Infor to Acquire SSA Global for $1.4B - Page 2

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By bringing SSA into the fold, Infor has the capability to reach into enterprise markets with a micro-vertical strategy.

Infor has traditionally focused on mid-market manufacturing and distribution customers.

SSA, while its also focused on manufacturing customers, brings in more of a honed product strategy, with offerings around process and discreet manufacturing, as well as applications for warehouse management, transportation management and freight movement.

The two companies, prior to the acquisition, had also begun to enter new vertical markets.

Infor, as the combined company will be known, plans to continue the strategy by selling stand-alone applications like SCM (supply chain management), demand planning and PLM (product lifecycle management) into markets like telco, financial services and the public sector.

Infor has said it will continue to support SSAs product lines indefinitely—two ERP suites, LX and LN, along with extension products like CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management)—but it will integrate any like products as quickly as possible.

There also could be a merging of both companies code bases at some point—particularly given both Infor and SSA were moving separately down the SOA (service-oriented architecture) path, though arguably SSA is further down the road than Infor.

That said, the challenges facing Infor and SSA are many, according to analysts.

"[The biggest] is integrating all those products," said Forrester analyst Ray Wang.

"But they are both using IBM WebSphere as a strategy. What Infor gets is a team thats very cognizant of SOA challenges [the company will] face, and additional resources to build that middleware space.

IT research firm 451 Group takes a similar stand.

"We will be very interested to see how well certain stand-alone products like CRM…will extend the combined companys reach into new vertical markets," said a 451 Group research note.

"And while both companies have been preaching SOA, we are concerned about the integration issues and time frame since Infor has made so many acquisitions is such a short period of time."

Infor is not positioning itself as an infrastructure player—as are SAP with NetWeaver and Oracle with Fusion Middleware—Schaper hinted at a middleware offering.

"We are not an infrastructure business and we dont want to be in the infrastructure business," said Schaper. "That said, our SOA strategy is non-proprietary in nature…. Its incumbent on us to provide our customers with the ability to integrate with other applications, and with ours."

Infor has said it will release a three-year roadmap at the close of the deal.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include additional information from a news conference.


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