Infor is making a significant impact in the transformation of retail companies across the globe. Recent agreements with Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel and Chausport have seen Corey Tollefson’s team win some significant contracts.
Often forgotten are the Infor customers using older, legacy solutions that are not yet ready for the full Infor CloudSuite transformation treatment. This does not mean that they don’t want to improve their IT systems.
One such customer is Alphamega Supermarkets that recently upgraded its Infor System21 Aurora solution from version 2.4 to version 3.1. It was the first organisation to upgrade to the latest version. Based in Cyprus, Alphamega Supermarkets had 11 stores and more than 1200 employees in 2014. The retailer has stores across the island including Larnaca, Pathos and Nicosia.
The decision to move to 3.1 was no doubt also prompted by the end of support for Aurora 2.4 following its release. Alphamega uses the IBM System i platform and the software is deployed on-premises.
Change driven by benefits
Alphamega wanted to see the benefits that the upgrade could provide. Stelios Papaxanthos, Chief Financial Officer, Alphamega Supermarkets explains: “Our ethos is very much about keeping things simple. Infor System21 Aurora supports this sentiment through reducing complexity and allowing us to access information which can help us make decisions quickly based on live, easy to view insights.
“Its web-based connectivity means that we can integrate all of our key applications and access them in one place to understand where we are at any point, and its stability and robustness means that we always have confidence that our critical processes are in good hands.”
For Papaxanthos that simplicity is key. He added: “Our philosophy is One Time entry independent which Software app we use, thus The Aurora is integrated to all other software and applications that are used around the Aurora system.”
That simplicity and move towards automation was reflected in the smooth upgrade that was undertaken. Alphamega were assisted by Indigo Systems. It is a UK-based Infor partner with a long history of working with System 21. It has worked with Indigo Systems for more than 15 years. Papaxanthos described the company as friendly and said it helped plan the upgrade over the last few months in 2017.
While Papaxanthos is a proponent for single entry solutions, the architecture and the integrations that Alphamega has is complex. For example, Alphamega uses LS Retail for its POS Systems. Its Scale systems and Kiosks are outside of Aurora but integrate to it.
Outside of Aurora the company uses Microsoft OLAP and advanced in-house Business Intelligence tools on information drawn from multiple sources. Alphamega has also developed additional add-on applications to its Aurora solution using RPG. This includes basic retail functionality such as the replenishment of stores.
Infor System 21 Aurora is at the heart of Alphaomega’s systems. As Papaxanthos explains: ”Aurora is the ERP system where GL, AR, Cash Management, A/P, Sales Analysis, Forecasting, Inventory Purchasing, plus IWMS where the information is collected and processed.”
IWMS is the Indigo Realtime Warehouse Management Systems that is a complete supply chain execution solution for System21. It has 20 users of IWMS and another 20 concurrent user licenses for other Aurora applications.
With the company growing its locations by 50% in the last two years and adding two new warehouses the upgrade was a significant challenge. Papaxanthos clearly believes that Indigo systems did a good job. He commented: “Indigo and our own team worked together seamlessly, making decisions and resolving issues quickly and efficiently to deliver a hugely successful project, testament to which was that our users didn’t actually realize we were upgrading – they thought it was just a maintenance window.”
What does this mean
There is an alternative to pushing digital transformation through cloud technology and the complete replacement of systems. Alphamega has made a significant change to the way the business can be run through this upgrade. As Paul Smith, Project Manager, Indigo Software commented: “With Infor’s platform at the helm, it is primed to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by digitalization, with the insight to move forward in the best way possible.”
The new solution delivers several key benefits to Alphamega around connectivity, increased visibility, BI, analytics and reporting. As the company looks to expand further it has placed itself ready for market changes without the huge investment often needed to replace legacy systems.
This is not the end of the journey for Alphamega either. Papaxanthos commented: “In 2018 we plan to introduce IWMS a much bigger warehouse based on our experience now. That will help us a lot with our logistics in Cyprus and help us better face the competition.”