Infor Hits the Road with New ‘Infor10’ Brand
September 6, 2011 Alex Woodie
Fresh off its acquisition of Lawson Software, Infor has embarked on an international road show to proselytize about its software and its new “Infor10” brand. The name change, which debuted at its Infor Channel Partner Summit held in July, has been applied to all of its mainstream enterprise products–including four IBM i-based ERP suites–but not its newly acquired Lawson products.
So, what is Infor10? According to the company’s Infor10 webpage , the new name is an umbrella term that groups all of its current enterprise software, including ERP, CRM, EAM, HCM, business intelligence, and financial management applications. Infor10 has also been applied to its new graphical client, called Workspace; its ION integration software; its cloud services; and the Infor10 Mobile Application Server, which appears to be a new offering.
Additionally, the Infor10 name is used to reflect pre-integrated suites targeting 13 industries (Infor13 apparently didn’t have a nice ring to it). The 13 Infor10 industry solutions are available for aerospace and defense; automotive; chemicals; distribution; equipment, service management, and rental; fashion; food and beverage; general manufacturing; healthcare; high tech; hospitality; industrial equipment and machinery; and the public sector. For most of these solutions, the company offers the choice of an IBM i or an open systems solution. Most also come in three editions, including Express, Business, and Enterprise, that offer varied functionality and prices.
Infor used the Infor10 re-branding exercise as a chance to rename many of its IBM i-based suites. The old Infor ERP LX (the BPCS product) is now Infor10 ERP iEnterprise (LX). Infor ERP System21 is now Infor10 ERP Process iBusiness (System21). The old Infor ERP XA (the MAPICS product) is now Infor10 ERP Discrete iEnterprise (XA). There is also Infor10 Distribution iBusiness (A+), the new name for the RPG-based application that Infor obtained with its acquisition of daly.commerce way way back in 2004.
The LX, XA, and System21 suites are the primary IBM i applications that Infor wants to sell to new customers, and what it wants its other IBM i-using customers to upgrade to. (Infor Distribution Enterprise i is in the process of being merged with another distribution app, SX.enterprise). Because these three apps are receiving the fruit of Infor’s development efforts–such as Web services hooks, the capability to use the ION workflow and enterprise service bus (ESB) software, and access to the new Workspace GUI–they have been rewarded with the new Infor10 name.
The IBM i apps that are missing the Infor10 ride include Infor ERP KBM, Infor ERP PRISM, and Infor ERP PRMS. The company still supports these applications (Remember the company’s pledge, made when it was still called Agilisys and acquired SSA, to never sunset a product?) but they will not receive the fruits of development that other products are receiving.
It doesn’t appear that any of the Lawson products are getting the Infor10 treatment at this point, with the possible exception of Lawson’s Human Capital Management (HCM) software. Infor previously sold a human resources (HR) application called Workforce Management, and it was one of Infor’s biggest priorities when the Lawson acquisition was completed in July to quickly merge Lawson’s highly regarded HCM software with its own HR app.
Lawson, by the way, has been tucked inside SoftBrands, a company that Infor’s corporate parents acquired two years ago. Infor describes SoftBrands–which developed an ERP product for manufacturers called FourthShift and an IBM i-based hospitality suite used by some of the biggest casinos that aren’t on Agilysys–as an “affiliate” and a “partner,” even though FourthShift and SoftBrands hotel management system (HMS) and property management systems (PMS) appear on the Infor website.
There’s also a fair bit of marketing associated with the new name. Infor says Infor10 is about “reimagining enterprise software” and “survival of the fastest.” Its Infor10 marketing brochure has black and red pictures of turbo-charged engines, and is liberally sprinkled with some of IT’s favorite buzzwords, like seamless, integrated, fast, flexible, simple, lightweight, unbreakable, empower, automatic, and agile.
Infor will be spreading the Infor10 gospel during a six-week road trip that kicks off September 26 in London. Dates on the North American leg of the tour include September 27 in Minneapolis, October 20 (Dallas), October 27 (Mexico City), November 2 (Phoenix), and November 3 (Philadelphia). The Infor10 traveling caravan will also make stops in Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Stockholm, Rotterdam, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Melbourne. To register for an event, go to www.infor.com/events/infor10ontheroad.
Infor’s partners were given a sneak peek at the new Infor10 branding and marketing campaign–which went live along with an Infor website redesign sometime in the past couple of weeks–during the North American Infor Channel Partner Summit held in Orlando, Florida, July 13-15. More than 200 channel partners attended the event, according to a recent post on the Infor Blog by Jeff Abbott, Infor’s vice president of global alliances and channels.
Infor, you will remember, unveiled its new Infor Partner Network (IPN) in June as part of an aggressive plan to double channel revenue in three years. “We’ve recognized it’s time to think outside the box, question the status quo, and take our business beyond boundaries,” Abbott says in his post.
Infor has come a long way over the past decade, and is hot on the heels of ERP giants Oracle and SAP. The Infor10 rebranding–along with new executive leadership under CEO Charles Phillips, new R&D with Workspace, ION, and cloud, and the IPN–are all pieces of a puzzle the company is assembling to threaten the Big Two and present a compelling alternative source of enterprise software for big and mid-size organizations.
Infor10 adds some glossy marketing polish to an already solid array of software and services. And what’s more, unlike other big app vendors, Infor isn’t afraid to say “System i” (although it appears allergic to IBM‘s most recent IBM i re-branding). The recent launch of Solution Editions for Infor’s three core IBM i ERP suites is another step in the right direction. SAP and Oracle shouldn’t get too comfortable.