Evaluating Infor for 2022 and Beyond

infor
We are seeing a trend toward industry-specific and cloud-based ERP solutions — and Infor looks to be answering the call by innovating and investing in their future.

We are seeing a trend toward industry-specific and cloud-based ERP solutions — and Infor looks to be answering the call by innovating and investing in their future. For this edition of The ERP Advisor, special guest Carly Shube joined us to evaluate Infor’s offerings for product-based companies, with a specific look at CloudSuite Industrial.

In 2002, Infor was founded as an ERP software company called Agilisys. Two years later, the company acquired a German software company called Infor Business Solutions, and shortly thereafter they adopted the name Infor.

Within the company’s first eight years of business, Infor accumulated a whopping 35 acquisitions, with a focus that began — and remains to this day — on the manufacturing industry.

In 2013, Infor launched its CloudSuite line, and by 2016, Infor had over 68 million active cloud users.

From 2010 to 2019, Infor was under the leadership of Charles Phillips, who organized the buyout of Lawson Software, adding healthcare to Infor’s industry portfolio. In 2020, Koch Industries acquired Infor, and it currently has partners in over 170 countries.

Manufacturing and Distribution

We have observed an uptick in manufacturing, where manufacturers are doing more distribution, and vice versa. As the manufacturing industry grows, it is essential for businesses to track their availability and their allocations of orders to customers.

Infor’s Cloud in 2022

As our Founder and Managing Principal, Shawn Windle, noted, “Infor made a major investment in cloud and they did it early, and now it is paying dividends. By rewriting existing application layers and leveraging existing business logic, Infor was able to develop new apps such as CloudSuite Industrial which are positioned well for midsized businesses.”

Infor has 13,500 cloud customers and is growing cloud presence through its CloudSuite offerings. Infor’s website claims that it is “the only multi-tenant cloud enterprise solution infrastructure that delivers industry, cross-industry, operational, and technology platform capabilities.”

Infor’s Go-Forward Products

Infor has solidified their go-forward products with strong options for certain verticals. One example is Infor Mongoose, which was introduced years ago as a way for companies to efficiently customize their applications. Building an application was no longer a strenuous task and could be quickly deployed via desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Mongoose requires little coding to create a successful application and comes at a relatively low cost to customers.

Infor CloudSuite Industrial Enterprise system serves as a company’s single source of data. The technology supports company growth, innovation, and efficiency. It is powered through Syteline, a standard software package for manufacturers available both on-premise and in the cloud. Infor CloudSuite Distribution system aims to reduce transaction costs by automating previously manual tasks, with a monthly update schedule for introducing new feature functionality.

Expanding its artificial intelligence offerings, Infor introduced Birst, an analytics tool embedded with content and metrics which allow for data-driven decision-making. Birst forgoes the bolt-ons that are typically necessary for this kind of data architecture, ensuring low cost of maintenance.

Infor’s Partners

Our evaluation of Infor’s implementation partners is that they generally have sufficient industry experience to inform their work with customers — and we deem it important that our clients working with experts in their field. Similarly, we here at ERP Advisors Group seek the best people to represent not just the app, but also the functionality and the industry’s best practices.

The Future of Infor

Our prediction: Infor will continue pursuing manufacturing-centric verticals with more in-depth and specialized functionalities. The company is poised to take market share from their competitors, because Infor is asserting itself as a standout choice in the market for manufacturers and distributors.

It may be soon that we see Infor expand its market reach to other industries, such as professional services or financials; however, Infor will continue to prioritize their mastered market of manufacturing and distribution. As the company has a reputation of proven success, we are seeing that companies are hopeful that this expansion will come soon.

From our perspective, there is not an obvious cloud partner choice for Tier 1 ERPs. And perhaps Infor is going after that first-place position through their offerings to midsize companies.

A Final Word of Advice

Anyone who is considering an implementation of Infor should have a detailed conversation with their implementation partner before making their official selection. Our independent ERP consultants can help you evaluate your unique needs and help you make the right decisions for your organization. Contact us today for an individualized ERP consultation.

Make Sure Your ERP Implementation is a Success

Juliette Welch: Thank you everyone for joining us for today's webinar: Evaluating Infor in 2021 and Beyond.

Shawn Windle is one of our speakers for today. Shawn is the Founder and Managing Principal of ERP Advisors Group based in Denver, Colorado. Shawn has over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software industry.

Carly Shube is our guest today. Carly is a consultant at ERP Advisors Group and has brought her background and experience in accounting and customer service to our team.

On today's call we will evaluate Infor’s offerings for product-based companies with a specific look at CloudSuite Industrial.

Welcome Shawn and Carly.

Carly Shube: Hi.

Juliette: Thanks for joining me today.

Yeah, so today we're discussing Infor and its services more in depth than we did in our legacy software review series earlier in the summer.

So, Shawn, with that said, I want to ask you, as a word of introduction, can you provide your perspective on how Infor is currently positioned as an ERP provider right now?

Shawn Windle: I can.

I'm kind of looking a little broadly, too, and with some real time information. I think Carly, you'll probably talk about some of the selections that we've engaged Infor in which will be great.

But also just in terms of conferences we've been to, other ERP deals, and sort of looking really broadly — like trying to think even sort of globally. But if we look at sort of the North American market specifically, Infor really is a contender.

I think they've always been, but unlike some of the other vendors you, they really made a major investment five plus years ago to go cloud and they did it early. And it wasn't easy because they acquired a lot of apps and went through a lot of acquisitions which is really hard to do.

So, you got a lot of different products, a lot of different executives trying to figure out which product is going to win. I think Microsoft went through that. I personally went through that with Oracle in the early 2000s. Many vendors have been through that. But Infor sort of took a stance; it was a little bit different.

They said, let's rewrite some of the layers of these applications and leverage the existing business logic and some of the more behind the scenes part for some of their really core apps, and they've done a good job with that. And they've also put a ton of money — like a ton — we're talking billions of dollars into their products.

And we're in a little bit of an interesting financial situation because of that, and they got through it right? They were able to find an investor who I think maybe was one of their biggest licensees.

Juliette: Oh, interesting.

Shawn: Yeah, it's quite — it's very interesting.

But now they've got good products that are positioned well for mid-sized businesses.

They've got some enterprise software, too.

We were just chatting about that this morning.

And yeah, it's — they're very formidable, great competitors.

They've got a good channel strategy. I think it's changing a little bit with some real time data you've gotten.

But we love the products, and we like how they're positioned, especially with our clients. Or to midsized clients they make a lot of sense, and also the pricing, too, on their cloud-based offerings bring down the point of entry for pricing.

Now there's a little longer total cost of ownership over time, but a vendor can get into it, and it can do pretty well so.

Juliette: Entry level for a company just to get in and then they can grow from there.

Shawn: Yeah, exactly yeah, and even as we were sitting here thinking — I'm thinking through all this and I will say one thing for sure and I'm really talking to the camera right now but I'm not looking at it, which is for anybody that is hearing what we're talking about as usual my normal disclaimer is if we say something wrong, tell us and we will get it corrected.

We've had some vendors in the past — we had a blog entry that we put out where we forgot a really key vendor for a certain area. They got back in touch with us. We met with like five people to understand what was happening at that specific industry or for that specific industry segment at that company and now they're in all of our selections.

So, please let us know if there's something that's not quite right, because we're trying to be super serious about this, even though we really want to have fun. We appreciate that for sure. But we want to get it right. We want to have the right information absolutely.

So, that's a good overview for Infor.

Juliette: Okay, perfect. So, Carly let me ask you, with the work you're doing recently, what are you seeing with different implementation partners for Infor?

Carly Shube: Okay yeah, so I guess to talk about the partners I’d also have to talk about the industries that we're looking at.

So, Infor’s bread and butter — it's not their sole focus — but their bread and butter is the manufacturing and distribution verticals and so their partners — what we're finding is that their partners have a lot of experience in these industries.

And then they'll build out some very specific XYZ things such as shipping labels and printing labels and all of the complexity that comes along with all of that and the whole new world of trying to Amazon and keeping up with them and all of this and that.

So, you have partners that are really developing specific needs around that or along the manufacturing line, things like that of those natures that they're really working on, and so what I'm seeing from our partners is that they are coming to the table with very specific and long experience in these industries and in these markets. As well as the hunger and drive and given their competitors a real run for their money to present themselves and put forth a really good solid offering.

Juliette: That’s really good to hear because not everyone can say that for the work we do.

Shawn: Yeah it is. Yeah, I think just to dovetail on what you said, things are changing in the industry for ERP. We're seeing it first-hand.

We're talking to some of our vendors that we've done a lot of work with and like, hey, are you guys going to show up for these deals or not? Maybe not quite as hungry.

But what's interesting about Infor, especially with sort of a partner approach, which I think they do that up to a certain revenue size, whatever it is. But when the partners are involved, these folks have tons of industry experience, which — like Carly you're saying when we're working with our clients, we just want the best people to represent not just the app, but also the functionality and the industry best practices.

Like we have a client that you’re working with right now that went through a whole lean manufacturing five to seven years ago. They've been — that's the only thing most of the people there know. They don't even know it's lean.

So, to find a partner who really knows lean manufacturing and their application and knows how to implement lean within the app is like, wow, that's huge. This is great and so we found great Infor partner that does that.

So, I totally agree, like that to me — I love when a partner — even a direct sales team that’s fine, but when they really care. And I think we’ve seen that, haven’t we?

Carly: Yeah, and just to make sure we see why I think — they do also have direct for Infor.

But the question was specifically related to our partners, but so you know, really, I'm just — that's what we're observing today is that the partners specifically are really coming to the table with these really solid in-depth information, the unique offerings, things like that.

Shawn: The extensions —

Carly: The extensions that are very like — they own it, but it's built all within the same platform, the infra-platform and architecture and stuff, the extensions for industry specific needs.

So, it's seamless.

Juliette: Yeah, so the fact that they have the experience to back it up and not just offer it is huge, right?

Shawn: That's it.

Juliette: So, Shawn, recently you mentioned in a press release that Infor has solidified their go-forward products with strong options for certain verticals. Could you describe this in more detail for us?

Shawn: I can and I'm feeling a little bit frisky today, so I'll sort of give you more color than I probably normally would. I can remember with my last company — so say 2005 — looking at the Infor products and trying to decipher what was happening because there were a lot of products — actually I think it must have been 2004 or 2005.

I had a client that had implemented daily commerce which was a standalone — sort of a wholesale distribution package — had a big customer support function to it and at that time it was relatively new to the organization I was with. And the partners said, hey, you’re software person go out and figure out what happened with this implementation because the client’s saying that it didn't go well.

I'm like, okay, sure we'll figure it out. I don't know anything about it, but maybe I do because I was at JD Edwards PeopleSoft and I've implemented this stuff so I should be able to figure it out. Hopefully I can figure it out — one of those kinds of situations.

So, I got on site and started to understand the business processes, the requirements and the people and the rest of it, the strategy the, technology — people, process, technology strategy. Our lenses that we view the businesses on.

And it's like, whoa, the app is okay, but the implementation didn't go very well. And even to the point where unfortunately they let go of the CFO who was responsible for the implementation. So, that was not good. I hate that. I do not like that I would so much rather talk to somebody upfront than on the back end.

And I really mean that; that's why we do these calls. If anybody has any questions, call us.

We talked to a firm in Egypt two days ago. Oh wow, yeah, they're like well, we're thinking this this and this. I'm like no, don't do that. Here's what you need to focus on. They're like, oh, you know, we really knew that. So, it was cool at least to get him going to the right direction.

Juliette: Right.

Shawn: So, going back to this daily commerce implementation. So, I started doing a lot more research on Infor at that time and there were a lot of products, a lot. Like — I think again, I'm willing to be corrected — like over 100 software products that Infor had acquired in that time frame. Maybe a little bit later. To a ton of products like, whoa, what do you do with all those products? Which ones are going to win?

Microsoft acquired like two companies that each of them had two products, probably more, but it was only four products that we had to work through, whereas Infor had a lot more.

So, we started to get into the Infor product portfolio and really tried to decipher, was this the right app for the client? It was, but the implementation wasn't that great, so then it was like, okay, well who's supporting the implementations? And there were some firms that were out there.

I think that one was through maybe a PS team — a professional services team at Infor — but there weren't a lot of options for that particular product at that particular time for that particular Infor solution.

So, — and when a software vendor does terrible on my client, I'm never going to talk to him again. Like I'm really that biased and actually I have to do a shout out to Epicor because we did have some problems in the late 2010s and just recently we were able to really understand how the strategy is different. The software is different, the leadership — everything is different there, so we're bringing them into our selections now which is great.

So, it's not like I'm never going to come back, but it's really got to be right. So, at that point, with Infor I was just too confused and I didn't know what to tell my clients and I'm not going to go out and become an Infor product expert. That's what the salespeople job is, so we didn't do that much with them.

And then about five or six years ago, we sort of came back to the Infor solution. We had some clients that had heavy manufacturing requirements. It's like you look on paper, look at the website like wow, you got this Mongoose thing and all these other things that were really coming in it was like, hey, this could be a really good solution.

Got a good partner. And had a lot of success with that product, and we've done several projects since then. We're doing more now, so I don't even remember what you asked — what did you ask?

Juliette: That Infor has solidified their go-forward products now?

Shawn: That's right, so even as recent — as yesterday — we had the ERP liaison from Infor reach out saying, hey, you know, can I get you some data and stuff which is great. Which is another new thing that they're doing, which helps us to be able to have a contact.

Juliette: That's right, how can we help you?

Shawn: Right, and I'm texting saying, okay, so I think it's CloudSuite distribution, CloudSuite Industrial CloudSuite enterprise. There's the CPQ tool. There's a HCM. There's a CRM. What else? He's like that's pretty good.

So, it is much more clear what the apps are that they go to market with, which is good for us. But also there's more alignment even internally I think around those products so you don't have a lot of fighting for resources and that kind of thing.

It's like having like 100 children. And like — I got two or three — and it's like wow, that's enough and you have 100. Everybody’s like eating shoes and stuff. Wasn't there a schoolbook like that where they were? There's some kids, something anyway

Juliette: Maybe something like that “Old Woman in a Shoe” or something.

Shawn: Yeah, let me share this little kid that's like — nobody knows what they're doing because there's so many of them.

And that's what the products were. Now it's not that way. We know sort of the go forward products are.

There's definitely a layer of marketing that sort of goes over those names, much like Microsoft is done.

So, you want to scratch down a little bit below the surface to see which product makes sense. Some of their products are geared towards larger enterprises. Their implementations are bigger, but they're more scalable. There's more volume transactions, more functionality, more yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, it makes sense, and if you're a mid-sized organization, don't do that. Like that's going to choke you.

So, if you get the wrong partner who just sells those products and they don't sell the other products well, just ask the questions about where is this product normally sort of targeted and the size of enterprises — is it an enterprise — is it corporate, small, medium sized business or whatever?

And it's very clear what the answer will be. So, it's been a big change.

I mean honestly — again, feeling a little feisty — I used to think that Infor was sort of like the place where apps went to die. I'm just going to say it. That's not the case. It's definitely not the case.

They're putting money into the Syteline as a product.

I can't remember what distribution was based off of – do you remember?

Carly: SXE.

Shawn: Yeah, that's right.

So, like I think maybe — again, willing to be corrected — but like the Daily Commerce product was gone. But there's enough history there where you can see Lawson it's the basis for one which has been around for a long time — lots of companies still running that. I believe that is called M3 now, but that's changing also.

So anyway, just be aware of what products you're looking at, where they're positioned, and definitely that will drive the total cost of ownership.

Juliette: So, let me ask you this, do you think that they learned from experience or mistakes?

Because sometimes you learn your best — or do your best learning from mistakes or from feedback that they needed to dedicate very experienced people to very specific vertical markets to be able to help with the apps.

Shawn: That is a great question. I think that's off script, too. That was well done, seriously.

Juliette: I'm learning.

Shawn: Yes, but you know that is the key to the whole thing, because they did. I don't even know who they were — if it was the board or whatever PE private equity, KKR at one point, there's some different players that have been in and out at the ownership level.

But they did hire a very seasoned Oracle team and I can only imagine what the Infor partners thought about that because most example partners have been partners for like as long as some of us have been alive, we're not going to say who at this table.

Juliette: It might be me.

Shawn: Might be you, that's right. And they've been doing this forever and they're like who are these guys coming in here?

I mean that I that's my impression of what happened, but that team — Chuck Phillips led that, he was a senior executive at Oracle. He came in, brought another sort of, you know the layer with him. I think they moved to New York City at that time and they made a lot of strategic investments. They spent a boatload of money to basically do this rewrite, I think in preparation for the cloud as well as getting the UI, the user experiences, really cleaned up.

So, they look good and I mean, I think that investment was very risky. I think it was — even at that time I can remember looking at it like are you guys going to make it through this? Like, are you really viable honestly?

But man, that was the right play and I think that they're going to be in dividends from that for probably the next ten years through this whole cloud evolution, till we get to whatever comes after that, that would be an interesting topic to talk about — what's post-cloud?

Because there's all about cloud and ERP — what's after that?

So, long story short, you're spot on. That's exactly what happened.

These people had — they were visionaries — and I didn't agree with them, but I mean they're like a flea on the back of a very big dog.

So, we have like a little — and like sure, scratch a little bit, but it was the —

Juliette: Our finger’s just in it enough to know.

Shawn: Exactly.

Juliette: Well, it's almost, you know, I think of what is it, Noah — that everyone thought he was crazy, you know, but you said it, they were visionaries and here they are today and yeah, maybe blazed the trail a little bit.

Shawn: One more thing I would say — I wouldn't want to hog the whole conversation.

What I really love the most about software vendors — I was just thinking about this this morning — is the fact that they made that investment sort of probably went against the grain to say, I don't care, like I know this is what's right and they did it — that executive team — and I'm sure there was a lot of other folks and people on the call or like, oh, that was me. That's great, right?

But the cool thing about it is now you have a software vendor that is really strong and then you see this ecosystem that's just really solid around him.

Like I'll never forget when I was — I think implementing PeopleSoft in the late 90s or whatever it was and you just look at all these people that surround the apps.

I mean there's us, but there's implementers — there's everything from partner software partners — whatever it is out there that are all like creating their entire living from four or five people that made these decisions and I really see that with Infor that the channel is very healthy.

There's great people that are selling there that have good experience. Some new people, but a lot of people have a lot of good of experience and they've got good regional vice presidents that run the partners, and so it's a really good, healthy scene. I like that.

Juliette: That's good to hear.

Shawn: Now the rest is to Carly.

Juliette: So, Carly, speaking from the trenches, maybe based on your experience as an ERP consultant, what can you tell us about some of Infor’s products and function quality as a cloud ERP solution.

Yeah, I mean so, like I said, their bread and butter is in the manufacturing and distribution space, so they have a robust offering around that, and so they're able to handle all of the things that need that.

But what I think the most surprising thing, for me at least having come from the accounting background and such, is they have this burst product and it is their analytic tool. So, you can do some FP&A and you can do a little bit of BI, just general analytics pulling up dashboards and I found it — I got a little got a little nerdy on it and I was like, yes, this is so cool.

It has all of these graphics and I like colors and things in color and beautiful color schemes and stuff. But the functionality beyond the aesthetics of it, the functionality I found really surprising in a very manufacturing and distribution centric application. Usually you have to get some kind of bolton for that functionality.

So, I found that very surprising. They do have of course financials every — you know if the ERP can't do financials then it’s not really an ERP, right?

But — so, that was like what I felt was probably the most surprising about their functionality. And then, of course, having a very also a robust network of partners that are — I can't think of another analogy, but the sharks swim in the circle — it's around that ecosystem and having really nice boltons and stuff.

So, it — not only do you get a brilliant solid base application, you get this burst product that comes with both CSD, which is cloud suite distribution and cloud and CSI Sytelines, CloudSuite Industrial Syteline.

And so, it comes with that — you can get it with that, but then they also have of course the other — the remaining ecosystem that's really interesting.

Juliette: So, Shawn maybe continuing on with that a little bit, we've been seeing an uptick in activity in the manufacturing sector, so maybe continuing on with the different ecosystems, so to speak. Can you discuss a little bit about CloudSuite Industrial?

Shawn: And that uptick in manufacturing is super interesting because we have distributors that are doing more manufacturing. We have more manufacturers that are doing more distribution. We have e-tailers right there — brand companies that are now doing more testing and more value-added services.

It might start as kidding. Maybe they take a couple items like an axe and put it together, but then they decide to do some engraving and then they add some more value and all of a sudden they're manufacturer.

So, manufacturing is not just like, hey, we make tables like that, that world is gone, right?

Right, not only do we have contract manufacturers overseas, but just the value-add and the capabilities that customers are driving product companies or other sort of similar organizations to is just crazy. It's just crazy what's going on.

So, now you have very market driven businesses that do need automation. They do have to track their availability, their allocations of orders to customers, and available-to-promise.

And all these really hard things that I can remember at JD Edwards in the late 90s, like how do you really do ATP — available to promise — like correctly? Like do you have like —

Juliette: Without guessing.

Shawn: Without guessing. Or even well, the last time it took us two weeks so this time is there an algorithm or is there an algebraic equation, like there's seven or eight or 20 variables that go into this and we push a button and there it is. Or does — Julie down the way —know it's going to be three weeks? Oh, okay. We'll put in three weeks, right?

That's how one of our clients was — Jessica, right? She just knew.

And so now — though again, with apps like Cloud Suite Industrial that are manufacturing centric — they're flexible.

Like we have a client right now that basically even though they're relatively smaller, has three separate lines of business, and they make machines — they do tests of medical equipment with those machines, but they sell those machines and make them for other people and then they make another part of their business where they make sort of a artificial model based out of silicon of different body parts where surgeons use those to practice.

We like surgeons practicing on silicone, not on people. But you know what? You have to do what you have to do.

So, anyway — so, now Cloud Suite industrial as an application can handle all three of those requirements, which is great.

So, we have another client that we're looking at CSI for that makes more sort of scientific measuring equipment — and that's the lean manufacturer I actually mentioned earlier.

And again, the product is set up where they can handle sort of a call center part of that business where yeah, they sell equipment, but they also do rentals of the equipment.

And really, what this client is like almost a trusted advisor to scientists all over that are looking for different kinds of problems with the geology or with the atmosphere, and they need these devices in a real-time basis. So, it's really interesting to see how that product can be put in with CSI and CRM.

We have another client that is a knife manufacturer and they're looking at sort of, again, CloudSuite Distribution because it's more distribution than manufacturing, but it's still manufacturing base distribution — one of those things.

But there's a product, a CRM product — it's a little bit smaller than Infor CRM, but the integrations are they're really strong, there's a lot of functionality. So, their business is really converting more to a brand business. So — and we're also looking at ecommerce solutions for them.

Whenever I say we in this whole conversation, it's really Carly. So, there you go. So, just ask Carly the really hard questions, please.

But it's cool because all of these different business models are out there and several years ago, it's like, oh my gosh, this is going to be really expensive to implement and now we have the partners that have done the software solutions are in place and then the extensions is huge in the CloudSuite world where a partner says oh hey, I built an ecommerce site or, oh, hey I built a little credit card authorization or whatever and then they can sell those through other partners and so it's, again, there's lots of products that the functionality pretty easy to meet.

Juliette: Well, it sounds like the apps have had to evolve with these companies that are offering different services rather than requiring them to have three different software apps for the three different services they provide.

Shawn: That's it.

Juleitte: So, they've had to evolve.

Shawn : And evolution we can't not talk about Infor ERP apps without talking about cloud, too. So, maybe — I know we're getting close to the end here, but I definitely want to talk about that when the time is right.

Juliette: Okay, so Carly I'm going to ask you this, can you offer an outlook for where you feel Infor could be headed in the future with their products just from the recent experience that you've been having with them on projects?

Carly: Yeah, I — they're definitely going to keep going down these verticals and getting more and more in depth with them and their functionality, but I also — I think they're going to keep taking more of the market share from their competitors as we go through, because like I said, they're coming to win.

And then I think that they have the product now, but I suspect just kind of normal process — like they might move into more of professional services or financials, or the non-manufacturing distribution companies. I mean, they'll definitely — I do see them staying there. They're great at it, but I could see them moving that direction as well. And if you're not, please do.

But I — because like I said, I think they've built out that burst product. So, it — to me that's what it feels like a natural progression to continue to build that section — that vertical — out for themselves. And then we are talking these midmarket point products most of the time right now, but they also they do have these larger enterprise products so they — big giant enterprise companies that they’ll continue to keep working on those products as well and keeping moving forward on that.

Just because I don't see them going, oh no, we just want to be — I’m not saying you are — but a QuickBooks or something.

So, they're kind of positioning themselves more across more verticals and sizes.

Juliette: Shawn, can you add anything to that about what you're thinking?

Shawn: Yeah, there's quite a few — Lawson and there's another product that Lawson's the basis for M3.

So, you had Bond and Lawson that were competitors to SAP. And for both of them — and I'm not exactly sure sort of what the track was to get to today, but both of those products are still positioned and I believe it's Lawson that's focused more on services organizations.

Bond is more bigger manufacturing — again, correct me if I'm wrong, Shaun and other callers. But there's a big play there because most of those clients right are our SAP clients that are looking to get to the cloud.

And what is the solution for that? CloudSuite as kind of the label — they specifically chose the phrase CloudSuite, right?

So that's good, but being able to take those customers out of on-prem solutions, put them in the cloud, and keep them and get the recurring revenue like it's a good play. Like, I see there's going to be some really good things there.

Especially because there really still isn't a go-to partner for cloud for the tier one ERP's — there just isn't. So, I think there's an interesting opportunity that Infor has at that level and I'm sure after this call I'm going to have many texts that are going to be like, here's what we're doing.

Which is great, we need to know that. But it's a really interesting opportunity.

But like Carly said in the mid-market, we see they’re there and it's happening, which is super exciting.

Juliette: Well, I think we're coming to the end of our call.

Shawn: Wait one more.

Juliette: I was going to ask for parting words.

Shawn: Yeah, one more thing on this cloud.

Juliette: Yes, please do.

Shawn: Parting words is on the cloud. So, I've been a little weary of many different incumbent or legacy software vendors on their cloud strategy because it's like, you wake up one day and our ERP news — we're covering a lot of news these days. You'll have to check those out.

Ashley Glasgow, who does those — actually is well known. She literally gets stopped in the grocery store and people are like, do I know you from somewhere? And she's like, no, you don't, not yet. But that's the goal, right?

But cloud — it means different things to different vendors, right? Absolutely, positively. Carly has sat in a lot of technical due diligence deep dives on cloud, and I have seen that Infor is sort of working through it and not just at the high level of Infor Inc, not just at PS at Infor. Not even support at Infor, but the partners, right?

So, some partners have been more inclined to embrace their cloud solutions than others, and it's a very important thing to ask because, I mean, anymore — we had a big cloud suite industrial client, $750 million business that went on CSI and I'm sure the people at Infor were like, what? Why did you sell them that instead of something bigger?

The first thing I'd say is I don't sell software, so the second thing is the CEO was freaked out about having an SAP type project. There was no way we were going to do a tier one — no way. And we did good. We did really good on that project. I think we're going to do even better going forward.

So anyway, the cloud — so that was on-prem, but we haven't had an on-prem client since then and that was like two years ago.

So, you really want to just make sure to do your due diligence. It's not a problem with the Infor products that we've seen because we've done the due diligence and they've had good people that can answer our questions.

But it is — it's not pure cloud software as a service multi-tenant. That's not the way the apps are written. That's not it.

Just like SAP, it's not written that way.

NetSuite or Workday or Salesforce are. So, what? Is that a big deal? Not really. It's okay — like it's okay now — like I feel very comfortable with that cloud strategy. And even a year ago I didn't.

But now there's been hundreds of customers that are getting onto these platforms that are proven that have gone through all the heartache and pain.

So, it's good — like it's a good thing, but please to any prospects or anybody who's looking at software at Infor just have the detailed conversation, tell your sales rep, I want to know more. I want to know what your cloud strategy really is.

They'll get on a call. They've got standard decks that can talk you through how they do the cloud, and I think it's on Amazon AWS, right?

Carly: I believe so.

Shawn: So, — which is good, but okay, well, who's still going to maintain my instance? Oh well, that's Infor that does that.

How do you do that? When are your releases? When your maintenance windows? What are your SLAs? Whatever, go through those questions so that you know.

So, I do feel comfortable — I really do — and man, I really hammered somebody a couple weeks ago on that — that were there, so that's good.

Yeah, that's my last.

Juliette: Well, let me ask you this — and this might be a whole different call or maybe not even the appropriate question. But you mentioned that there's such a vast difference in cloud offerings. Like what do you think? What is that about — like why is there such a differentiation and not just like, this is cloud and this is what it’s supposed to be or — why do you think that is?

Shawn: Right, that is a great question that we will do a call on. But let me just say a little teaser is it depends where the apps came from.

Juliette: Oh, okay.

Shawn: That's it, so it is — some apps started as ASP, right? That's how old I am. Do you know what ASP stands for? Didn't think so — application service provider.

So, in the late 90s or the early 2000s that was the model — we're in ASP. We have software wherever — it wasn't called cloud — we're an application service provider and you can sort of subscribe to our service. That's what cloud used to be called.

Sorry to put you on the spot like that. I make it sound like I'm like 190 years old — but maybe just 180. Carly likes it.

Juliette: You just have a lot of experience.

Shawn: That's right, all the gray hairs to prove it, but that's it.

It's just some company started at that time, right? NetSuite — and they wrote their apps so that multiple companies could be in the same instance of the code.

Like, oh my God, what I can't run my app with four other companies in it. Yeah, you can.

And the security was built in and the architecture was there and the idea was when you do an update to that codebase, you're doing it for multiple clients.

But you can get weird matrix concepts when I say the matrix when I say this. But if you think about server farms and there's one server that's virtualized, so there's five VMs. And on that one VM there's five instances of the code, and each instance of the code runs five to ten different customers. And you push a button and group all those, all of them just upgrade like that.

Juliette: Oh wow.

Shawn: Now it's — I mean there's more to it than that, but that's the concept that some apps are written in. Whereas other apps that are more legacy weren't written that way. They were written to be installed on the client side one instance.

So, making the change to something else, even SAP strategy. I had a guy at SAP sort of describe what their public cloud sort of looks like, and it's like a ginormous instance of SAP that can run all these like an old version of app. But they have a front end in front of it called 4 HANA that people interact with.

But they have a huge database, huge sort of a — you can almost think about it — I mean, if you take a concept of a mainframe and multiply it times a billion, right? Like the power of that app, so it's just different. So fine. But what does that mean?

That's where the customers — the prospects — have to say. Like, here's my use case and I need to know if it's supported.

Good, we'll save the rest for later good.

Juliette: Right, okay. Well, be sure to put it on the calendar for another call so, thank you for joining us, Carly. We appreciate you having us and thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise as always.

Carly: Yeah, thank you.

Shawn: Thank you.

Juliette: Thank you and thank you everyone for joining us for today's webinar. Please let us know if you have any questions. We're happy to help in any way we can. Call us, email us, whatever works for you.

Please join us for our next webinar scheduled for Wednesday, September 15th: Increasing Efficiency for Manufacturing ERP Software. We will examine how ERP solutions for inventory control real time reporting in material requirement planning can help streamline manufacturing processes and increased productivity.

Please go to our website erpadvisorsgroup.com for more details and to register.

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