management for companies that have stringent engineering requirements and want to integrate the engineering activities with SyteLine ERP.
    • Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is a market leading EAM solution for those companies who want to take equipment and asset maintenance to the next level.

    Infor SyteLine review summary

    Infor provides ERP solutions to help assemble-to-order manufacturers manage orders, ensure material availability, achieve on-time delivery, and operate within expected costs. This is achieved with a pure Infor solution, devoid of third-party products and available either on-premise or in a true cloud offering.

    We think SyteLine is an ERP solution that should definitely be considered when evaluating new software. The broad range of functionality and the manufacturing-industry focus have positioned SyteLine as one of the top three ERP solutions for manufacturing businesses.

    The Infor plan and execution of providing industry-specific ERP solutions such as SyteLine, the option of using integrated Infor applications—all tied with the Xi Platform and user interface—is a powerful combination. And users can take advantage of all of the above using their deployment method of choice. In our view, that’s why Infor SyteLine ERP is so effective in helping companies perform—and why it’s so widely accepted in the marketplace.

    For more information

    Visual South specializes in Infor ERP software, supporting services, and business solutions. For more information on how an Infor ERP software system can help your business, visit the Infor ERP Solutions page our website.

    Visual South offers guidance on all things ERP for small to medium-sized manufacturers and production companies. We are also more than happy to provide a free consultation about managing your ERP implementation, evaluating ERP, or just wanting to get better with your current ERP. Please reach out to us for a free assessment.

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    Topics: ERP selection

    Tim O'Brien

    Written by Tim O'Brien

    Tim has over 20 years of successful experience helping companies improve their processes and operations using enterprise software solutions. Those enterprise solutions include Enterprise Resource Planning for manufacturers, Service Management for service oriented companies, and Enterprise Asset Management in the process manufacturing industry.