Infor aims at global ERP deployments with new Local.ly platform

The ERP vendor is also rolling out a new version of its Workspace user interface

Infor is planning to release a new platform called Local.ly that will allow customers of its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to provide country-specific statutory reporting and accounting in a manner that will survive future upgrades to the core application, the company announced Monday during its Inforum conference in Denver.

Local.ly will use Infor's ION middleware to pull needed information from ERP systems and then store them in a centralized store called Business Vault, meaning localizations won't break upon an upgrade, according to the vendor.

In general, localizing ERP software has been expensive, tedious and even risky for companies and as a result, many hold off on upgrading their applications in order to avoid the headache of recoding localized content, Infor CEO Charles Phillips said in an interview before the event.

"We want to take that out of the customer and make it a productized service," he said. "It's a complex, gnarly area."

Major countries will be completed by June and additional ones will be added each month, he said. Ultimately, Local.ly should have coverage for 40 to 50 countries, according to Phillips.

Infor plans to offer Local.ly as a cloud service as well as an on-premises managed appliance.

Other components planned for use in Local.ly include a communication engine from Lawson M3 Enterprise that allows the application to exchange information with banks and regulators, as well as a tax engine from Infor10 ERP Enterprise, according to a statement. Still to be built is a "global financial controller" for handling accounting in multiple countries.

Also Monday, Infor plans to announce an upgrade to its Workspace user interface. Workspace is following the general trend of late in enterprise applications to embrace social media-like communication and collaboration tools.

The interface has echoes of Facebook, Twitter and other social services, allowing business users to build personal profiles and groups, share information with co-workers and view data pulled from Infor and non-Infor applications. Users get information relevant to their jobs, such as the status of a particular invoice or shipment.

"People are used to kind of hunting and pecking and going to multiple applications for information," Phillips said. "That's not going to go away overnight, the different applications, but we can extend a social umbrella over all of that."

Business Vault plays a role here as well, serving once again as a loosely coupled repository for business documents that move through the Workspace system. It also serves as an archive for the "social conversations" conducted in Workspace, Infor said.

Overall, Workspace's features are geared toward appealing to younger workers as well as helping more experienced ones share the troves of information they possess, according to Infor.

Infor is expecting about 4,000 people to attend Inforum, according to Phillips.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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