Infor – What Flavor This Month?
May 2, 2011 1 Comment
The strategy at Infor seems to change as rapidly as it acquires businesses.
SOA… SaaS… Microsoft… No, not Microsoft, maybe Java?
It seems like just a few months ago that Infor touted SOA (service-oriented architecture) as the magic that would allow their customers to get value out of their absurd menagerie of products. It turns out that SOA sounds good, but is just another layer on top of very old applications with very different user interfaces and data structures.
When the pressure to have a cloud strategy became too much to bear, Infor announced that Syteline (formerly Symix) was now a SaaS solution. I would bet that other on-premise vendors are eager to learn that brand of magic.
On June 23, 2010 Infor made a very big deal about choosing Microsoft as its strategic platform provider. Infor ION (i.e. SOA-type middleware) was to be powered by all of the cloud-enabled Microsoft tools. A PCWorld article at the time said:
“While Infor and Microsoft already had a partnership, the new announcement takes the relationship much further.
Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration product will serve as a foundation for “portal based, unified interfaces for all Infor applications,” Infor said in a statement. The vendor will also use Microsoft’s Silverlight RIA (rich Internet application) platform; Microsoft Reporting Services for BI (business intelligence); and Microsoft Single Sign-On for identity management. It has also named SQL Server and Windows Server as its “preferred” infrastructure components.”
Now, with the acquisition of Lawson, Infor is making another abrupt turn. Frank Scavo describes the new technology strategy which is not Microsoft-centric. I can’t imagine being a software developer at Infor… unless you really like variety.
Now a Viable Competitor to SAP and Oracle?
Becoming the third-largest ERP provider does not make Infor the third best, or best or fifth-best. It simply makes it the third-largest. Customers want up-to-date applications that fit their business. They want as much functionality as possible in one suite so they don’t have to learn different user interfaces. Customers want products that can rapidly evolve as their businesses evolve. At some point, if it really intends to be relevant, Infor must do the hard (and expensive) work of rewriting the core system.
There is no magic wand. Ask Microsoft who gave up on Project Green. Ask Oracle how long Fusion was (is) in development. Ask SAP about the lead time and resources to develop ByDesign. Changing direction with each new acquisition or market challenge will not get Infor where it needs to go.