Infor, an enterprise software company, brought together the analyst community at its New York headquarters for another Innovation Summit to share updates on progress and plans for its product set. The Infor senior leadership team, backed by several customers, walked analysts through the entire product portfolio. Often perceived as “the other ERP company,” in the shadow of SAP and Oracle, Infor deserves more credit for innovation and adoption of future trends and technology. Infor was the first of the major enterprise application players to embrace Cloud and user experience, and was a very early proponent of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Much of the progress Infor made has been in industries outside of manufacturing like healthcare, transportation, retail, and in standard business functions such as human capital management (HCM). Manufacturing and asset-intensive industries should take note as they will benefit from the advances the software vendor is bringing to the market, in addition to all the Cloud capabilities directly associated with manufacturing in relevant CloudSuites. The Innovation Summit featured several end-users who made it clear they see Digital Transformation as their only option.
Progress Since Inforum 2017
Inforum is Infor’s annual user group meeting, last held in July 2017. CloudSuite was the center stage at the event with a focus on solving business problems. Much of the scenario for future revolved around late-breaking developments such as the acquisition of Birst, a significant investment by Koch Industries, and the release of Coleman, Infor’s AI platform. There were a lot of promises about how these were going to radically expand the pace of Digital Transformation capabilities, and LNS is impressed by Infor’s delivery against those promises. While the customer names are under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), many projects discussed at the Innovation Summit verify Infor found appropriate partners to pilot and build the capabilities, working their way into the product set. Some impressive Infor facts:
- 71 million Cloud subscribers
- 95% renewal rate
- Delivered an entire stack of industry apps to AI
- All apps available on Infor OS
Infor provided proof points for every use case they outlined as a goal. They delivered on the functionality side of the equation in several CloudSuites, and core areas like security, user experience, and the use of analytics. The end-user case studies presented at the Innovation Summit validated this progress.
What’s in Store for Inforum 2018
Manufacturing and asset-intensive industries, Infor focuses on, will benefit from the emphasis Infor is placing on the broad application of their core Asset Performance Management (APM) application, Infor Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). Infor sees EAM as the core solution to manage the growth of Internet of Technology (IoT) assets, drive improved operational performance via analytics and optimization, and manage every physical asset in an enterprise. EAM has become a critical element of many micro-vertical CloudSuites, which in turn drives investment in more functionality to the benefit of every user, in the CloudSuite model of “no upgrades ever again.”
From a technology perspective, when Inforum 2018 takes place, every Infor application will be available in a multi-tenant model. Many Coleman-based capabilities such as natural language processing and context-aware UX are beginning to emerge, which will be publicized at Inforum. Mobility will be at the forefront as well. The most exciting developments will leverage the AI and machine learning (ML) enhancements in a variety of industries. One area LNS wishes Infor would drive faster is predictive capabilities related to predictive maintenance (PdM)/prescriptive maintenance (RxM). It isn’t surprising that Infor is not focusing on this right now given the plethora of third-party solutions that can plug into EAM, but becoming a one-stop-shop would make Infor a powerful APM player. The Birst and Coleman technology stack could easily handle the challenge.
With complete support of its senior management, Infor is committed to drive Digital Transformation. Charles Phillips, the CEO, was part of the summit for almost the entire event as the rest of the Infor leadership team presented their updates. They seamlessly wove together a strong story about the major transformation opportunity Infor wants to tackle, and move focus from the “last mile” to the “next mile.” Infor is driving innovation, so the summit did live up to its name.
While Infor won’t be a fit for every asset-intensive or manufacturing company, it is worth evaluating Infor as a partner for the Digital Transformation journey. With the promise of never having to update software again, Infor offers customers using CloudSuite a powerful incentive.