With SunSystems 6.4 now in general release from Infor, it is time to consider what major benefits are available for existing SunSystems clients.

Infor has for many years provided ongoing support for a range of SunSystems versions. This has allowed clients to maximise their investment in the solution over extended time frames, but it can cause difficulty when assessing when and why to upgrade to the latest version.

Let’s have a look at the various top-level versions in use today:

SunSystems v4 (The current production release is v4.4.2)

Pros: A very well proven and self-contained system that operates on minimal IT infrastructure and demands little or no support and maintenance effort. Continues to be patched and upgraded with new features and Microsoft technology framework compliance.

Cons: It has been around a long time meaning an aging user interface, some operating limitations on modern technology platforms, and not integrated to the Infor Platform OS enterprise framework. The SunSystems v4 database structure is not normalised so has limited data referential integrity when compared to the SunSystems 6 version.

SunSystems v5 (The final version is v5.4)

Pros: Still covered under the support framework.

Cons: This version is effectively end-of-life, so there are no new patches or updates being released by Infor or Microsoft on the platform of Windows 2008 R2 and SQL 2008 R2. It is not kept compliant with future versions of Microsoft Windows and SQL Server and it is not possible to purchase additional user licences.

SunSystems v6 (v6.4 is the latest and greatest version)

Pros:  Significant step up in power and scalability from the original Sun v4 days, pretty much a complete re-visioning of the system driving ever more agility, flexibility, and control for companies with complex financial management requirements, multi-company operations, and multi-currency trading. It has a lightness and clarity in the user interface stemming from Infor’s in-house user experience and design team, Hook and Loop.

Cons: SunSystems itself and the broader Infor Platform OS framework demands much more computing power and hardware than v4 or v5 did.

What are the top-level drivers for upgrading to SunSystems v6.4?

User experience and usability – the screen designs and operation have been significantly revised to make using the system as pleasant as possible. With people more accustomed to using “apps” on smartphones and tablets that require little or no user training, Infor has a vision of enterprise grade software usability going the same way, and every new release take steps towards that goal using content feeds, visual triggers, and graphics to help people navigate rather than menus and options.

Integrated Document Management Repository – best practice financial management is underpinned by substantiating documents from many sources. The integrated document management repository lets you attach a PDF or other document to the exact transaction or reference data it relates to, and to easily find and view that document again at any time.

External web portal – a new module allowing secure access to SunSystems documents to allow additional stakeholders to engage electronically with the financial arm of the business. Think about getting your suppliers to load their own invoices and update their own details; your clients to access their own statements and order history; and your employees to access their expenses history. Imagine the reduction of queries into the finance team if external stakeholders could choose to serve themselves.

Automated master data management – for larger companies running multiple sites or business units the administration of managing common reference data between systems and entities is over. Now you can define a primary business unit for, say, your supplier register, and any moves/adds/changes/deletes applied to this primary will be automatically applied to any nominated secondary entities.

Intercompany Posting – now you can post intercompany transactions on the fly. Once you post transactions in the nominated journal type in the source business unit, the system automatically posts the corresponding transaction in the target business unit.

Procurement enhancement – new functionalities have been introduced to facilitate the procurement cycle within an organisation. Now approvers can have a focused view on the pending orders and invoices awaiting approval, hence they can be approved/rejected with one click. Also, delegation process made available if the approvers are out of office.

Database performance improvements – there has been significant changes in the underlying technology: SunSystems v6.4 is a 64-bit application now which led to a noticeable improvement in system performance.

Microsoft supportability and updates – clients on SunSystems v5 should be upgrading to SunSystems v6.4 to ensure they are running operating systems and SQL Server versions that receive the latest security updates from Microsoft.

Full Java JDK and Tomcat supportability and flexibility – clients on SunSystems versions 6.2, 6.1, or SunSystems 5 versions that want to ensure they can keep up to date with the latest Java JDK and Apache Tomcat, which is used by SunSystems, should upgrade to SunSystems v6.4.

Https encryption on SunSystems http functionality – clients on SunSystems versions 6.1 and Sun 6.2 should be upgrading to SunSystems v6.4 to enforce certificates and encryption on all http traffic, like SunSystems reporting and SunSystems Connect interfacing.

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