Is Infor Losing its Edge?

Written By: Brian Potts
Date: September 3, 2019

Years ago, we watched Infor begin to make a name for itself as a leading ERP vendor. The revamping of their product offerings and introduction of Charles Phillips as CEO brought new direction and energy to the software provider.

Then we saw a $2B+ investment from Koch Equity along with other investment groups and they began to build their cloud solutions and micro-vertical focus. We began comparing their products to the likes of Microsoft Dynamics, JDE Edwards and even SAP. It seemed they were on the road towards becoming one of the top ERP systems.

Recently, however, the excitement in the marketplace surrounding Infor seems to have dwindled. They are still around and their products are still being implemented, but the spark seems to be gone. Is this a sign of rough times ahead or a mere speed bump?

Let’s consider a few different angles:

Infor is experiencing leadership changes at the top. Charles Phillips was a big-name hire as Infor’s CEO, but the company recently announced that he is being replaced. Although he will remain the chairman of Infor’s board of directors, it calls into question the overall stability of the executive team, as well as the company’s vision, strategy, and overall direction.

Infor software at its core remains strong. One reason for this is they have not tried to re-write their legacy functionality into the cloud, rather simply pull it all over. This gives them a potential edge against a platform such as SAP S/4HANA which is essentially re-written from their ECC6 solution.

How does Infor’s emerging technologies compare to the bigger guys? The downfall to their cloud development model is Infor does not have the potential at this time to match the “in-memory” operations of SAP or quick access to emerging technologies as with Oracle. The integration with emerging technologies is one of the core targets for ERP solutions of the future. Infor has enabled ION, which is a middleware intended to integrate Infor solutions with other technologies, but we have not seen it stand up to comparable solutions among Tier I ERP systems.

Is Infor simply polishing up its older ERP systems? Another crutch for Infor is that in bringing their existing solutions into the cloud, they are still selling “old” software. User interface and ease-of-use is becoming more important, and Infor is losing the battle to native cloud solutions like Oracle NetSuite or even Accumatica. They also do not have the look and feel nor the intrinsic friendliness as Microsoft Dynamics.

Lack of an Infor flagship product. Infor took great effort to simplify their offerings year ago, now focusing on the micro-vertical market. What they are missing, however, is a flagship product. Microsoft Dynamics has D365, SAP has S4/HANA, and even Oracle is beginning to push the concept of Oracle ERP Cloud from a culmination of disparate solutions (also see our objective comparison of S/4HANA vs. Oracle Cloud vs. D365), but what does Infor bring to the table? An entire field of “CloudSuite” uncertainty. When Infor comes to present a solution, nobody really understands what product they are viewing.

Strong revenue growth, but uncertainty surrounds the sustainability of that growth. Regardless of the perceptions of their solutions or positioning in the cloud, Infor is still showing strong growth. With 7.1% revenue growth reported in 2018, this is not a bad boost given their total revenues now exceed $3 Billion. The question is, will this continue?

The Infor marketing engine has fizzled a bit. Perhaps the biggest missing link with Infor is in their marketing. We have not seen any significant announcements since the acquisition of Birst back in 2017, and it seems they are riding on their legacy image. While most of their competitors are touting “something”, Infor seems to re resting on its laurels. Not sure if this is a safe strategy in the ever-changing world of enterprise technology.

We are very curious to see where Infor heads over the next year. They are still a significant player in the enterprise solution market and they have solid products, but in order to maintain leadership status in today’s market they may need to step up their game.

As always, we are here to help you navigate Infor and your other ERP software options in the market. Feel free to contact us if you would like an informal sounding board for your digital transformation alternatives and overall roadmap. We are happy to help!

Brian Potts

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