Congratulations to Infor for the new funding and potentially more when they go IPO. Here is today’s announcement:
“Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, today announced an agreement to receive a $1.5 billion investment from shareholders Koch Equity Development, LLC (KED) and Golden Gate Capital.
This investment builds on KED’s investment of more than $2 billion in early 2017, and it represents an important milestone as Infor considers a potential IPO in 2019 or 2020, subject to market conditions.”
My question is will Infor truly deliver on the “specialized by industry” promise it makes above. It has been making that promise since Charles Phillips and team took over in 2010.
As I write in my (unfinished draft) of SAP Nation 3.0
“Infor had once been called an “ERP graveyard,” as it had accumulated a wide portfolio of ERP brands including Baan, Lawson, MAPICS, SSA Global Technologies and Systems Union. Those in turn had made acquisitions of their own (such as Lawson buying Intentia). Since they arrived in late 2010, Infor CEO Charles Phillips and his team have been reinvigorating the company. Phillips called Infor the “world’s largest start-up”. The differentiation Infor promised was “CloudSuites” for 15 verticals (such as automotive, retail/fashion and food & beverage) and three horizontal ones (including corporate and human capital management).
Of SAP’s competitors, Infor looked promising as it leveraged Amazon’s cloud infrastructure and invested the savings into vertical solutions for healthcare, hospitality and other industries. A decade later it can boast improved look and the integration across its large portfolio of products , but it has not delivered “books of record” for industry sectors.
Larry Ellison famously derided dot com startups as “features, not products” in the early 2000s. Infor, similarly has features for a number of industries but has not delivered “books of record” such as electronic patient records for healthcare. In fairness, neither has Ellison’s Oracle delivered cloud-based vertical functionality.”
With vertical functionality, Infor will have a much better shot at migrating its 70,000 customers to contemporary solutions. It has tried, with limited success, with initiatives like UpgradeX. Customers who stay with legacy systems are showing more interest in going back to best of breed strategies and looking at cloud vendors like Workday and Salesforce in HCM, accounting and CRM silos.
So, I will be interested to see if with the new funding, Infor goes back to an industry focus. In addition, I wonder if it will start to look at wave 2 of projects in many markets most ERP and CRM vendors have missed out on in the last two decades. As I write in the book:
“In 2000, enterprise tech vendors led by SAP, other ERP/CRM vendors and their SI and other partners were set to dominate the corporate technology landscape. Instead their share of the enterprise has steadily declined. They have missed out on contract manufacturing of smart products, digital marketing, cloud infrastructure, industrial internet, process automation and several vertical niches. Two decades ago, few of us had heard of Accenture Interactive, Foxconn or Google. Few of us considered Amazon or GE as tech vendors.”
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)