Infor, a company that assembled a large portfolio of enterprise applications through dozens of acquisitions over the past decade, is reinventing itself as a serious cloud contender with a flurry of announcements made at this week's Inforum user conference.
Infor's president, Duncan Angove, noted that the company has spent more than a billion dollars in research and investment to stay competitive and ensure its software satisfies customer demand for flexible cloud solutions that leverage emerging trends such as machine learning and Big Data analytics.
Data Science and Development
One of the biggest announcements of the week was the company's introduction of Infor Xi, a cloud application platform based on the Infor 10x platform it released last year. Built on Amazon Web Services' infrastructure, it supports several open source systems, including Red Hat's Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Middleware and EnterpriseDB's Postgres Plus database.
Infor also has established an internal team of developers, mathematicians, engineers and economists called Dynamic Science Labs. The goal is to create apps infused with machine learning and Big Data analytics.
"Infor recognizes that most companies are unable to afford the hardware and operations research personnel to take advantage of their data, so Infor Dynamic Science Labs builds machine-learning directly into our cloud applications and makes it available as part of customers' subscriptions," said Angove in a statement.
According to Infor, the team has already created two apps: a revenue management system that optimizes 350,000 hotel rooms a day, and a talent science application used to conduct behavioral assessments for 11 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Cloud ERP and Financials
Infor also made two major product announcements.
In a move designed to lure customers away from cloud ERP provider NetSuite, Infor introduced an ERP platform called CloudSuite Business that includes financial management and human resource management tools designed to appeal to global companies with multi-site subsidiaries. Other features include supplier management and project management tools, CRM functionality and business analytics.
Infor is offering financial incentives to NetSuite customers to switch, including a waiver of subscription fees until a customer is live on the application.
It also rolled out CloudSuite Financials, software that Angove said eliminates the need for multiple bolt-on applications and automates functions such as close and reconciliation management and treasury applications. CloudSuite Financials, which will be available next year, utilizes the company's Ion middleware to integrate financial and operational systems.