Infor Global Solutions continues its portfolio expansion

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INFORMATION: Free information is available from INFOR on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

More dramatic consolidation in the mid-tier ERP market occurred recently when Infor Global Solutions acquired Lilly Software Associates, the company founded by one of the pioneers in software for manufacturing management, Dick Lilly. Lilly Software represents a good acquisition: users have always liked the companys highly productive graphical interface, comprehensive and integrated applications, and its willingness to keep in step with new ideas and technology, embracing for example Eli Goldratts (author of The Goal) Theory of Constraints, Microsofts .NET initiative and other developments.

Mike Spragg, UK MD, Infor Global SolutionsSo what can existing users of Lilly Software look forward to and what is the market being offered by the now larger parent company? Plenty, claims Mike Spragg, Infor Global Solutions managing director in the UK. For a start, the company knows where it wants to go and wont settle for second best; the impression given is that it wont itself be consolidated in the future, which has to be good news for customers wanting a long-term business partner, he says.

The evidence shows Infor has already built up substantial corporate momentum, is well funded and boasts a strong management team. Now twelve and half times larger than it was two and a half years ago, it aims to be a $1.3bn business within three years. Its aggressive acquisition policy means it is amassing a breadth and depth of products and services able to address practically any requirement in manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, plus vertical industries such as aerospace, automotive, defence, chemical, pharmaceutical, paper and others. This is matched by worldwide customer support services (Infor has offices in 30 countries and customers in 45).

Besides a long-term strategic partner, what most companies want, says Spragg, is a supplier that invests in the future, spends properly on R&D, comes out with new products to meet changes in business practice, and employs people with relevant expertise and commitment. Customers also want products and services that are not generalised, but meet their specific needs. Good funding, a strategy of growth and rigorous management to deliver profitability means we can afford to invest and make sure this approach benefits customers, he claims. Similar to many other software companies, Infor outsources routine programming, but has substantial in-house expertise to develop cutting-edge technology.

The company clearly has high ambitions and a vigorous plans for growth: currently, revenues stands at $377 million, gained from discrete manufacturing, distribution and process industries. Its customers are mainly in the USA, Europe and Asia, highlighting its worldwide presence. These days, companies large and small work in global supply chains. They want a supplier that will support them strategically, but offers products and services that reflect regional requirements. They also want resources on hand to deal with local demands and changing conditions. We can do that, he says.

Fine, but what about the continuity and development of products of companies Infor acquires? Spragg says the companys policy is to provide continued support, while gradually developing new systems. Customers will have the choice of continuing with their existing investments and getting the best out of these assets, but they will also have the choice in years to come of migrating to more advanced products. The value of this approach, he says, is that customers can stay with a stable, known partner and migrate to evolving technology, rather than risk the disruption of starting anew with another vendor.

There is no doubt more consolidation will take place in the ERP market, just as it did in the CAD business. What the customer wants to know is that the vendor will be durable and survive, will reliably provide whatever product developments are required to support the customers business, and offer good value for money. To do that the supplier must make the right decisions. On the evidence of its performance to date, Infor looks well placed to not only survive, but also thrive.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from INFOR on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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