Infor looks to raise profile, develops open SOA

The ERP market's silent giant is about to make more noise

Although Infor is one of the largest ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors in the world after SAP and Oracle, you might never know it from scanning the tech headlines.

The privately held company is looking to change that, and has set the stage with a string of product initiatives and executive changes. One key move occurred earlier this month, when Infor announced that veteran industry analyst Bruce Richardson would become its chief strategy officer.

Infor is "about to move to the next level," said Ray Wang, partner with the analyst firm Altimeter Group. "They're poised to do a lot more. They're making selective hires that are going to make a big difference."

Since it was formed in 2002, Infor has already grown quite rapidly through dozens of acquisitions, with a major one being SSA Global in 2006. It now reports having 8,000 employees, 70,000 customers, and more than US$2 billion in revenue.

Richardson's long tenure in the software industry means he has seen multiple boom-and-bust cycles -- experience that should help inform his advice to the company on future deals, Wang said.

His hiring represents "the last step in basically a transformation of the management team," said Infor's director of public relations, Robert Keosheyan, who is a new arrival as well. During the past 18 months, CEO Jim Schaper has made a string of high-level executive changes, Keosheyan said.

A key challenge for Infor moving forward is keeping its large and diverse customer base happy, while reducing overall development costs.

Infor's general policy has been that it will "not de-support a customer that's paying maintenance," said Forrester Research analyst Paul Hamerman. "That's a good strategy. On the other hand, they need to advance their portfolio and migrate their customers forward as much as possible."

Work is afoot on those fronts. Last year, Infor introduced Flex, a program meant to make it easier for customers to upgrade or switch to other Infor products.

It has also been developing a SOA (service-oriented architecture) platform called Open SOA. Infor's SOA platform is solid, but "they haven't necessarily used it to develop new products -- more to integrate them," Hamerman said.

"The company does need to have a long-term portfolio strategy in terms of the products," he added. "I see some areas of weakness there they need to shore up."

Infor has been strong in areas such as manufacturing and supply chain, but needs better technology for financials and human resources in order to have a cohesive ERP suite with appeal for multinational enterprises, Hamerman said.

Some of those capabilities could come through further acquisitions.

ERP vendors such as Lawson Software and Epicor, with revenues of roughly $750 million and $500 million, respectively, could be on Infor's target list, as well as smaller vertical players, Hamerman said.

Richardson is also expecting to help prepare Infor to go public. Infor investor Golden Gate Capital, has $9 billion under management, he noted.

"With big private equity companies, it's always about exit," he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags marketingSOAInforERP

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?