We have heard a lot about consolidation at the top of the enterprise applications market, with Oracle having rarely been out of the headlines since it first announced plans to purchase PeopleSoft a couple of years ago. However, consolidation has been occurring elsewhere in the market as well. Infor, for example has been quietly but steadily buying its way into an enterprise applications portfolio.
Infor has been building up its enterprise applications portfolio.
Infor is now the largest global software provider that has an almost exclusive focus on some key vertical markets in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Its products span areas such as supply chain planning, relationship management, demand management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management, marketing-driven distribution, and business intelligence.
The company, in previous forms, dates back some 30 years, but has started to become better known under the Infor name when Agilisys bought German ERP provider Infor:swan back in 2004. Over recent years, it has added products such as Lilly Software, IncoDev and MAPICS.
Most recently, the company’s venture capital parent, Golden Gate Capital, closed the acquisition of Geac, adding a significant prize to the portfolio. In a somewhat complex rearrangement, Geac’s manufacturing applications will be added to the Infor portfolio. The financial and corporate performance management applications, however, now provide the framework of a newly formed Golden Gate Capital funded company, named ‘Extensity’, which will target the integrated financial applications software market.
Extensity will be made up of two newly formed business units, namely financial applications and industry-specific applications (ISA). The financial applications unit includes the products and employees who worked within Geac’s Enterprise Server, SmartStream, Anael, Extensity, and Comshare product groups.
It is unlikely that the vendor has finished its spending spree; further acquisitions in specific vertical areas are almost certainly on the cards, potentially helping it to gain a stronger foothold in, for example, the public sector as well.
Of course, in the mid-market, Microsoft is likely to become a significant threat if it can continue to work with its partners on vertical expertise. However, this is an area where Infor has been an established player for many years, and in vertical markets, a deep understanding of the real issues can make more of a difference than a pleasing user interface.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)