One of my frustrations with enterprise tech for the last few years is we have paid inordinate amount of attention to horizontal apps – financials, HCM, CRM – and neglected the much more operationally important industry apps.
Without hesitation, I included several pages in my latest book (with able support from Cindy Jutras who I quote extensively in that section) on what Charles Phillips and his team at Infor have been doing to buck that trend. They have focused heavily on vertical CloudSuite offerings (for a wide variety of industries such as automotive, fashion and food and beverage). They have been rationalizing and modernizing an unwieldy portfolio of applications they inherited with new UX, middleware, Amazon cloud infrastructure, machine learning and various migration tools.
One industry I have been waiting them to deliver more for is retail (they have focused on fashion with previous competencies and that certainly has a retail dimension) . Co-President Duncan Angove was previously Oracle’s GM of the Retail Global Business unit and has been itching to move the legacy retail systems world into the new realities of omni-channels, same day delivery, proximity sensors on store shelves, iPads as POS and many other innovations changing that sector. So, it is good to see this co-development effort with an innovative retailer, Whole Foods which is regularly rethinking “the store of the future”.
As Infor says “Planning and optimizations systems are distinct and disconnected from execution systems. Traditional merchandising systems are different than ecommerce systems. Unifying these into one elegant solution will drive efficiencies, alignment, and speed.”
Talking of speed brings up another of my heartaches about enterprise tech. Frank Scavo who I also quoted in the book has highlighted how Infor’s broader customer base has cautiously adopted its newer products. Hopefully, the retail customer base, which in many ways faces existential challenges, will be different.