Infor pres says pace is critical to taking competition to Oracle, SAP
Duncan Angove, Infor president.
The president of Infor – which claims to be the third largest enterprise apps firm behind Oracle and SAP – says rapid development and business agility are key to the firm’s strategy. He said that the recently launched ION integration technology is the fastest-growing product in the firm’s history.
"We consider ourselves the world’s largest start-up," Angove told CBR. "We’ve hired 600 engineers now [since Charles Phillips became CEO in October 2010] to work on purpose-built engines – we don’t want monolithic systems, we want a distributed, loosely-coupled architecture where people are not held back by having to synch to a monolithic code base."
Infor was founded in 2002 under the name Agilisys, in Alpahretta, Georgia, and today the company is the result of around 40 acquisitions. It’s privately held, with the majority shareholder being Golden Gate Capital.
There were four senior executives who joined Infor from Oracle late in 2010 and early this year, including Phillips. Duncan Angove came over as president of products, marketing and support, Pam Murphy is now COO, and Stephan Scholl is now EVP global field operations. One Infor insider says: "It almost felt like an Oracle takeover."
"We started with a three-month deep-dive, detailed business review," says Angove. "Charles [Phillips] is definitely a product guy, and he was looking at how we set out a compelling roadmap. We’ll be doing different acquisitions, not buying cash but buying products."
"Right from the first three months there was this whole emphasis on speed. People have been shocked at how fast we have made decisions. For instance, when we bought Lawson we closed it on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday we approved the hiring of 71 new engineers in that business," Angove adds.
"As long as you stay loosely coupled you can move at pace," Angove says. "We think of it like a squadron of speedboats joined together – people are more energized, and it’s easier to stay energetic when you’re winning."
Angove said ION Suite — said to be a lightweight middleware layer built into the software that helps to ease any integration challenges customers would otherwise face – is helping to sell other Infor products. However he was adamant that, "We don’t want to get into the standalone middleware space."
The company is also gearing up for the launch of ‘Mongoose’, a platform as a service (PaaS) development environment. "It’s focused on extending Infor applications," Angove explained. "We have 1,500 application partners that generate a quarter of our licence revenue, and they want to extend applications without having to redevelop them. Mongoose will help them provision on-premise or in the cloud and it will automatically come with ION integration and automatically come with contextual applications that run in Infor Workspace."
Angove also said the company has been focusing on what he calls the ‘beauty’ of its applications – the look and feel and usability. "I won’t ship it if it’s not beautiful," he said.