Posts Tagged ‘Charles Phillips’

Event Report: #InforSummit Reveals More Than A Redesigned Infor

Changes at Infor More Than Cosmetic

Analysts and tech watchers gathered on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2013, for Infor Summit, a progress check on Infor, the third largest independent applications vendor in the market.  While many customers may not have heard of Infor, most have heard of the brands it has acquired over the last 20 years.  These venerable brands include Baan, BPCS, Epiphany, Hansen, Intentia, Lawson, MAPICS, NXTrend, SoftBrands, and Syteline.   Since industry veteran Charles ‘Chuck’ Phillips took over Infor, the software vendor has grown revenue from $2.2B to $2.8B.  More impressive, for the past 5 quarters, Infor demonstrated double digit license revenue growth.  Infor is now the third largest private firm in Business Insider’s Digital List witha $16B valuation.  The management team emphasized three key tenets of the Infor strategy:

  • Focus on microverticals. With over 2151 possible market micro verticals, Infor intends to go deeper than the 21 sectors often classified as verticals.  For example, in the wholesale distribution sector, Infor supports micro verticals such as electrical, building materials (BMAT), industrial supply, heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC), and auto.  For the auto sector, micro verticals include interiors, fixing elements, and  plastics and moldings.

    Point of View (POV):
    Infor’s strategy to go deep on micro verticals comes at a time when SAP and Oracle are no longer substantially investing R&D in deep vertical functionality.  By going deeper and more specialized in micro vertical industries, Infor can differentiate on features and functionality desired by customers.  Infor’s hired over 800 developers since Charles Phillips joined.  The delivery and support of micro verticals is accomplished as Infor’s support folks are co-located with the developers and many key folks are still in their original on-shore development centers.  With 4000 developers just focused on apps, Infor has the economies of scale to focus on micro verticals.
  • Investment in internet architecture. Infor’s design principles begin with architecting software for the internet and embracing a world of heterogeneous apps.  Support for the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) standards allows Infor to standardize on a canonical business language for information integration.  Infor requires its legacy applications to communicate with each other via XML as the common alphabet for identifying business processes and for defining business messages.   Infor has made significant technology investments including updates to the core technology framework Infor ION, the mobility framework Infor Motion, social software platform with Mingle, and analytics via Infor BI.  Infor currently generates $100M in cloud revenues.

    The overall support for OAGIS standards allows Infor’s legacy apps to communicate with newer applications and avoid duplicate creation of common components.  This standardization marks the culmination of the original work initiated by Soma Somasundaram, EVP Global Product Development in 2010.  With Infor ION in place, Infor now has an integrative fabric using loosely coupled architecture.  Customers can run legacy apps and also take advantage of new products and solutions.  Moreover, this enables Infor a platform for rapid integration of future acquisitions.  Customers should pay close attention to see what acquired product families have been enabled to take advantage of Infor Ion and what upgrade paths should be made to take advantage of future innovation.  Expect Infor to nudge customers to the cloud as the margins are higher and the pace of innovation is faster.
  • Creation of a consumer design experience. Infor took advantage of their New York City location to hire designers focused on user experience.  As part of this transformation, they created their own internal agency called Hook & Loop.  Marc Scibelli, VP of Hook & Loop is in charge of the 40 person team behind the design thinking transformation.  From mobile apps to branding, Hook & Loop provides the creative services for Infor (see Figure 1).

    Point of View (POV):
    Duncan Angove, President at Infor’s talk about Beauty as a Competence reflected the deep transformation throughout the organization.  Infor’s new user experience was first revealed to customers at the 2012 Inforum customer conference.   Users will notice a stark difference between the new apps and the old apps.  When apps begin with user design instead of engineering, the end users benefit.  Customers can expect to see the difference in the new apps but will have to wait for the old apps to catch up.

Figure 1. Flickr Feed Scenes From The Infor Summit

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Photos: R Wang & Insider Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Market Momentum Shows A Shift In Customer Preferences For Outcomes Not Technology


News Analysis: Infor Launches New Era With Infor 10

After 11 months of behind the scenes work, CEO Charles Phillips and the Infor management team unveiled the launch of Infor 10 in New York City on September 13, 2011, to customers, industry analysts, media, and investment analysts.  The new Infor has kept busy with key management team hires, the $1.84 B acquisition of Lawson, the launch of Infor10 CloudSuite, and partnerships in CRM with via Inforce.

Infor currently serves more than 75,000 customers in 164 countries. With combined revenues greater han $2.5B, Infor/Lawson is the third largest enterprise apps company. The Infor and Lawson combination brings deep industry presence in key industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical, distribution, equipment service maintenance repair (ESMR), fashion, food and beverage, general manufacturing, healthcare, high-tech, hospitality, high tech, industrial equipment and machinery, industrial manufacturing, and public sector.

Key announcements from the September 13th launch event include:

  • Reintroducing ION as the ‘the heart of Infor10. Infor’s lightweight middleware solution provides an integration tool for Infor and non-Infor applications. The intent is to provide devices such as desktops, tablets, and other mobile devices to gain access to information in existing applications. Key components behind the technology infrastructure include a common user interface, workspace, reporting and analytics, workflow, event management, master data management, localizations, mobility enablement, and packaged integration.

    Point of View (POV):
    Unlike Oracle and SAP who have spent billions addressing the integration problem through a comprehensive and heavy middleware strategy, ION take a more pragmatic approach. Through loose coupling, Ion gives the Infor family of products increased agility that matches use cases for a mobile, social, and analytical world. While ION aims to provide better integration, streamlined workflows and end to end business process integration, Constellation believes it will take at least 6 to 9 months before the first set of end to end processes span across the major product lines (e.g. Infor10 ERP Enterprise (LN) and Infor 10 Lawson M3).  The good news – Integration between Infor10 Lawson S3 and Infor EAM is planned for November, just 100 days after acquisition.

    On the management team side, customers and prospects will be reassured that both Infor’s second employee, Soma Somasundaram, senior vice president of Global Product Development and Dean Hager (i.e. originally from Lawson) remain key driving forces for carrying out this completed vision.

Figure 1. ION Plays A Key Role In Infor’s Long Term Strategy

Source: Infor

  • Delivering a consumer grade experience. Duncan Algove, President of Products and Support introduced Infor10 Workspace. With an intention of bringing consumer world experiences to the enterprise, Infor10 WorkSpace provides a fresh start to helping users “work the way they live”. Key elements of the ION experience include role-based screens, role-based workflows, in-context business intelligence, event management, activity streams, tasks and alerts, and consumer-like search capabilities).

    Existing customers and new prospects expect next generation applications to meet the Six S’s of Enterprise Class Consumerization of IT. Infor’s key design principles of flipping the structure of work to be data and event driven, contextual data at the point of decision, social computing metaphors, and design for mobile play a key role in making this a reality for Infor customers. This provides a compelling reason for customers to put their maintenance fees to use in an upgrade or purchase of Infor10 components.

Figure 2. Scenes From The New Infor User Experience


Quick Take: Infor and Golden Gate Gain Definitive Agreement To Acquire Lawson For $2B

New Firm To Focus On Verticals And Growth Markets

Golden Gate Capital and Infor entered an agreement to acquire Lawson at $11.25 per share.  The transaction is valued at $2B. Following the 7am ET press release,  a conversation with Charles Phillips and Duncan Angove highlighted key elements of the deal:

  • Focus on growth. Infor sees an opportunity to cross-sell products from both companies into the existing 75,000 customer install base.  Lawson’s HCM product line and Infor’s new release of Sun Systems Financials will provide the back office engine that was missing as independent companies.  The firm expects two-tier financials to be a growth opportunity.
  • Commitment to vertical differentiation. Infor’s trengths in distribution, manufacturing, and hospitality will complement Lawson’s core in healthcare, financials, equipment service rental, and public sector. Charles and Duncan both provided compelling examples of how products from both companies could be used to solve industry problems such as nursing shortage and asset management in healthcare. Time and attendance, planning, scheduling, and analytics would come together to solve a difficult customer problem.
  • Investment in integration.  The combined firm intends to focus on bringing applications together through integration.  Initial thoughts are to achive a common customer experience.  The engineering teams will begin with aligning ION to Lawson Process Platform. The goals – ensure that the common user experience layers are delivered adn bringing together common integration points.

More to come later in the day.

Your POV.

Does this announcement surprise you?  Are you a Lawson customer?  What do you think of an Infor takeover?  What do you hope Lawson will do? Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.


News Analysis: Infor Extends $1.84B Unsolicited Offer For Lawson

Unsolicited Offer Marks Chuck Phillips’ First Acquisition Attempt At Infor

On March 11th, St.Paul, MN, based Lawson announced that Infor and Golden Gate Capital made a $1.84B unsolicited offer.   This comes after the March 8th news that Lawson retained Barclays Bank to evaluate options.  An acquisition by Infor (the 3rd largest ERP vendor) and Lawson (the 6th largest ERP vendor) could result in:

  • New revenue streams for Infor. As with Lawson, Infor’s revenue mix heavily relies on maintenance revenue.  Despite high estimated retention rates in the 95% range, its estimated that Infor has not successfully grown new license revenue at a rate and pace to keep up with retention losses.  Infor must find new revenue sources to grow and cover its debt obligations while preparing for an anticipated IPO.

    Point of View (POV):
    Lawson’s S3 offerings in human capital management (HCM) software, public sector, and healthcare provide the drivers for growth.  Infor’s lack of a full HCM suite provides many opportunities for a cross-sell Lawson HCM and build on Infor’s Workbrain customer base.  Infor’s Hansen public sector offering will deliver good cross-sell opportunities with Lawson’s Public Sector HCM and Financials offering.  Healthcare will deliver overall incremental revenue growth.
  • Long term economies of scale for Lawson customers. Lawson earned $736.4M in revenues in 2010.  Lawson’s acquisition of Intentia in 2006 was long and hard but provided a global presence and some economies of scale, especially in R&D.  Lawson gained better user experience and a more complete offering through the M3 products.  In general, the acquisition placed Lawson into the Top 10 of ERP vendors by revenue and was seen as successful.  However, cross-sell opportunities did not materialize as intended in the North American market for M3 and for EMEA in S3.  On the positive side, Lawson’s new distribution product resulted in big deals in a very under served market and created growth synergies between S3 and M3.

    From a size and scale perspective Infor will provide significant scale for Lawson customers.  As with the Intentia acquisition, scale could come from the R&D side of the house and of course back office efficiencies.   Given the need to support a large maintenance revenue base, customers can expect continued investment in service, support, sales, and product.  No acquiring vendor would be foolish enough to kill these areas.  Both Infor and Lawson have made steps to adopt Microsoft .NET platforms and coordinated efforts in R&D should provide the necessary scale to advance the technology across the product lines.


News Analysis: Charles Phillips Takes Over As CEO of Infor

Enterprise Software And Investment Banker Veteran Joins Third Largest Enterprise Apps Vendor

Today’s announcement that former Oracle President Charles “Chuck” Phillips has taken the helm as CEO of Infor continues the executive management shuffle impacting the enterprise software space.  Based in Alpharetta, GA, Infor serves 70,000 customers in 125 countries worldwide and employs over 8,000.  Some key takeaways from today’s announcement include :

  • Infor gains a seasoned executive. At Oracle, Charles Phillips played a key part in Oracle’s mergers and acquisition strategy.  Prior to Oracle, Chuck was the managing director for enterprise software coverage at Morgan Stanley.

    Point of View (POV):
    During Phillips’ tenure, he was responsible for the sales, marketing, and service functions.  Customers found him effective because he invested time to understand their concerns, put action plans in place, and kept his word.  Chuck’s background in investment banking will play a key role in Infor’s goal to IPO in the next 12 to 18 months
  • Jim Schaper will continue to drive strategy. As the guiding force in Infor’s original strategy and M&A execution, Schaper stays on as Chairman.  Jim also remains a senior operating partner at Golden Gate Capital, Infor’s major investor.

    Jim’s played a key role at Infor in executing the original roll-up strategy.  Now at $2.2B in revenues, he and the board smartly brings in a CEO who can take the company to the next level.  The move will be good for customers, partners, and employees.


Event Report: Oracle Open World Day 1- Partner News

Oracle Gets More Serious About Meeting Partner Needs

OPN main stageCharles "Chuck" Phillips welcoming OPN attendeesAndrew McAfee presenting from his latest Enterprise 2.0 book2009 Oracle Open World Materials

(Source: R Wang & Software Insider POV, Copyright © 2009  All rights reserved.)

Oracle Open World kicked off today with major announcements that beef up the 21,000 member strong Oracle Partner program.   Throughout the day, Oracle executives kept reminding everyone that path to success would be specialization and that Oracle partners played a key role in driving revenue.  In fact, partners contributed to 59% of North American Revenue in fiscal year 2009.  Key takeaways include:

  • Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialized Program.  Oracle revamps its program to create four partner levels including Oracle Remarketer, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  Status must be earned across Oracle’s 35 apps, middleware, database, and industry solutions.  The higher the status, the more engagement Oracle will provide.

    POV: Partners and customers will benefit from a distinct status program.  OPN Specialized will force partners to invest in a few differentiated competencies.  With 3000 products, Oracle feels partners wlll need to go deep in order to win in the market place. However, forcing partners to stay specialized will leave them vulnerable as Oracle Consulting Services will still have capacity to provide a full service of solutions.  At least Oracle eases the transition by smartly decoupling education from certification.   Partners can opt to take the certification exam without having to take unnecessary training.   This should help some larger partners to keep their competencies.

  • Oracle Partner Business Center.  Oracle demonstrates its commitment to supporting customers by expanding the Partner Enablement 2.0 program.  Key features include a global Twitter support channel, 24/7 support in 24 different languages, and access to partner business consultants.  Access to support will be based on partner levels with Platinum partners receiving inbound call and e-mail assistance, support service request logging, pro-active outbound engagement including business and administrative support and priority renewal, and dedicated virtual account management and channels to assist with joint business plans and top priority renewals.

    POV:  Oracle’s putting its money where its mouth is.  No longer an all hat no cattle partner program, last year Oracle claims to have conducted 44,530 apps and 16,423 tech training sessions.  Partners expect the new business center to serve as a key enablement resource and a significant improvement over the patchwork program of previous years.

  • Oracle Exadata Partner Program.  Partners will be able to resell Exadata Storage servers and Sun Oracle Database machines starting December 1st, 2009.  Oracle will be providing enablement resources to expand the solution offering into verticals as well as key horizontals such as data warehousing and business intelligence. Oracle plans to provide training materials via a new Exadata Knowledge Zone that will include Guided Learning Paths.

    POV:  At the partner keynote, Charles Phillips reemphasized how Oracle will be the first company to go from apps to disk.  As Oracle attempts to attack TCO by owning the wh0le stack, expect its competitors to respond to this new stack play with more diversified partnerships among Oracle’s competitors.  Oracle’s strategy is brilliant but they will not be left to their own devices by its new competitors in hardware and software.

Your POV.

A few questions to partners:

  • Are you a partner with Oracle?
  • How do you feel about the changes to the partnership program?
  • As an acquired partner what do you think Oracle does well, poorly?
  • Are you a Sun Partner moving to Oracle?

Feel free to post your comments here or send me an email at rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwareinsider dot org.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.

News Analysis: Oracle Launches Fusion Middleware 11g

Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g launch starts countdown to 100 days of innovation until Oracle Open World

In short, Oracle is putting forth a suite of middleware solutions that not only enable developers and software publishers to build their future solutions, but also deliver the middleware tools that will serve as the foundation for its go forward Oracle Fusion Applications.  There are a number of product updates in this Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g launch.  They include the Oracle Application Grid, Oracle SOA and Process Management, Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle ADF 11g, Oracle Applied WebCenter, Oracle Identity and Access Management, and Fusion Middleware Enterprise Manager (Note: the version of Oracle Enterprise Manager to manage Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is 10g R3, this is the version currently available. – added 7/6/2009) What’s positive about this release is the number of customers who have already tested and proven that these solutions can work. In each one of the components, there are a list of customers who already use these solutions in their production environments.  Here are some high level product details:

  • Oracle Application Grid puts forth a foundation built on the Oracle WebLogic Suite (i.e. Oracle WebLogic Server 11g ) that adds GridLink for RAC, enterprise grid messaging, real operations automation, real operations insight, active cache, and enterprise manager. high availability – added 7/6/2009
    POV: Oracle pulls together their integrated platform for application development in a high performance computing SOA world.  This will prove to be the Oracle internal foundation for hosting and other OnDemand capabilities.
  • Oracle SOA and Process management infrastructure brings together technologies such as Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle BPA Suite, Oracle BPM Suite, Oracle BAM, Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle CEP, Oracle Service Bus, Oracle Enterprise Repository, Oracle Services Registry, and Oracle Web Services Manager.
    : These common infrastructure components provide a way to mediate, orchestrate, manage business events and processes that support external integration, process governance, customizations, and change.  These will prove critical in hybrid deployments that bring the Web 2.0 world to Enterprise 2.0
  • Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle ADF 11g -the new team center and application development framework provides desktop integration to Microsoft Office and Java apps; new ADF Faces such as hierarchy viewers and carousels, SCA/SDO integration, and mobile development.
    : Hopefully, Oracle customers can benefit from a richer set of dev tools that can be used in custom development and for Fusion Apps.  This could provide the foundation for extending Oracle Fusion Applications or building apps on JDeveloper in a PaaS platform.
  • Oracle Applied WebCenter- solutions pulls together their Oracle WebCenter becomes the backbone collaboration infrastructure and Oracle Fusion Middleware architecture for collaboration in content management, business process management, and analytics.
    : Oracle customers get treated to a unified environment to deliver a consistent user experience for a Web 2.0 and more social enterprise experience.  The new release of Applied WebCenter may provide customers a unified UI strategy they have been looking for.
  • Oracle Identity and Access Management 11g includes enhanced features in areas such as identity management, provisioning and role management, web access management, Federation, entitlements management, fraud prevention, applications centric, and identity platform.
    : Oracle focuses on addressing reliable security, regulatory compliance, and help desk efficiencies for identity and access management.  Customers seek this level of single accountability and role based access as they keep adding SaaS and other deployment options.  With best of breed coming back in the form of SaaS, enterprises must move beyond single sign on (SSO).
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware Enterprise Manager builds management and monitoring across the stack including apps, middleware, database, and Virtualized Host/ OS / Network
    POV:  Oracle showcases a more unified attempt at managing the entire Oracle stack and environment.  Will it replace your HP, BMC Remedy or IBM Tivoli tools? No. Not completely, but it’s a good start.

The bottom line – Oracle raises the stakes in the stack wars with IBM and showcases its middleware foundation for Fusion Apps

Announcements today by Charles Phillips and Thomas Kurian provide insight into the compendium of Oracle product investments in Middleware. Oracle Fusion Middleware provides the critical “glue” to tie Oracle’s acquisitions back into a cohesive IT strategy for not only its customers but also Oracle’s “Red Stack”.  The stack wars with IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle focus on gaining the greatest percentage of the IT budget.  Oracle’s investments today and pending acquisition of Sun will change the landscape from a perceived apps rivalry with SAP to more a stack competition with Microsoft and a battle for the IBM “Blue Stack”.  In fact, as Oracle continues to acquire and invest in the service based industries IBM dominates today, expect Oracle to make the case for a “Red Stack” and create “Purple” stacks in the years to come.  The eventual prize – converting IBM “Blue Stack” clients to the “Red Stack”.  Don’t expect IBM to stand still so let’s see what the next move is in the continuing Stack Wars!

Your POV

What do you think about Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g?  Vaporware or real competition in the stack wars?  Will you be more compelled to bet on Oracle as part of your apps strategy?  Please post or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.