Analysts Weigh in on Infor Innovation Summit 2016

United States – April 18, 2016, 11:30 AM

Analysts are assessing the new technology they experienced at Infor Innovation Summit 2016, hosted by Infor's executive team and led by CEO Charles Phillips, at Infor headquarters in New York City recently.

Here's a sampling:

Solving the Supply Chain Outside of the Four Walls: Infor Innovation Summit Recap
LNS Research
Analyst: Jason Kasper
March 30, 2016

This year's event focused on the opportunity to increase workforce productivity, which has been stagnant since 2007 even though technology investment and use has increased significantly. For Infor, this opportunity is the next era of Enterprise Innovation.

One opportunity to enhance workforce productivity for Infor is with their recent acquisition of GT Nexus. Kurt Cavano, Founder of GT Nexus, discussed opportunities to support this initiative by managing processes within the supply chain, outside the four walls of an organization, where 80% of information resides. Often manufacturers are dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of suppliers to manufacture goods and ship them to the desired location. The management of this is quite cumbersome, and GT Nexus coupled with Infor Cloud Suite creates the ability to create a Multi-Enterprise ERP creating an opportunity to increase productivity and save millions in the process.

We are impressed to see a view on Digital Transformation as well, with a clear process on how Infor can support its customers looking to take this on.

Ariba, Infor, and the Business Network Challenge: Quantum Physics, Big Transformations and Big Barriers
Enterprise Applications Consulting
Analyst: Joshua Greenbaum
April 4, 2016

As the enterprise software market embraces the concept of digital transformation with typical reckless, feckless abandon, it's interesting to see how one of the most transformative concepts - business networks - is evolving. What's clear from a look at two of the most well thought-out strategies, those of Infor (via its GT Nexus acquisition) and SAP (via its Ariba acquisition), is that there's no shortage of merit to what these two companies are doing and planning. …

Infor, while the smaller of the two, gained an important leading position with the acquisition of GT Nexus last year. … what the acquisition really accomplished was to catapult a small but pioneering business network vendor into the hands of an enterprise software vendor with big ideas and 70,000 customers, virtually all which are going to need some serious transformation in the next few years. …

transforming the enterprise software core of a company is no longer just a matter of doing your daily transactions faster, better, and hopefully cheaper. Transformation á la GT Nexus means making an important change to the all-important cash-to-cash cycle: using the information in GT Nexus' business network to enable companies to do a better job with cash by improving the terms and conditions of the loans and insurance needed to conduct business is a brilliant way to free up top and bottom line cash.

Phillips noted that a widely acknowledged global stagnation in productivity gains is the result of the aging of the technology infrastructure of business: it's hard to keep innovating for the 21st century if you're using 20th century technology.

How does a company deal with this? Infor has a bright idea - take that cash management thing you're already doing and start using the trade financing capability of GT Nexus to move some serious working capital out of the logistics doldrums and put it to better work. Caterpillar, according to GTN founder Kurt Cavano, has been able to redirect $300 million in capital out of its supply and logistics chain by using GTN, as have a multitude of other brand name companies. Meanwhile, Infor has been pumping up the number of process areas it wants to be able to manage in its business networks: inventory planning and factory planning, asset management via [the Internet of Things] IoT. And, obviously, supplier management and invoice management, among others.

Not bad, not bad at all. …

If this business network were to be built, and a critical mass of customers were to sign up, it would be the most significant event in global trade since … I don't know, pick an event: the advent of the Internet … and how B2B, and by extension B2C, commerce is conducted, will never be the same.

Infor: an inflexion point in the software market
Deal Architect
Analyst: Vinnie Mirchandani
April 3, 2016

Hook and Loop, Infor's captive digital agency, presented example after example where they are helping customers rethink their changing markets and value propositions. Infor also walked us through their version of "Collaboratory" - their Garage where they help customers think new design.

New Group at Infor Helps Customers Navigate Digital Disruption
Mint Jutras
Analyst: Cindy Jutras
April 1, 2016

Infor is spinning out a new group from Hook & Loop. It's called H&L Digital … the purpose of the new group is to help customers navigate digital disruption and achieve a competitive advantage. How do they do that? … Infor attempted to answer that question through examples.

Among them was Sports City (not actual customer name), a large franchise of stores featuring sports apparel and accessories. H&L Digital helped them transform their brand from a big box retailer surviving on promotion-driven transactions to a branded, sporting goods community leader, attracting those with a passion for sports. …

Part of the project was developing an app for coaches of clubs, community and school teams. Through this app, coaches can share online all the equipment kids on the team will need, including specific product options and recommendations within different price ranges and even a pre-owned marketplace. Equipment fitting and a fitting room app also help take the guesswork out of shopping for equipment. That results in Sports City brand loyalty and increased sales. Coaches also can set up their own dashboards for player performance and team optimization, making Sports City the "go to" online destination for all their needs - a far cry from a big box retailer. …

I was struck by how truly innovative this approach is. H&L Digital helped these companies not only with tools to help them run their businesses; they helped them uniquely rebrand themselves in a completely new light within a digital economy. …

So far all these projects have a healthy dose of custom development. But the more of these components Infor develops, the more it will have on the shelf. Over time, more and more components will be standard. This is crucial because companies of all sizes face risk of digital disruption.

If Infor is able to successfully come down market and satisfy the needs of both large and small companies - even those with small budgets - there is certainly a big market waiting for it. I, for one, am rooting for the little guys and hope to see H&L Digital continue to leverage Infor's vast tool set and product portfolio to become the "go to" vendor for all companies facing the challenges of digital disruption.

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