Infor Focuses on Cloud, Digital For Next Level of Growth

To follow both organic and inorganic routes to speed up growth

Going by its future plans, ‘beautiful’ business applications’ vendor, Infor, is all set to move to the next level of growth. The company’s CEO Charles Phillips is betting big on the twin pillars of cloud and digital transformation to lay the foundation for future growth. Pursuing this strategy, Infor has made several strategic decisions in recent times. The company recently entered into an agreement to acquire Starmount, a modern store systems provider serving large and mid-market retailers. When the acquisition is complete, Starmount will provide point-of-sale, mobile shopping assistant, and store inventory management products along with a data-rich commerce hub to engage shoppers, streamline operations, and support consistent cross-channel customer interactions. The acquisition is expected to enable Infor to accelerate delivery of Infor CloudSuite Retail, a new, modern suite of enterprise applications delivered in the cloud and designed for today’s retailing landscape. Offering what modern retailers want After forming its Infor Retail business unit during the summer of 2015, Infor announced a collaboration with Whole Foods Market to build a modern merchandising system, and subsequently the acquisitions of GT Nexus for supply chain network, Predictix for demand management, and now Starmount for store systems. “The market is littered with antiquated software built 20 or 30 years ago that just can’t provide what modern retailers need,” said Wade Gerten, VP of Customer Experience & Digital at Infor.  “They want alternatives, built in the cloud, with native support for mobile.  This acquisition will help Infor bring such solutions to market faster.” Infor is investing heavily in products that help retailers achieve converged commerce, the next step after omni-channel in which retailers use a single selling system for all consumer interactions.  Not only does converged commerce improve the customer experience with accurate and timely information across all touch points, but it’s also cheaper to operate, avoiding many of the costly integrations necessary with traditional omni-channel approaches. Austin, TX.-based Starmount experienced 41 percent year-over-year growth in 2015 and counts among its customers Abercrombie & Fitch, Burlington Coat Factory, Perry Ellis, and Urban Outfitters.  Terms of the deal, which is expected to close within 30 days, are not being disclosed. Driving digital transformation Infor has also announced H&L Digital, a new division to provide end-to-end digital cloud solutions. H&L Digital, together with Infor’s existing software and platforms, enables Infor to offer Digital as a Service, which are solutions that drive new capabilities, generate new revenue streams, create differentiated IP, and help Infor customers run their business better. Hook & Loop, Infor’s in-house creative agency, was formed in 2012 as an internal-facing organization with a singular mission to create meaningful experiences for users of Infor software. H&L Digital is a client-facing extension of Hook & Loop, using many of the same approaches, including digital workshops and hackathons, to deliver differentiated experiences for Infor customers’ customers. “Many consulting firms and design agencies claim to help deliver digital transformation to help clients meet the challenges of digital disruption, but because they lack the underpinning technology to effect real change, their customers’ projects often languish, stall, or fail to meet expectations,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. “With the creation of H&L Digital, Infor can deliver all the components of an end-to-end solution as a service: cloud-based industry applications, dynamic data-driven insights, cutting-edge user experience design, and a connected supply chain network.” Infor has taken an enterprise-out approach to digital transformation services that improve operations and provide new experiences for both customers and employees. The three layers of this approach are:          Software and platforms – at the core of any transformation program are the cloud applications that power a business including enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM), human capital management (HCM), supply chain management, configure-price-quote (CPQ), and the standards-based middleware in Infor ION® to integrate them and publish data.          Data and analytics – layered on top of the core applications are API management, insights from Infor Dynamic Science Labs, and the elastic supercomputing power of Amazon Web Services (AWS).          H&L Digital – rethinking the way a business works to make it more effective and impactful for the connected age and create new data-driven ways to deliver an elevated experience, service, or product. “The rise of powerful digital platforms and networks has sparked significant changes in the way we all work, communicate, and sell,” said Marc Scibelli, chief creative officer of Infor and head of H&L Digital. “H&L Digital will help Infor customers create new cloud solutions to differentiate their businesses and retain their customers in a strong digital ecosystem.” Elements of Infor Digital as a Service include:          Strategize – building on insights from interactive workshops, H&L Digital creates a digital strategy for the business and the brand. The process starts by defining a digital ecosystem and identifying “quick wins” to prototype first. The development team collaborates with customer IT teams to identify gaps in current architecture and create implementation roadmaps.          Design – design-first thinking helps H&L Digital focus on the experiences companies seek to create for end-users. By creating beautiful, intuitive experiences for users to reach their end-goals and work seamlessly in any environment, H&L Digital helps change the way employees engage and collaborate and the way customers interact with the organization.          Assemble – H&L Digital leverages disparate products and services, as well as existing technologies, to power elements of the digital ecosystem, and performs a gap analysis to understand the components required for integration and potential development to accelerate the project.          Run – H&L Digital manages SaaS services with company-specific technology solutions, and provides services for continued evolution, support and maintenance. Giving Government the cloud advantage Underlining the importance it attaches to cloud , Infor has announced Infor CloudSuite Federal, a suite of comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that are specifically designed for organizations operating under the umbrella of the Federal Government. The Infor CloudSuite Federal is designed to help traverse the industry compliance and regulatory factors to help Federal agencies optimize procedures using cloud technology. The suite of cloud-run applications is designed with compliance in mind, and contains provisions to help meet core standards such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). Through a strategic alliance with Amazon Web Services, Infor CloudSuite Federal is hosted on the AWS GovCloud (US), a robust, secure and flexible cloud-hosting environment. Infor has a longstanding foundation for serving the public sector, with customers operating in industry micro-verticals such as academics, public safety, transportation and utilities. Deeply rooted within this experience and knowledge base, Infor has expanded capabilities to help meet the needs of a maturing Federal marketplace where demand to adopt emerging technologies is reaching a critical mass. “To keep pace in the modern global economy, a successful business model necessitates the use of a nimble and adaptable IT infrastructure, one that is both flexible and affordable. Within the private sector, adoption of cloud technology has soared in recent years to answer such demands but for the Federal government, concerns over cost and security have prevented many organizations from considering and utilizing this approach. Infor CloudSuite Federal is designed to specifically help government organizations overcome these hurdles,” said Wayne Bobby, vice president, Infor Federal. “Helping Federal organizations modernize and shift to the cloud can be a real game-changer, one that creates a significant value proposition for workers and taxpayers alike.” Infor CloudSuite Federal is more than a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform; it is a fully customizable and scalable suite of industry-tailored applications. With capacities for mission critical functions such as Human Capital Management (HCM), Federal institutions are better able to manage resources, ranging from personnel to physical assets, even intellectual property. Built-in functionalities such as Infor Dynamic Enterprise Performance Management (d/EPM) help regulate and prevent waste by delivering a unified platform for compliance, budgeting and planning. Asset management has long been a documented strength for Infor, and this deep level of expertise has now been scaled to help Federal customers assess, monitor and make preventative repairs to safeguard asset reliability, which translates into a noticeable return on the principle investment. Infor CloudSuite Federal does not require any capital investments for hardware, and considerably reduces license fees and by providing a flexible, subscription-based delivery model. This not only significantly reduces upfront IT expenditure, but it also enables Federal institutions to reallocate staff and resources to better serve other aspects of business and public service. Smooth migration from on-prem to cloud To help customers securely transition from on-premise to cloud deployments with ease while still reaping the benefits of increased flexibility, agility and robust security, Infor has also announced Infor Data Migration Accelerator. “Data migration is one of the biggest concerns that CIOs have in trying to transition to a modern, cloud-based infrastructure; they want to reap the benefits of the cloud but worry about their vast amounts of data. The Infor Data Migration accelerators provide a simple approach for identifying complexities and charting a course for accurate data migration from start to finish,” said Darren Saumur, senior vice president, Infor Services. “By aligning with BackOffice Associates, we have fortified the data migration process to ensure that our customers gain visibility and reduce risks when transitioning to the cloud.” “Shifting from a complex on-premise IT environment to a cloud deployment requires an automated and strategic approach rooted in data quality and sound information governance,” said Alex Berry, COO and president of North America, BackOffice Associates. “Infor is an organization that exemplifies the evolution of technology through the cloud approach, and as an industry leader they too recognized the need to partner with us to ensure that customers have the best data management when moving to the cloud.”  


Around The World