SAP-Oracle duopoly is over, says Infor chief exec

Monday, April 22, 2013

The days of SAP (NYSE: SAP) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) dominating the enterprise software space are about to come to an end, business application software provider Infor's CEO Charles Phillips said during the keynote address at the Inforum conference taking place in Orlando, Florida.

The company, which Phillips said is known as "the world's largest startup," is giving the IT behemoths a run for their money with its focus on making business applications "beautiful, flexible and social," with an appreciation for design.

There are 21 industry verticals which IT firms have traditionally focused on but Infor believes that trying to apply generic software solutions to each vertical and then customizing or modifying the solution can be timely and costly. As such, the company has identified 2,151 micro verticals and is looking to provide solutions for each of these, which is where Infor is investing the bulk of its money, the executive said.

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In order to improve the user interface experience, last year Infor created the Hook & Loop think tank design agency. According to Marc Scibelli, creative VP at Infor and head of Hook & Loop, the idea is to use the innovation that is taking place at consumer-grade software and take that to the enterprise area. Currently enterprise software available on the market is functional, reliable, usable and convenient, but the Infor differentiator is in also making that software pleasurable and meaningful, he said.

One result of Hook & Loop's work has been the introduction of Infor Ming.le, a platform for social collaboration, business process improvement and analytics. Embedded in systems like ERP, supply chain management (SCM), human capital management (HCM), and enterprise asset management (EAM), Ming.le allows employees from different areas throughout the company to communicate and collaborate in a Twitter-like setting.

Ming.le forms part of Infor's 10x enterprise release, launched Monday, which in turn can be integrated on the ION framework, connecting applications and storing information which is published in XML (the "language of the internet"), making data easier to read, use and store.

Privately held Infor has 166 offices worldwide, with presence in over 40 countries. It has 1,745 partners and last year brought in US$2.8bn in revenues. A number of the Infor management, including CEO Phillips, come from Oracle.