Infor, Charles Phillips and Software as a Service

Since Charles Phillips became CEO of Infor, it has grown to a reported 2,750 SaaS (Software as a Service) customers. Of these, at least 1,600 have converted their licensed software applications to cloud application instead. They have done this through the UpgradeX program, which Charles Phillips has spearheaded.

According to Infor, the statistics on the health of the company are incredibly good. They have reported that, of the 2,750 customers:

  • 25% use ERP, which are mission critical financial SaaS applications.
  • 75% use so-called ‘edge’ apps. This includes supply chain management, product lifecycle management, configure-price-quote, enterprise asset management, HCM, and CRM.

Why the SaaS Popularity?

One of the reasons why Infor’s SaaS apps appeal so much is because they are on the cloud. As a result, the software is always up to date, and it means that the costs of running an IT infrastructure are greatly reduced. This is something that has an instant appeal to executives who are responsible for the decision to moving into the cloud.

Essentially, Charles Phillips aims to help companies reduce the cost of buying individual software licenses by giving their systems management out of hands to Infor. This means they receive all the necessary infrastructure, which is always up to date, for the duration of their contract.

There are some CIOs, however, who continue to believe that they can stick with original software and keep costs low. In reality, however, it seems that they do not have a realistic picture of the cost of this software. They forget to factor in things like security and other safeguards, as well as the cost of maintenance and updates.

Before joining Infor as CEO, Charles Phillips was employed by Oracle. Oracle and SAP are now Infor’s only remaining competition. Interestingly, both these companies are also focusing on SaaS to provide their customers with lower cost, better applications. As such, Infor isn’t unique, but what sets them apart is that they use Amazon, which the most capable and most affordable public cloud around.

According to Phillips, the performance and scalability of AWS, Amazon’s infrastructure, is exactly what has set Infor ahead of the rest. Thanks to this system, they are able to drive innovation in the world of IT, while continuing to focus on lowering costs. What also sets them apart is that they focus on very specific niche markets, developing systems that work specifically for them.

For Phillips, the fact that Infor is not dependent on infrastructure agendas is what enables them to create data driven innovation. He believes that databases like SAP Hana are actually constraining, because memory is not the only thing that drives data. Working with Amazon means that Infor has access to a huge supercomputer, using their Redshift and Hadoop services as and when required. That said, what Infor still seems to be lacking is name recognition. However, in the capable hands of Charles Phillips it is likely that it will only be a matter of time before that has been overcome.

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