UPDATED 09:00 EDT / SEPTEMBER 25 2018

cecc088f-f946-4bcf-a97c-1be9777e24f7 EMERGING TECH

Exploring the “human potential” in emerging tech at Inforum 2018

Infor Inc. has been in the business of enterprise resource planning for more than 16 years, building its reputation on comprehensive micro-vertical software applications for a range of niche industries. Though the legacy ERP vendor faced an uphill battle with traditional infrastructure users through tech’s digital revolution, its pivot to cloud computing following Charles Phillips’ entrance as chief executive officer in 2010 ushered in a new era of human-centric cultural transformation at Infor that has seen new industry adoption, substantial outside investments, and a renewed software as a service strategy.

As a notable competitor with a growing cloud customer base, how does Infor plan to maintain its SaaS micro-vertical strategy and dedication to unique customer solutions as it explores new opportunities in artificial intelligence and enterprise application management?

Looking to answer these and other questions, SiliconANGLE is at Inforum 2018, currently underway in Washington, D.C., with exclusive commentary and interviews from our roving news desk, theCUBE. TheCUBE coverage will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 10:00 a.m. ET and end on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. ET. (* Disclosure below.)

Technologies emerging from the industry’s latest period of modernization have reinvigorated an enterprise application market now finding its footing beyond on-premises limitations. An increasing need for integrated, scalable, cost-efficient data processes is on track to drive global market worth for enterprise application management to $259.51 billion by 2022, with an increasing percentage of overall revenue stemming from cloud-based solutions.

With an established strategy around data-driven opportunities in the cloud, Infor has worked to capitalize on this digital disruption internally, as well as with customers, for nearly a decade. After the management transition of 2010, Infor began customizing software development for specialized micro-verticals to address unique user needs and enable operational independence in every industry.

The company’s integration with Amazon Web Services Inc. allowed Infor to provide even more inclusive enterprise management solutions through the capabilities of cloud computing in offerings like CloudSuite. The outsourced cloud strategy has paid off for Infor, with the company reporting 8,000 cloud customers, 34-percent subscription revenue growth, and $3 billion in annual revenue.

“When Phillips took the company over, unlike AWS and SAP [who built] their own cloud, they focused on micro-verticals and used AWS as their cloud,” said Dave Vellante, an analyst with Wikibon (owned by the same company as SiliconANGLE).

Despite its many benefits, one critical risk to modernization is the overly ambitious innovation that alienates users struggling to keep pace. While its competitors like Oracle Corp. have seen some revenue decline in recent quarterly earnings reports, Infor’s dedication to user-friendly interfaces and custom vertical solutions has created a loyal customer base through the trials of enterprise migration.

“Their strategy was to build out ERP, supply chain, financial, and other industry applications — micro-verticals. Oracle, for instance, may have an app for manufacturing, maybe even food and beverage, but Infor goes deep to appeal to those respective industries,” Vellante said.

While that strategy does mean managing a cumbersome amount of micro-verticals, the company’s growth attracted an investment of $2.5 billion and 66.67-percent equity ownership stake from the Koch brothers in 2017 — a move intended to boost logistics and scale cloud software developments, as well as back new AI efforts.

Last year Infor released Coleman, an industry-specific enterprise AI platform for CloudSuite that integrates mission-critical business data and enables streamlined process management through the Infor Ming.le conversational interface. Named after the trailblazing physicist and mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson, the tool aims to revolutionize automation and human collaboration with machine learning at scale.

Infor’s approach has always been one centered around user experience and the cultural aspects of technology, and so far its contributions to AI are no exception. As competing IT support partners rush to innovate in AI, Infor’s existing culture of consumer awareness could serve the company well, both in building secure tech and gaining a foothold in the market.

The theme of this year’s Inforum is “Human Potential,” exploring the ways in which automated tech can better support unique industry needs. Will the company be able to leverage automation to scale its commitment to niche users as it continues to expand its micro-vertical suite? All this and more will be explored at this year’s Inforum 2018.

How to watch theCUBE interviews

We offer you various ways to watch all of theCUBE interviews that will be taking place at Inforum 2018, including theCUBE’s dedicated website and YouTube. You can also get all the coverage from this year’s event on SiliconANGLE.

TheCUBE’s dedicated website and Ustream

All of theCUBE’s exclusive interviews from Inforum 2018 DC will be available on theCUBE’s dedicated website.

You can also watch all the interviews on the dedicated Ustream channel.

Watch on the SiliconANGLE YouTube channel

All of theCUBE interviews from Inforum 2018, which runs from September 25-26, will also be loaded onto SiliconANGLE’s dedicated YouTube channel.

Cubecasts

SiliconANGLE also has podcasts available of archived interview sessions, available on both SoundCloud and iTunes, which you can enjoy while on the go.

Guests who will be interviewed on theCUBE at Inforum 2018

Guests who will be interviewed on theCUBE during Inforum 2018 include Infor executives Charles Phillips, chief executive officer; Soma Somasundaram, chief technology officer; and Pam Murphy, chief operating officer.

Other guests include Rahul Pathak, general manager of Amazon EMR, Athena, RDS for Oracle, RDS for SQL Server, and AWS Blockchain Templates at AWS; Kevin Curry, senior vice president of the global public sector at Infor; Capgemini executives John Clark, vice president, and Rachel Myers, principal; and Cormac Watters, executive vice president of EMEA and APAC at Infor.

(* Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored. Sponsors have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Image: Courtesy of Infor

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