infor newSince its inception in 2002 the New York-based enterprise solutions startup Infor, whose CEO, Charles Phillips, calls his ERP software company “the world’s largest startup” has mushroomed into a giant with 73,000 customer in 200 countries and $3 billion in revenues. This growth is propelled mainly through the acquisition of other software companies and making its product work for specialty manufacturers whose unique needs are not necessarily the focus of traditional ERP providers.

Infor, originally called Agilisys, first started down its path of rapid growth through acquisition when it acquired the German company Infor Business Solutions in 2004. Then Agilisys changed their name to Infor Global Solutions.

Growth through Acquisitions

Infor has grown its offering much as Oracle did, by buying up businesses to add CRM, supply chain, and logistics functions to its platform and to make its software work for lots of different industries. That is in contrast with SAP, a popular ERP vendor that built most of its core product itself.

For instance Infor bought Orbis Global in 2012 that gave Infor the Marketing Resource Management function, which it added to its Epiphany Enterprise Suite. The 2013 acquisition of CERTPOINT Systems added learning content (i.e. employee training and its tracking) to the Infor Human Capital Management module. Adding the company PeopleAnswers gave Infor the ability to inject predictive analytics into its HR system.

Their purchase of GT Nexus for $675 million extends their logistics and inventory replenishment functions right into the wholesale market to give them an Amazon.com ecommerce engine for the Alibaba set of customers.

Infor Product Offerings

The Infor product line is divided into different tools for different industries:

  • Ion—Infor would like to get all of its customer’s data moved onto its cloud platform and off from their in-house installations to drive down their support costs and push customers onto new versions quicker. Ion is one enticement for getting customers there. Ion is an architecture component and not a manufacturing module, per se, like the other products listed below. It uses XML to tap into the different components of Infor to let a company do analytics, thus drawing on data across the business.
  • Infor M3—calls itself the product for companies that “makes, moves, and maintains” products. M3 is supply chain management and sales, i.e., order-to-cash and procedure-to-pay, for mixed-mode manufacturers.
  • Infor SyteLine—materials and inventory management for manufacturers and distributors.
  • Infor LN—designed for engineer-to-order and work-to-order manufacturing companies.
  • The rest of their suite encompasses the following segments:
  • Customer Experience
  • Enterprise Asset Management
  • Financial Management
  • Performance Management
  • Resource Planning
  • Human Capital
  • Product Lifecycle
  • Supply Chain
  • Configure Price Quote
  • Talent Science
  • Risk and Compliance
  • PLM for Fashion
  • Factory Track
  • And many, many more

Infor Market Share and Growth

Just 3 years ago, Forbes listed Infor’s revenue surged 50% in 2012. They grew their market share to 6% that year. Now things have shifted even further as by 2014 the company has moved into 3rd place in the ERP market, just behind the behemoths SAP and Oracle. Diginomica says, much of its success, in addition to its rapid acquisition practices, have been “quietly targeting specific industries and niche micro-verticals, which have specific user needs that can’t be met by generic ERP and CRM platforms.”

Looking to explain their growth, in a company press release, dated May of this year, the company said they have been “recognized as Leaders in Nucleus Research’s Latest Value Matrix for ERP.” This is a measurement of the breadth of their offering (technologies) and depth (vertical integration into business functions tangential to the base product.) The Nucleus Matrix located software products against others based on their business value. That kind of recognition, in turn, drives sales.

Regarding the technology aspect of the Nucleus report, Infor say they were recognized for the wide availability of their cloud platform on mobile devices, HTML5, the strength of their interface, and a platform for collaboration called min.gle. Competing with SAP Hana and Big Data products like Apache Spark, the company touted its in-memory capabilities. And making sure it keeps up with the changing market, Infor stressed the recognition of its analytics capabilities and its push into IoT.

Regarding vertical expansion, the firm is growing by adding regulations for different countries and languages and building out its software to work with manufacturers and distributor in different industries, each of whom has unique needs not met by a one-size-fits-all solution. Those industries include high tech, automotive, aerospace, and defense bringing their target markets to 21 industries.

Looking back at their first acquisition, that purchase of the German firm Infor Global Solutions, could have been metaphor for how Infor was taking aim at the mighty German giant SAP, a company boasting $22 billion in revenues.

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