ARC Advisory Group says Infor is a leader of 'the current paradigms for mobility, social, search, and analytics in enterprise software.'
ARC Advisory Group research director Ralph Rio participated in the recent Innovation Summit for analysts at Infor's New York headquarters, and he reports his findings in a March 14 post titled "Infor Investments Start Yielding Returns."
Here are some excerpts:
'During the prior year, Infor added more than 600 new developers dedicated to delivering deep, industry-specific processes. Preceding this, a new executive team was put in place. So with improved cash flow, engineering investments, and energized executives in place, what happened?
"Micro-industries" Provide Differentiation and Growth
'Infor made what could have been a disadvantage into a benefit. The various Infor applications have been rationalized and focused by "micro-industry." For example, rather than just targeting the broad "food & beverage" industry, the company is targeting specific applications in dairy plants, breweries, bakeries, meat processing plants, and others. Infor targets 21 general industry sectors with 2,151 of these micro industries. ARC sees a benefit in which Infor's micro-industry strategy should lower the cost of sales, with micro-industry lead qualification resulting in a higher win rate.
Infor's Not Alone - ION for Integration
'ION is Infor's middleware for application integration. Infor acquired 42 companies since 2002, with a multitude of applications requiring integration. Also, Infor recognizes that its customers have other applications. For example, ION has adapters to SAP and Oracle applications. Infor built its approach upon XML and OAGIS; with designs based on the Internet and event management, which are simpler to manage and integrate. …
'The company positions ION as a 'borderless information bus' supporting on-premise, Infor Cloud, third-party cloud (SalesForce), and hybrid configurations. It has a flexible execution model that runs centrally (business vault), loosely coupled, or peer-to-peer (distributed execution).
"Hook & Loop" Internal Design Center
'Infor strongly believes it needs to apply more attention to the software's user interface and graphics design. One of the reasons for locating in New York City was to obtain access to talented design people. To obtain deeper synergies, Infor chose to create its own internal design center, named "Hook & Loop. … For software design, Hook & Loop focuses on graduated sets of user needs: functional (useful), reliable, usable, convenient, pleasurable, and meaningful. It views "pleasurable" and "meaningful" as its differentiators. Infor positions Hook & Loop as a competitive differentiator.
Key takeaways include:
- 'Infor's strategy to serve targeted micro-industries should lower cost-of-sales and yield higher win rates
- 'Infor's internal design organization provides innovative approaches to user interface design that are consistent with current paradigms for mobility, social, search, and analytics
- 'ION, Infor's integration middleware, provides a "borderless information bus" for integration among its own applications as well as between Infor and third-party applications
'Positive results are starting to occur with improved products and new customer wins. … Infor is among the leaders' fostering '… the current paradigms for mobility, social, search, and analytics in enterprise software.'
ARC Advisory Group: "Infor Investments Start Yielding Returns," Ralph Rio, March 14, 2013.