Infor is not so much a new company, but a company that has completely reinvented itself, attempting to become something new. And Charles Phillips, Infor CEO, wants to become what he calls the ‘social network of companies’ using the cloud. His vision is to use the cloud to get global supply chain visibility, and he seems to be getting there.
One of the ways he aims to achieve that is through acquisitions, a tactic he preferred as Oracle president as well. One of his latest Inform acquisitions is GT Nexus, which cost him $675 million. He has done this to start off enterprise resource planning (ERP). Almost everything in this world is now created by value chains of partners, rather than by individuals. What this means is that one company places an order for a product with another company, but it is actually built by yet another company, as well as shipped by another, and sole by yet another. It is a network, therefore. This isn’t what ERP is for, however. Rather, that is for those who are inside one of those partners within the network itself.
This is how the economy works, becoming increasingly specialized. Through Infor, all the components can be properly tied together, which means everybody, at whatever point, can see every element of the order, from manufacturing to payment.
A big element of this is retail. Within the retail industry, it is vital that people know exactly where everything is, in what amount, at what time, and how much it will cost. This can only be achieved if the entire process is integrated.
The Multi-Enterprise ERP Concept
The ERP concept is something Phillips already thought about in 2000. It is a complex system that takes a long time to develop, but he feels now is when it is getting developed. The internet initially brought people together, allowing for completely new forms of communication to develop. People can provide updates about a change of address or telephone number through social media, ensuring everybody is aware of it straight away.
Companies, however, don’t seem to have grasped that concept properly yet. While people think social media for sharing information, businesses continue to hold on to their information and keeping it under wraps. If there is a change that they have to communicate, they have to make sure every individual address book is changed. Considering the size of the enterprise market, it is strange that this is still happens.
What Infor is doing, therefore, is to create a company social network. This will allow each individual to see the exact same order. No longer does it has to be sent to all the different people who deal with it. Nobody has to spend hours on the phone to get a copy of an order anymore. According to Phillips, this is the trend that businesses will finally get to grips with over the next decade, and he wants to lead that.