Having worked with SunSystems since 1989, I continue to be impressed and amazed at the loyalty this veteran financial management system continues to have. Infor recently announced that they had reached a centennial milestone, signing up 100 customers to their multi-tenant SunSystems in just one year, which is no mean feat in this current challenging economic climate. I suspect some born-in-the-cloud software authors and commentators may look at that statistic and think “so what?”. But if you think about it, this is a product that has been around since the late 80’s when we were using PCs and DOS, and whilst its contemporaries have fallen by the wayside Infor SunSystems is still very much with us, Alive & Kicking (love the Simple Minds), and by all accounts in rude health!
So, what is it about SunSystems and it’s timeless appeal to people like me, and its thousands of users? Is it that we yearn for the 1980s? Does it remind us of those carefree new romantic days, mullet hair cuts (not that I rocked that look) and one of the best decades for music? Or is it that it’s just a damn good financial management system (FMS) that’s stood the test of time? Below are my reasons why I think so.
I mean no disrespect to non-British brands but back in the day the best software on the market was made in the UK. Foreign entrants found it hard to fully anglicise their products and had difficulty with the nuances of UK tax. SunSystems, whilst now owned by US based Koch is still very much UK based and focused, with international functionality.
Cohort of Die-Hard Users
I know many people, within my own network and beyond, who have dedicated their entire careers to understanding and using SunSystems. Many of these people now occupy senior roles, including at Touchstone FMS, and as they move from one organisation to another will be the arbiters of change, strongly influencing the choice of a new FMS software.
Changed with the Times
To be around 40 years later, you must reinvent and innovate. There have been five technology waves over the past 50 years: mainframe and minicomputing, personal computers, client/server networks, enterprise computing, and now cloud. SunSystems has successfully surfed them all and not been wiped out.
SunSystems is the Strongest set of Financials in the Mid-Market
The unified or combined ledger was an innovative concept back in the day and 40 years on it is still quite rare. Having all of your financial data in one chart of accounts with a plethora of analysis dimensions which you can use to dice and slice it remains at the heart of SunSystems and its core strength.
Financial hub with easy integration
Building on the core set of Financials is the ability for SunSystems to act as a central data repository for financial transactions that originate in other operational systems but ultimately have an accounting impact. Key to this is the ability to import transactions from formats such as Excel, CSV files, XML or JSON.
Since the very beginning SunSystems was an application with international appeal, available in English, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic to name but a few. SunSystems ability to be deployed as either a centralised or local system with all the data pulled into one consolidated view made it the system of choice for many international financial institutions, hotel chains and NGO’s, and for many it still is.
People still like Excel
There is no getting away from the fact that all financial professionals like to work in Excel. Whilst specialist report writers such as Crystal, Cognos, IQ and others came along, they required specialist skills which you either did or didn’t have. Recognising this Vision, an Excel based reporting add-on was born in the form of Infor Q&A, which most users know, and love.
Robust & Reliable
Reliability is a key factor in the software selection process. Having worked with many organisations that sell and support business software, I have never known a piece of software that is as rock steady as SunSystems – it just works.
The success of a business shouldn’t be constrained by the software it uses. As a business grows, the software it uses should grow with it. Infor SunSystems supports organisations with a turnover of hundreds of millions and thousands of employees.
Strong worldwide channel
If you were to ask Andrew Newman (General Manager & VP of Infor SunSystems) why SunSystems is easy to sell and support across the world his answer would be ‘our channel partners’. To this day, SunSystems has one of the strongest network of partners that support users globally, with many collaborating to support a common customer.
So, there you have it my musing on why SunSystems continues to be successful 40 years on. As we enter the latest stage of it’s life journey as a SaaS application, I’d like to think SunSystems will appeal to a new cohort of users. Who knows maybe in a few years’ time a Millennial or GenZ will be adding their thoughts, to where this Baby Boomer left off…
To find out more about Infor SunSystems and how TouchstoneFMS can help your organisation implement the best-in-class financial management system in the UK, contact us by email at email@example.com or by phone on +44 (0)20 7121 4702.
David Singh is the General Manager and Infor Business Unit Director at Touchstone FMS as well as Co-Chairman of the SunSystems Product Advisory Board. Having worked in the ERP/FMS software sector for the last 40 years, David has a wealth of skills and experience in business systems and is also a qualified accountant. With several senior management and directorial positions under his belt including operations, project delivery, supports, sales, and marketing, he describes himself as a “bit of an all-rounder” and a huge fan of SunSystems.