Productivity delivered: Infor to focus on efficient deployment and customer value
During a kick-off event Monday, Infor executives gave analysts and press a preview of key themes and announcements to come this week at Inforum in New Orleans.
CEO Kevin Samuelson stressed that providing customer value would be a top priority. “You’ll hear many topics over the next few days, but the main theme is productivity,” Samuelson said. “We are well-suited to change the way technology solves problems and increases productivity.”
As Infor’s flagship user event of the year, Inforum provides an opportunity for customers, industry leaders, and Infor team members to connect and share insights. With main-stage presentations, guest speakers, over 700 product-focused education sessions and live product demos, the event focuses on education and customer relationships.
During the kick-off event, Andrew Kinder, VP of global industry strategy, summarized the driving factors behind the next phase of Infor focus. From machine learning capabilities to predictive analytics, software innovations are changing the way we work. Technology in its many forms is increasing productivity, automating tedious processes, and empowering personnel throughout the organization to make well-informed decisions quickly, Kinder said.
To keep pace, enterprises need to be innovative, need to embrace technology, and leverage every opportunity. That could be in the form of predictive analytics, machine learning, or cloud solutions. The possibilities are nearly endless.
For Infor, adjacent innovation has been one of the greatest opportunities provided by digitalization. “Our deep industry focus has brought insights that we can leverage in our industries,” Kinder said. His examples included:
- The insights about personalization learned from a project with a leading aircraft designer was useful in a future project with the auto industry. Both industries needed solutions to help cater to product personalization.
- Insights learned from working with a defense industry customer proved valuable for a future use case with the manufacturers of complex equipment.
“We intend to provide the tools and science to take advantage of opportunities. The technology is there. We just have to put it to use so it provides maximum value,” said Kinder.
The challenges/opportunities of deployment
From setting a realistic time-table to devising models for measuring impact, thousands of details must sync for a project to go live. Unfortunately, the deployment phase of major digital initiatives can be mired in complexity, detours, and delays. For early adopters, this “last mile” has often been the most challenging.
Infor’s vertical focus, though, has brought valuable industry insights to this last mile. In a question-and-answer session, Rod Johnson, general manager of the Americas, said, “We have had the commitment to the industry that has powered last-mile functionality. Now, we need to go further. We need to go beyond the software and also provide tools for change management and implementation.”
Welcome to the next generation
“Knowledge is power” is an old saying that is due for a refresh. Static, isolated knowledge (or data) is good for trivia night at the local pub or a rousing “Jeopardy” tournament. But, like a gear with no cogs, it’s just not going far or achieving much. Anyone who has been frustrated by a sprawling spreadsheet or confused by contradictory statistics knows that data points alone are not enough to drive progress.
Recently, data integrity has received much scrutiny. The bar for acceptable data standards and business intelligence has been lifted. Most IT professionals would agree that, in addition to being timely and accurate, data must be consumable, relevant, and actionable. But few would agree on how to best reach that pinnacle. Volumes have been written about the journey. Now, enterprises expect results.
Infor OS and AI as a platform
The Infor OS team is keenly aware of the challenges of applying to technology into practical use cases. Analytics need to be consumable, putting the power of reporting into the hands of users. Although these are complex industries, and complex solutions, users need to be able to put the insights into action. Models need to be repeatable. Users should be able to leverage templates and tools to create practical machine learning use cases. Data must also provide insights—the kind that can drive strategies, identify new markets, understand sales trends, protect assets, stretch budgets, and keep internal and external stakeholders happy.
Without the ability to sort, analyze, and derive actionable insights, data is just numbers. Too much data can be overwhelming. Not enough data—or data that is unreliable—can fuel more questions than answers.
So, what’s the right strategy for digital projects? How can we make sure new initiatives provide insights that can be leveraged in a meaningful way? These are the difficult questions Infor teams are addressing, from the executive level to operations and support.
To achieve meaningful growth in the digital era, enterprises must be continuous learners and innovators, willing to explore new applications. Sitting on the sidelines and waiting until your competitor defines the new normal for your industry is high risk. Once a company falls behind, catching up or bypassing the market leader may be impossible.
As Infor kicks into high-gear, the power of technology is in the spotlight. Increasing productivity is the bottom-line object for customers. This, too, is the focus of Info as it moves into a next generation of leadership. Productivity and customer value are themes we will hear often as Inforum gets under way. These topics, too, will drive the next era of products and services that Infor provides.
- North America