Fridays at Panorama are when we have ERP vendor demos. We recently met with Infor.

Infor Global Solutions is a privately held U.S. software company that specializes in enterprise systems, including ERP, CRM, Enterprise Asset Management, and the like. Infor has four major products: ERP Visual, ERP Adage, ERP SyteLine and ERP LN. Of these, the most common software used by Panorama clients is ERP SyteLine, which is marketed toward mid-sized to large companies with revenues over $100 million. Infor LN is an upgraded and rebranded version of Infor Baan. It targets higher level customers who have over $500 million in revenue and 75-10,000 users. Infor ERP Visual has a very low total cost of ownership (TCO), making it ideal for smaller organizations, such as manufacturing companies having less than $15 million in revenue and having 20-500 users. A more complete solution than ERP Visual, Infor ERP Adage is designed for process manufacturers with 30-1000 employees.

Infor ERP has a pretty flexible deployment: on-premise, software-as-a-service or hybrid. So far, they have six business solutions in their SaaS model, including Infor ERP SyteLine, Infor EAM, Infor Expense Management and so on. As we have noted previously, SaaS deployment is usually not as powerful as on-premise or hosted ERP. However, Infor claims that the user experience, functionality, reporting and security are consistent regardless of deployment options.

Since it began in 2004, Infor has grown aggressively through acquisitions. Before the demo, my impression was that Infor had a similar growth pattern to Oracle but the demo provided more clarity. Infor recently released its integration suite INFOR ION to share document-based communications and data both in-house and in the cloud. It appears to me that Infor ION is an integration middleware similar to Oracle Fusion Middleware. One of the main comparisons with Oracle Fusion Middleware is that both products use SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). Although both tools use open standard and are able to integrate a suite of applications, Infor markets themselves totally different from Oracle. Several integration merits regarding Infor ION were mentioned proudly during the demo: lightweight, loosely coupled and suite-based workflow. Without the need for heavyweight footprints, Infor ION can enable a new application in less than 10 minutes, by what they called 3-3-3:  three minutes to install, three minutes to configure, and three minutes to activate.

Although it was quite high level, the one-hour demo was very informative. I expect that in the future Infor will compete against the Tier I ERP software vendors Oracle and SAP as it continues to develop innovative technology and products.

Blog entry written by Haoyan Sun, a research analyst at Panorama Consulting Group.

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