5 needs your technical documentation should address

Here at Nogalis we perform managed service for several dozen enterprise customers. Most of our customers are either using Lawson V10 on premise or Infor CloudSuite products in the cloud. Our customers vary in their level of complexity but they almost all have several custom interfaces that support the operation of their businesses. Most of these interfaces are built with IPA (Infor Process Automation) or with ION which are both Infor supported products. Here are some examples just to name a few:

  • Positive pay interfaces to banks
  • Invoice import interface
  • Vendor creation interface
  • Automated user provisioning
  • Employee benefits exports and imports
  • COBRA interface
  • Batch job automation
  • Invoice or Purchase Order Approval interfaces
  • Journal entry imports

And many more

Many of these interfaces were designed and developed years ago and have been modified several times since. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the documentation that was once made for them if any. In an upcoming webinar and subsequent article, I plan to discuss how to develop accurate, useful, and easy to maintain documentation. But in this article, I want to focus on the reasons why we need these documents because without knowing why we do something, we’re not likely to do it right. The reasons below serve as guidelines for our documentation:

Reason 1 – Supporting the interfaces. This is the primary reason for creating good documentation. The goal of the any documentation should be that anyone can read it from start to finish and be able to support the existing process when it breaks. Therefore, one of the first things we do for our new managed service customers is to create detailed documentation of all their interfaces on our DOCR documentation portal and give them access to it. You can see some examples here. What’s nice about storing these documents on a web portal is that there is a central place for keeping them updated that everyone can contribute to. For support reasons, we make sure that we have a troubleshooting and a recovery section in each of our interface documents.

Reason 2 – Updates and enhancements. We’re routinely asked to update and enhance existing interfaces. While we can dig through the entire code of the interface to find out what every piece does, it is always helpful if some documentation exists that has an overview of the different components of the interface.

Reason 3 – Change Control. As we make changes to interfaces over the years, it is important to document these changes for change control purposes. Having a web-based documentation portal makes it easy to do this as it is the only version of the document that exists, and it is always updated with the latest changes.

Reason 4 – Application upgrades. As we upgrade our large enterprise applications, we always must study the impact of the upgrade on any custom interfaces that we have. The only way to do this quickly is to review the documents and specifically focus on any sections focusing on dependencies, and general data flow. Having proper documentation during an upgrade process can make the difference between a 1 month upgrade and a 6 month upgrade.

Reason 5 – Training and new hires. We pride ourselves in our one-to-one client to resource ratio in our managed service group. That means that for every new managed service customer, we add at least one new member to our team. This new team member goes through a rigorous training that includes reviewing all existing client documentation. This is an indispensable tool for our team as well as any client newhires.

If you need help creating your interface documentation, or to subscribe to our DOCR documentation portal, please contact us here.

Infor Helps Forever New in Digital Transformation to Take the Lead

Infor recently partnered with Australian-based fashion and accessories brand Forever New to transform its supply chain and warehouse management operations in order to remain agile in a dynamic retail industry. Forever New will leverage Infor’s Supply Chain Execution (SCE) and Intelligence Open Network(ION) solutions across its warehouses and supply chain to help cater to demand across its channels including in-store, e-commerce and drop-ship for online marketplaces. SNS, a global supply chain alliance partner, will assist in implementing the solution and will help streamline Forever New’s warehouse management operations. This allows for dynamic order processing capability and enhanced stock optimization with voice-based operations, activity-based billing, labor management, better inventory visibility and accuracy. “Forever New’s desire to be an agile retail player is matched by Infor’s drive to deliver finely-tuned, industry-specific capabilities in the cloud. We are committed to helping this new-age dynamic retail leader carve out new markets by continued innovation, and supporting their growth and digital strategy,” said Helen Masters, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Infor Asia Pacific.


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Mattex Selects Infor CloudSuite for Digital Business Expansion

Infor recently announced that the Dubai-based carpet backing systems company Mattex Group has selected Infor solutions for the firm’s digital transformation journey. Mattex will adopt Infor CloudSuite to simplify complex processes, workflows, and systems. The firm will also adopt Birst Business Intelligence Solutions to improve reporting and take advantage of a modern, rich, end-to-end business intelligence suite in the cloud. As part of a global implementation of Infor CloudSuite HCM that includes the Middle East and North America, Mattex wants to improve operational efficiency and optimize their talent management process from recruitment to retirement. These solution will run on Infor OS technology that include ION™ and the Infor Ming.le™ user experience to boost efficiency and drive user productivity. Mattex chose Infor over Microsoft and SAP for its SaaS project because they are confident that Infor’s purpose-built, cloud-based solutions will help Mattex scale its operations for future growth.


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Infor Announces New Financial APIs in its Infor OS Platform

Infor recently announced new application programming interfaces (APIs) for Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management in the Infor ION API Gateway. These APIs can provide access to a variety of integration possibilities to mobile, cloud, web, and server-based applications for vertical industries which Infor serves. Well-designed open APIs provide the flexibility to be more agile, and help adapt to the changing needs of an organization, without compromising existing experiences. With the APIs now available as part of the Infor ION API Gateway, it can act as a key hub of the digital enterprise, providing access internally and externally to applicable web, mobile or server-based applications. This gateways aims to provide market-leading capabilities within finance and supply management, as well as serves as part of an end-to-end ecosystem of Infor and non-Infor solutions for the enterprise.


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Infor to enable to supply chain transformation at Vida Shoes

International shoe seller Vida is the newest of Infor’s partners for 2018. The retail shoe company will deploy Infor CloudSuite Fashion, offering access to industry specific analytics with critical metrics and key performance indicators to end-users through a unique user interface that utilizes Infor ION and Infor Ming.le. These enhancements support global value chains by allowing users to view real-time data in a fully integrated business solution. Additionally, the CloudSuite will deliver tools to bring products to market faster and finish faster – a few days compared to weeks (sometimes months) – linking every step in the product development process, helping to reduce errors, costs, and time. Infor’s collaboration tools will allow Vida communicate more effectively across the supply chain, and connect more closely to partners, while supplier self-service functionality will provide the teams with up-to-date real-time information.


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Infor Partners With LearnQuest To Help Empower Users Through Global Training Initiative

Infor recently announced a major agreement with global authorized training partner LearnQuest. LearnQuest will deliver public and private authorized training for all Infor clients in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. This engagement will help align Infor’s product depth, user experience, last mile functonality and scientific insights with the global IT training experience of LearnQuest. Initial focus will be on applications and platforms such as Infor ION, M3, Global HR, Public Sector Suite, Workforce Management and Human Capital Management (HCM), spanning numerous verticals, including aerospace and defense, automotive, fashion, healthcare, high tech electronics, industrial manufacturing and retail, among others. Jason Fox, VP Infor Education, says this partnership offers valuable training options and greater flexibility for Infor customers.


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Next Generation of Infor Customer Relationship Management Now Available

Infor recently announced the next generation of Infor Customer Relationship Management (CRM), featuring an intuitive user interface with Infor SoHo styling for the updated mobile application. The latest Infor CRM version 8.3 delivers pre-configured back office integration with multiple Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems via the Infor Intelligent Open Network (ION). Additionally, the new Infor Configure Price Quote (CPQ) integration will allow customers operating in the manufacturing and distribution industry to deliver one vision from order to delivery. Ultimately, with its new reconfigured layout, the smart design promotes user efficiency, greatly reducing the need for use training, and increases user confidence with its unified platform for social, mobile, and cloud.


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Infor’s President Duncan Angove Interview- Talks Strategy

As an application-focused company, Infor is determined to stay as consistent as it has in the past three years; since the  introduction of  its next generation of middleware known as “ION”.  “ION is the connectivity tissue that brings all of our applications together into these end-to-end suites, segmented by industry”. Other companies can compete with Infor; however, Infor’s President Duncan Angove states that, “We’ve got lots of different people, from eclectic backgrounds, who just think fundamentally differently about how you deliver experiences”. Although, there will always be heterogeneity in an IT environment and no one supplier has a monopoly on innovation; but as a private company Infor can be more aggressive. The adoption of the cloud is faster than expected especially in Europe.

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ProcessFlow (LPA, PFI)

How’d you like to learn to build a simple ProcessFlow in just 30 minutes? Join us for this webinar.
A brief overview of ProcessFlow. The presentation covers:

  • What is ProcessFlow?
  • Introduction to components and terminology
  • Building an actual flow
  • Implementation methodology
  • Troubleshooting

Lawson Custom Development

Whether you’re building a report or a 3rd party interface, there are many tools to choose from. Learn how to choose the right solution for the job.

The presentation covers:

  • Introduction to custom development
  • Different solutions
  • How to choose what tool to use
  • What other factors you should consider
  • QA