Infor reaping the rewards of $1 billion R&D investment

If you haven’t heard much about Infor up until recently, there’s a good reason why. While competitors such as SAP and Oracle may have been marketing their brands heavily, Infor have instead been investing around $1 billion on R&D in a bid to release a product that can compete with the big players.

Considering the fact that Infor are now regarded as the third largest enterprise software company, it would be fair to say that their approach is proving to be fruitful.

However, now appears to be the time to put all of the advancements into practice. Charles Phillips of Infor had this to say regarding the strategy, and how now they are starting to plough more money into marketing their brand:

“We purposely didn’t do any marketing for the first 2.5 years. We had to fix plumbing and applications. We’ve spent $1 billion on R&D over the last three years so now it makes sense to be more aggressive with marketing and PR. I’d rather do it when we have something to talk about.”

When one analyses Infor’s business model, it’s not hard to see how quickly $1 billion can be spent on development. Unlike SAP and Oracle, which target the masses, Infor have built a business which focusses on niches. They have invested in countless verticals, with each solution tailored with the appropriate features and processes.

For example, their healthcare suite has been developed solely for hospitals – each and every feature will be of use. There is no need for the costly customization costs which blight other products.

However, it’s not just the verticals which have been at the center of the R&D. Infor is also highly-regarded for its user interface and its next version has grabbed plenty of headlines. Code-named Gramercy Park, Infor have developed something which anticipates what users are looking for by relying on contextual data. It’s all in the name of making processes more efficient and it is expected to be shown in September.

One area where little investment has occurred, at least in comparison to rival companies, is in data centers. In the case of Oracle, they took years to build their own infrastructure to deal with their software demands. In the case of Infor, they have simply relied on Amazon Web Services.

Phillips has highlighted the importance of the cloud in pretty much every interview he has conducted since his appointment as CEO of Infor. He has continuously said that industry-specific products can’t be offered “in a box”, and regular feature updates are always needed. The cloud obviously makes this easier – and when it’s run by the biggest provider in the world, everything seems to make sense.

So, the message is simple – prepare to hear a lot more from Infor over the next few years. While the R&D process will never be over, there’s no doubt that their products are starting to become more renowned through their marketing efforts and they are posing a serious threat to companies who have dominated this industry for decades.

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