Infor's Roadmap from SX.e to CloudSuite Distribution
SX.e was designed specifically for midmarket companies in the wholesale distribution industry, meeting financial, inventory management, sales, warehouse management requirements, and more, making it an important product for small to medium distributors around the world.
In the late 1970s, Infor SX.e debuted as GAP. However, it was rewritten and moved into a product called Trend as a character-based application and later was named SX Enterprise in 1989. As technology progressed, the product went through many iterations, moving from character-based to a graphical application in the late 90s then to a web application, and finally landing in the cloud with Infor in 2016. Despite these changes to better the system through major interface updates and the continuing enhancement of the application, SX.e remained the same on-premises ERP at its core. Now, Infor offers the cloud version of SX.e, called CloudSuite Distribution (CSD). But should legacy SX.e users automatically make the leap into CSD?
What is the Road Ahead for SX.e?
Customers can no longer deploy SX.e on-premises through Infor. If a customer wants to purchase the SX.e product, they will need to buy CloudSuite Distribution and deploy it in the cloud. Therefore, it appears SX.e does not have a future roadmap with Infor.
But what does that mean for customers currently on legacy versions of SX.e who need to move forward? SX.e will continue to receive support for many years to come, but remaining on a legacy product does put businesses at greater risk, as well as limit their ability to expand and adapt to future trends.
Many customers may not want to upgrade to CloudSuite Distribution. In that case, there are options for these businesses to ensure the viability of their system until the time comes to replace SX.e or upgrade to the cloud product. Some customers have access to SX Architect through partners, enabling them to go into the system and do their own invasive modifications. Others can easily access Infor’s extensive network of partners and developers to build customized functionality and enhance the ERP on-premises.
The next option for SX.e users is to evaluate the deployment of a hybrid model through the implementation of other Infor systems, such as Infor Operating Services (OS), Infor’s core technology platform. This allows for customers to remain on SX.e but deploy a cloud system to slowly work toward the upgrade. Unfortunately, only customers who are on the latest versions of SX.e can consider this path because older versions of SX.e are not sophisticated enough to effectively deploy in a hybrid model. Those who are able to apply this deployment should be aware that this is not a true cloud deployment, and thus, Infor will be unable to support certain aspects of the system (each system varies so this should be discussed with your Infor team or implementation partner).
The final option would be to either upgrade to CloudSuite Distribution or evaluate other solutions available on the market. Either way, the transformation to CloudSuite Distribution from SX.e is significant enough to be treated and executed as a brand-new ERP implementation, not just an upgrade. As independent ERP selection consultants, we recommend conducting a full needs analysis to identify your business requirements prior to deciding firmly on any solution. Without understanding your needs, you cannot identify the right solutions for your business; those needs may have also changed drastically since implementing your legacy ERP. That analysis will paint a clear picture of the solution your business needs and will allow you to evaluate only the most viable solutions, saving both time and money.
Maintenance Policies for SX.e
As an on-premises product, SX.e falls under Infor’s General Lifecycle Policy. The first rule is easy, as Mainstream Maintenance supports the most recent version of SX.e. Users can then benchmark off the current version and go back two years to identify the current version supported under Extended Maintenance1. All older versions beyond the two mentioned above would then fall under Sustaining Maintenance. Infor offers the same feature functionality support for SX.e regardless of support tier, but not all versions will receive updates or hotfixes and Infor has stated that they cannot make recent, new upgrades to CloudSuite Distribution work for the on-premises version of SX.e. If you are concerned, you can find the specific policy your version is under by talking to your Infor representative.
It is important to note that eventually, all legacy ERP products will reach the end of support; however, that path for SX.e has not yet been determined, nor is it anywhere in sight. Infor aims to incentivize customers to eventually make the move to the cloud, but their goal is to prove the value of that path to customers, not force an upgrade. Therefore, legacy SX.e customers can expect support for many years to come but this does not come without risks.
CloudSuite Distribution2 Migration Tools
For customers who are upgrading from SX.e on-premises to CloudSuite Distribution in the cloud, Infor has a number of resources to ease those efforts and encourage ERP implementation success.
Infor offers customers access to their data migration factory to simplify the process. With Infor data experts on call, customers can more easily transform their data to quickly upload it into the new system. However, Infor still recommends careful data cleansing and planning prior to moving the data to ensure that data migration best practices are met.
Like many other vendors, Infor has also built an extensive partner network to provide support and options to customers for creating hybrid models or fully implementing CloudSuite Distribution. These are great resources for customers stumped by the process and in need of guidance through their potential upgrade.
It can be menacing to confront the need for a new ERP, especially when your business has relied on its current legacy ERP and user base for so long. Fortunately for SX.e customers, Infor plans to continue to support the product but they must still consider what will be in the best interest of their business. Identify your needs for an ERP upgrade by contacting an expert ERP selection consultant for a free consultation.
1For clarity purposes, Infor labels their products by the month and year they were released. For example, SX.e version 21.8 was released in August of 2021. So, two years prior to this version would be 19.X.
2Very basically put, CloudSuite Distribution is the go-forward, cloud version of SX.e that offers additional support and features like Infor OS, AWS, and support in the cloud. CloudSuite Distribution is considered a solution suite, not an ERP. With ERP as the centerpiece, it offers a suite of solutions for customers to implement functionality and then use the extensibility toolset to extend functionality and ultimately become upgrade-safe.