Infor Continues to Attract Investment; Good News?

15. 08. 19 David Singh

Infor continues to attract investment

For those of us who were around in the 70’s the phrase “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company” transports us back to TV adverts featuring the effervescent Victor Kiam who would convince us to buy Remington shavers (I didn’t I’m a Sikh) based on his patronage of his own business and confidence in his own products. In a similar vein, but on a much grander scale is the investment over the past couple of years by Koch Equity Development in Infor. Koch Industries is one of America’s largest private companies, with revenues in excess of $110bn, 120,000 employees and operations in 60 countries, it is truly a behemoth of a multi-national business.

The story goes, Koch were looking to replace a number of legacy systems and considered all the large ERP vendors and were so taken with Infor, its products and innovative product development strategy that as well as buying into their solutions they bought into the company through their equity development arm (Koch Equity Development) and co-investor Golden gate capital to the tune of $4bn; now that’s some vote of confidence.

So what will Infor be doing with all this money and what does it mean for us and our Infor customers? Much has been written by analysts and experts about this investment and when you cut through the jargon and technicalities of the various rounds of funding, basically it’s good news. The money will be used to fund a number of initiatives (not exhaustive);

  • It is no secret that Infor wishes to raise its profile so it can compete with the likes of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft and in order to do that it must become a publicly traded company. A high profile IPO is likely to happen by the end of 2020 and it will cost big money. A successful IPO will bring in a huge amount of cash that will transform the business.
  • As it heads for an IPO Infor will want to restructure its balance sheet and retire more expensive debt, it now has funds to do some of that.
  • Over the last several years, Infor has invested $2.5 billion in product design and development across all its product lines. This infusion of capital means Infor will have more funds that it could dedicate to significant investments in products, advanced technology and services.
  • Whilst it is difficult to say exactly which products and which parts of the Infor organisation will benefit the most from this investment it is safe to say that there will be a trickledown effect and most product lines will benefit; some more than others, but in particular the strategic high profile applications such as Infor EAM (leader in its class according to Gartner), HCM and Industry Cloudsuites.
  • Infor OS will be a major beneficiary, seen as the digital transformation platform that all Infor solutions are / will be built on this will see rapid growth in areas such as AI, machine learning, robotics and IOT.
  • Heritage applications like SunSystems will also see an uptick in R&D as it transitions into a full multi-tenanted Cloud based SaaS offering.
  • BIRST and d/EPM will see further investment around, data management, improved performance, UX and AI.
  • User Experience, “Beautiful Software” was once a mantra at Infor and whilst it may not be recited daily it remains a basic tenet and further investment will likely be ploughed into the in-house design agency Hook & Loop.

As Infor heads towards an IPO we will see significant change over the coming 12 – 18 months. There have already been major changes at the executive level and a re-structure to operations from a US centric structure to a regional theatre model, a very public demonstration that Infor is connecting at a local level with customers and partners.

I’ve worked in the world of Infor since it came to market in 2006, I must admit for years I hadn’t a clue (and I’m not sure they did either) what their strategy was, what they were going to do with the 65 different software brands they had bought and how they were going to bring it all together, 13 years later it seems to have started to “come good” as they say.

So, I agree with the pundits, it is good news for those of us invested in Infor as either a partner that sells Infor products as we do or our customers that use Infor software to manage their business, however let’s not get too ahead of ourselves a lot can happen in 12 months, so watch this space.

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David Singh

Written by:

David Singh

Touchstone FMS Business Unit Head