Infor hosted industry analysts last week at an Innovation Summit in its decidedly upscale digs in New York. Celebrating its most successful nine month period in the history of the company, President Duncan Angove reported a five percent year to date increase in license revenue growth, driven by sales of SaaS subscriptions and perpetual license growth that exceeded 30 percent. Its booming SaaS business grew nearly five times year to date, and Human Capital Management platform sales have nearly doubled, in part fueled by an uptake in health care companies of their HCM solution. Angove cited 3100 new customers in the last nine months—totally new to Infor, not upgrades from their legacy products.
It is their business proposition that is resonating in today’s ERP market: business solutions created for microverticals (See Figure 1), with the very explicit features needed in what might to other vendors be niche markets not worth dedicated development work. The horizontal solutions, such as HCM and customer relationship management (CRM), can run in concert with any of its ERPs, or sold separately. Interestingly in a day of increasing standardization in software, the company also provides solutions and services to vertical-specific customization, recognizing that one size indeed does not fit all.
Figure 1. Infor’s Cloud Microverticals
Source: Infor Inc., 2015.
The bane of any newly fledged Cloud company is the extent of its installed base, on on-premise legacy systems. This is especially challenging for Infor, as it was originally a virtual hodge-podge of ERP, financial, and other software acquisitions (such as Baan, Lawson Software, Infinium, System 21, and many more). Now, while dated, the legacy products are still supported by Infor, with migration paths available whenever the customer is ready. One new program, called UpgradeX, is designed to ease – and perhaps hasten—that move in the customer base.
With 2750 cloud customers globally, Infor serves 35 million users. The number of multi-tenant solutions they have will expand to 33 by the end of this year and the company reports that users in more than 90 countries are accessing Infor products in the Cloud.
Part of the value proposition for customers is the deep level of very specific vertical functionality – the kind that is often bolted on a more generic ERP. Examples are fund accounting for public sector, nurse scheduling and staffing for healthcare, catch weight for food industries, and kit generation by quantity size breakdown for the fashion industries.
Let’s not forget innovation. An innovative face on what might appear stodgy old manufacturing may seem a disconnect – but Infor has innovation labs staffed with creative engineers in a culture where they can experiment; its Hook and Loop designers also develop custom solutions for their customers. The efforts of their creativity is apparent in their user interfaces, their mobile apps for NYPD, and other solutions.
Last year the analysts told Infor execs that they may be the ERP market’s best kept secret—and they listened. Over the past year, the company has invested in marketing, print ads, airports posters, and begin making a name for themselves in sponsoring charitable events in the metropolitan area. While not the business equivalent of a household word yet, the company is likely a future force to be reckoned with.
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