Charles Phillips Talks Tech Business on “The CEO Show”

United States – June 04, 2019, 10:30 AM

Charles Phillips’ advice to other CEOs: don’t delegate technology decisions too much. Don’t think of technology as just a cost. Think of it as an innovation tool.

Infor’s CEO shared some insights about cloud, AI, and how technology can help transform business recently on “The CEO Show,” a weekly podcast and radio program that airs on AM radio stations across the US. Phillips chatted with host Robert Reiss about on his May 25 program.

Reiss asked: What don’t CEOs understand about the cloud, and how can it work for them?

Phillips said: All clouds are not created equal. Running existing business applications through a data center is not cloud. Applications need to be built specifically for the cloud. It’s also about cost. Companies need a cloud that can scale up and scale down as needed. That’s why Infor chose to partner with Amazon Web Services—because it gives customers all the capacity they need and no more.

“The other long-term benefit is the data,” Phillips said. “Having access to all the data in one place—that’s the platform for building machine learning and artificial intelligence, so your data will become more valuable than any cloud application over time.”

Reiss asked: What does Infor do uniquely?

Phillips said: “We’re a blended company. We’re half industry experts and half cloud experts. A lot of our people came out of industries. They understand those processes well, what KPIs you should be running your business by. We understand the processes so well, we can start to advise people on how to run their company. And we take that knowledge and build it into our software.”

“Once we have captured all that data—from manufacturing, finance, HR, et cetera—we can build correlations to give businesses insight, for example, correlating HR data with operational outcomes. Looking across all those silos of data is hard to do because usually they are on separate systems. We bring all of them together.”

“Applications should be applying technology to a business problem.” Phillips said. “We’re the only cloud company that is structured by industry. Our insight was, why not find out what each industry needs and how they are customizing, and put that into the application so every business in that industry can use it. That’s why our clouds are built by industry.”

Reiss asked: How is AI working in your business?

Phillips said: “We built an entire AI platform called Coleman, with a digital assistant so users can talk to their applications, they can use their phone and a chat bot, if they don’t want to type. That’s the front end. The back end is all the data correlations. We’re building AI by industry.”

Reiss asked: How is Infor growing, how is it changing?

Phillips said: “One of the things we’re excited about is that we get to define the future of work. Millions of people log into our applications for work every month. That means the way people work going forward and how automated that becomes, and how accessible technology is, we help define that. Technology should be easy to use. The analogy I like to use is: not many people can build an iPhone, but lots of people can use one.”

Reiss asked: What is your advice for CEOs?

Phillips said: “Don’t delegate technology decisions too much. Don’t think of technology as just a cost. Think of it as an innovation tool that can help drive strategy and change.”

Listen to the full interview on “The CEO Show” May 25 podcast, starting at 29:24.

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