Volume 13, Number 29 -- October 15, 2013

Infor All Up In the Cloud with New E-Commerce and ERP Upgrade Programs

Published: October 15, 2013

by Alex Woodie

Infor last week made two notable product-related announcements that feature the cloud front and center. This includes a new e-commerce storefront called Rhythm that will live in the cloud, and a new ERP upgrade program called UpgradeX that--you guessed it--will enable existing Infor customers to simultaneously upgrade their ERP software and move run it in the cloud.

UpgradeX is designed to entice Infor customers running older ERP software to upgrade to the latest 10x versions of their ERP, and to move them to the cloud. This is an interesting twist on Infor's efforts to get customers onto more current releases of its software, which has been going on for years, most recently with the Flex program it unveiled in 2009.

Under UpgradeX, Infor promises to manage the entire application upgrade and migration process for its customers. The program requires a "modest" one-time set-up fee. After the fee is paid and the software is upgraded and migrated to the cloud, the customer pays Infor a subscription fee for the software, the hosting, and the management.

Customers stand to benefit in a couple of ways. First and foremost, they'll get access to the latest 10x release of their ERP software. The 10x products, if you remember, are those that hook into Infor's ION middleware, which gives customers access to a variety of social, mobile, cloud, and analytical add-on applications to surround their core ERP. UpgradeX isn't the only Infor program designed to help customers move to the 10x programs, but it is the latest one.

Some customers will also benefit from the cloud hosting, but this is less of a slam dunk for Infor. While it's true that some customers are looking to get out of the IT business and to hand the hosting, care, and feeding of their core ERP applications over to somebody else, the fact is that few companies today are ready to move their ERP into the cloud.

Still, the cloud looms obvious in business IT's future, like an approaching prairie thunderstorm, and Infor is smart to try and get in front of the curve instead of ceding the cloud advantage to smaller and more nimbler cloud competitors, like Workday, Netsuite, and Salesforce.com.

UpgradeX is currently only available for Infor LN, Infor M3, Infor Lawson, Infor SyteLine, and Infor EAM. The Infor M3 and Infor Lawson (S3) apps run on the IBM i server; everything else here does not.

Meanwhile, Infor's new Rhythm offering promises to provide its customers with a modern-looking e-commerce storefront that Infor runs for you in the cloud.

The offering is like an all-inclusive vacation: it includes just about everything needed to get an e-commerce website up and running. This includes the software, layout and design from Infor's Hook & Loop agency, hosting in an Infor (or, more likely, a partner) data center, and technical support. The software includes the e-commerce engine, the consumer-facing website, pre-packaged ION integrations to ERP systems, natural language search, content management, layout, and predictive analytics.

Rhythm is focused only on e-commerce websites right now, but in the future Infor plans to expand its Rhythm website offerings to customers in the government, healthcare, and hospitality markets. Infor sells monthly subscriptions to Rhythm. Existing customers include Tommy Bahama, Microsoft, Mohegan Sun, and Navy Federal Credit Union.

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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