Infor Hooks Up with Salesforce.com
September 13, 2011 Alex Woodie
Infor and Salesforce.com announced a new partnership this month that will result in new products that integrate Infor’s back-office ERP applications with Salesforce.com’s front-office applications delivered via the Internet. The deal is aimed at giving the sales, marketing, and services department at Infor shops a quicker route to using cloud and social media capabilities that are integrated with their core ERP applications and data. Salesforce.com gets an ownership stake in Infor.
Infor has committed to building three solutions that integrate its applications with Salesforce.com and its Force.com program. Force.com, if you don’t already know, is a cloud-based framework for rapidly building custom applications that offer the latest in social networking and mobility. According to Salesforce.com, there are about 220,000 Force.com apps in use by about 97,000 companies.
The first offering, InForce Everywhere, will be a Force.com application that brings ERP data into Salesforce. The solution will give Salesforce users access to information stored in Infor ERP applications, including orders, invoices, contacts, quotes, shipments, receivables, and return merchandise authorizations (RMAs). InForce Everywhere will tap into the Infor ERP data via ION, Infor’s workflow and service bus, and give users access to Salesforce Chatter, its social media tool. Infor says it will ship this product later this year.
The second product unveiled by Infor is a quote, order, and proposal management application called InForce Order Management. This offering (also based on Force.com) will integrate with the core Salesforce.com CRM offering, and give Salesforce.com’s Sales and Service Cloud users access to pricing and availability information stored in Infor ERP.
The final Force.com product is InForce Marketing. This offering integrates with Infor’s existing CRM Epiphany software, and delivers inbound and outbound campaign marketing and lead maturation capabilities using the Salesforce.com cloud delivery platform.
This isn’t Infor’s first foray into the cloud rodeo. In fact, just one year ago, the company launched Infor24, which is based on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and gives Infor customer access to Windows-based ERP, expense management, and enterprise asset management (EAM) applications. Infor24, like the new Force.com tools, hooks into Infor ERP systems through ION.
ION has become a key technology in the Infor technology stack. The Java-based product is only being made available with certain Infor products. For companies using Infor’s IBM i-based solutions, the ERP applications that have been included into the new Infor10 campaign (which we covered here last week) and which now bear the Infor10 name will work with ION and therefore enjoy the bounty of new development and outside product integration that Infor currently has underway.
Infor’s customers are very conservative, and aren’t flocking to the Web-based cloud applications at this time, but they are showing more interest in it, Infor CEO Charles Phillips said on the stage at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference two weeks ago.
“They don’t quite understand it all yet, but they’re interested,” Phillips told Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage at the show. “So the buzz is seeping down to our customer base. We say, ‘When you’re ready, when you do that upgrade, we have a cloud suite of applications [ready for you].’ As they upgrade, we’ll take them into the cloud.”
Infor already has one million subscribers in the cloud, Phillips said at the show. That’s a small number compared to the total number of employees around the world who work with Infor applications, but it’s a start.
What’s even better for Infor is that, by partnering with Salesforce.com, it takes another shot at Oracle. There’s no love lost between Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. As a former Oracle president, Phillips knows this, and uses it to his advantage.