By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-09-11 Print this article Print

: The $2B Company No One Has Ever Heard Of"> Another component example Infor is announcing is the development of roles-based home pages—an AJAX-based Web 2.0 environment that lets users customize a user interface to their role in a company, and the way the user operates within that role. "We have 138 roles in a library," said Gordon. "We take the roles and go out and discuss with many customers and get input. Were really looking at saying, Weve got to capture and understand better the customer we are writing code for." In a December 2006 research note titled "Infor: The 2B Enterprise Applications Company Youve Never Heard Of," AMR Research analyst Jim Shepherd described Infor as a company that is "shaking up the enterprise applications industry with an interesting new business model [based on vertical functionality for 25 vertical industries] and a passion for acquisition that makes [Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison look like a window shopper."
Infors acquisition strategy—backed by tech investor Golden Gate Capital—is still up for questioning. As Shepherd pointed out in his research note, "private equity financed rollups are quite common in other industries, but no one has attempted one on this scale in the application software market." The question is whether customers will see the model as a safe bet. At the same time, the current crisis in the financial services sector is impacting the tech sectors ability to raise capital, according to Infors Schaper.
"The impact on the debt market has absolutely affected the IT sector as it pertains to public-to-private transactions," he said. "Over the past 24 months, private equity firms acquiring public companies, because the debt market is choppy, the vehicle for financing these buyouts is gone. Access to capital is gone." The good news for Infor, according to AMRs Shepherd, is that the company has a philosophy and strategy that is very customer-friendly—particularly given Infors maintenance and cross-selling revenue strategy that requires happy customers. That and—at its 2007 Inforum conference—the company committed to enhancing its acquired product lines rather than continue to buy new ones. But clearly Infor has some work ahead of it, according to Shepherd. "At the moment the companys rather unique strategy is working well," Shepherd wrote nine months ago. "The revenue and profitability numbers are very impressive and the growth in new customers and licenses is far better than we had guessed. Now the company needs to put some effort into building brand awareness— being the $2 billion company that no one has ever heard of doesnt do them any good." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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