Infor has a number of products of good quality. While Infor’s products often score well for functionality, Infor as a company scores poorly for implement ability and maintainability. It’s extremely clear that Infor has acquired itself into a very confusing situation and it is a software vendor with a very complicated storyline regarding its applications. This is a software vendor with 13 different ERP systems.
It confusing enough to simply profile Infor’s applications, and how Infor salespeople are supposed to cover all of these applications, and how support is supposed to support all these applications is a mystery to us.
Infor is an unusual acquirer because unlike Oracle that lets its acquired applications languish into obsolescence and JDA, which actively pares the weaker applications that it acquires, Infor seems to actually attempt to keep all of its acquired applications ready for sale and support.
Infor, like the mega software vendors, would like to perform solution architecture work for its clients. That is providing a complete solution from its various acquisitions, using the argument that Infor may not have the best application in each area, but that buyers should buy from them because then all of the applications will be “integrated.” However, doing this will lead to poor outcomes, in fact, it always has been the case in enterprise software regardless of the software vendor that is being discussed. Each of Infor’s applications must be evaluated on an application by application basis.
Infor’s management has a reputation of being a bit too financially oriented. Financial oriented is great for Wall Street but is not as good for customers. Another problem is Infor’s constant acquisitions, and it cuts in several directions as is listed below.
- Acquisition heavy firms lead to too many people managing and speaking to customers about products for which do not have authentic knowledge.
- As an employee of a software vendor one of the worst things that can happen to you. Such a large number of people who work for Infor, who used to work for independent software vendors and were far happier in these other companies is a recipe for bad moral.
- Infor exacerbates this problem by having one of the higher employee turnovers of the ERP software vendors.
- It is a problem when so many of our client interviews are centered around problems that arise from too many acquisitions. Infor most likely needs to do what JDA has done, which is to cull its product database. But again, Infor does not follow JDA’s model. And they do deserve credit for reinvesting in the product after an acquisition.
Quality of Information Provided
Infor has a sales commission structure that escalates. This means that Infor does not actually pay a competitive commission until the salespeople meet cumulative goals. This is not a great way of managing sales commissions, and while this might be considered an effective/good way for Infor to motivate its salespeople, it puts a concern on the reliability of information that comes from Infor salespeople exactly because of this motivation. If the buyer runs into a salesperson towards the end of their measurement period who’s entirety of the bonus is related to closing the final deal – or making no bonus, one could expect the quality of information to be provided by this salesperson to be quite poor. This is a general criticism related to incentives.
Consulting and Support
Infor has the same issue as Epicor in that due to fairness issues in terms of compensation (too much compensation going to the top and too little for those that will actually be working on your account). Infor does have a problem with employee morale, and this negatively affects both the motivation of implementation consultants and support personnel. Infor’s margin on its employees is too high in our opinion, and the employees have figured this out. One reason for this is that Infor has many ex-Epicor as well as ex-Oracle employees and executives. Not surprisingly, Infor scores poorly on both consulting and support.
Our research has lead us to conclude that Infor has a weak management. Many of their policies and approaches are elitist really only designed to benefit the executives in the company. This is an entry for buyers, but one would wonder why people, aside from executives, would actually want to work for Infor. Infor prefers to repeat common management mistakes.
Infor’s continual growth by acquisition strategy leads to the same problems faced by Epicor in terms of product quality. For instance, Infor literally lists 14 different ERP systems on its website. Quality problems are doubly a risk for Infor as they have created a corporate environment, which will generally not promote innovation. Innovation is promoted from stable work environments that allow the developers to work to long range goals from a perspective of security.
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The Necessity of Fact Checking
We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.
Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?
If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.
In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.