Infor's Standards-Based Strategy for Dominating the Enterprise

About Infor

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Infor is the third largest provider of enterprise resourceplanning (ERP) software behind SAP and Oracle with $2.8B in revenue and claims over 70,000 customers in 194 countries.  Infor has grown by acquisition and considers having "purpose built" industry-specific solutions a competitive advantage.  Now, with an executive level makeover in December 2010 and the recent acquisition of Lawson Software, they have a new strategy for dominating the ERP market.  

Recent Management Change

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Jim Schaper, former CEO, recruited Charles Phillips in late 2010 to lead Infor as CEO.  Schaper remains at Infor as Chairman.  Phillips was the former President and a board member of Oracle, where over his 7.5-year tenure the company experienced over 300% growth and acquired 70 companies.  Several other members of the  executive team at Infor also hail from Oracle:  Duncan Angrove, President; Stephan Scholl, President; Pam Murphy, COO; John Goedert, SVP Speed; and Chip Coyle, SVP Chief Marketing Officer.  Infor is clearly positioning itself to challenge Oracle and SAP in the marketplace.

New Growth

Infor is on a growth fast track.  They've added 1,700 employees within the last 15 months to bring the total employee count to 13,000. Among Infor's 70,000 corporate customers 2 million users are accessing Infor solutions in the cloud.  Infor has 9,000 developers, 600 of whom were added last year.  4,000 of those developers are working on new products.  1,500 partners help sell, deliver and support Infor solutions worldwide.

Most recently the acquisition of Lawson has brought additional customers, revenue and resources to the table.

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"Beauty as a Competence"

Re-architecting Infor's industry vertical solutions to provide a common user interface and underlying information interchange capability called "Infor 10" has been a major focus over the past two years.  In recognition of the fact that the personal internet experience has become the standard by which all applications are judged Infor engaged top designers to create a user interface for the next generation of enterprise users.  "Beauty as a competence" has become a catch phrase for Infor meaning that the user experience must be appealing, engaging and elegantly simple.  A beautiful common user interface for all Infor applications will ensure continuity of experience from departmental applications to enterprise applications and make the customer adoption of other Infor solutions to be a more natural choice.  External applications are integrated through application program interfaces and show up as applets off to the side of the main application in use and may be expanded or collapsed as required.

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Business Intelligence Built Into the Core

At the heart of Infor's new architecture is ION (Intelligent Open Network) which is an open standard based XML data base of information that can be shared within and across applications.  Infor understands that in order to expand their market penetration they must co-exist with competitive, home-grown, and third-party solutions.  With ION transactional data is published in real-time whenever a business transaction is conducted and that information can be consumed by other applications on-demand in order to bring together all the intelligence available across and outside the enterprise for faster, more informed decisions resulting in better business outcomes.  

Apps that Tweet

Infor has taken the concept of Twitter which information is shared by individuals and consumed by applications like Tweet Deck and turned it upside down by creating applications that tweet (called "Pulse") for consumption by users.  Imagine an application that collects all the information in the public social sphere and distills it down to what is being communicated about one of your vendors.  How might positive or negative experiences inform your decisions in dealing with vendors.  The same goes double for how your company is perceived in the social media.  

Mobility is the Future

The next generation of enterprise knowledge workers will expect to have the same access to business knowledge that they have to web resources, whether or not they are in the office, and rendered on-demand on their platform of choice.  They will expect to be able to be as productive when they are mobile as they can be when they are at work.  With Infor 10 Motion Infor is promising a next-generation world class mobile architecture with apps native to the device which enables leveraging gestures, location, voice, etc., all loosely coupled via ION, deployed and managed through the Cloud.  

Digital Designs as an Infor Partner

Digital Designs (DDI) has long been a provider of complementary document management and document-driven business process automation solutions for the Infinium line of Infor products.  Infor now offers DDI's Employee Document Portal as an add-on to Infinium's Employee Self Service solution so that users can not only manage payroll and HR data but also the individual documents created and collected by those departments.  DDI also offers Accounts Payable Invoice Workflow solutions to Infor users implemented in the enterprise or in the cloud.

What Infor 10 means to Infor partners like Digital Designs is that now we can offer our solutions in a more seamlessly integrated manner and easily extend those offerings across the entire family of Infor solutions and delivery channels.  A big part of Infor's new value proposition is that with the Infor 10 architecture when a new version of the enterprise solution is released interfaces to other information and applications don't break because of the loose coupling provided through ION.

We're looking forward to being able to raise our game and provide greater value to a much larger population of enterprise application users as a result of the Infor's outstanding new architecture.

Until next time,

John Queen