Infor has announced that Infor CloudSuite is now available for wholesale distribution. Infor has been rapidly migrating its on-premises applications into CloudSuite as it tries to accelerate the migration of its customer base into the Cloud. This is the latest product to be migrated and sees Infor CloudSuite now consisting of 18 separate products.
According to the Infor distribution blog both Enterprise distribution and wholesale distribution are now available for the Infor customer base as cloud-based solutions. Infor does not see this as forcing cloud down customers throats though, more than they now have the flexibility to migrate their application to the cloud. Lisa Russell, industry and solution strategy director for Infor Distribution, elaborates in saying:
“We’re not telling anyone they have to move to the cloud. It’s more that we want our customers to know that we’re ready when you are. It’s something more and more people want for their companies, and Infor can help you get there.”
Infor wants customers on the Cloud
For Infor, their strategic push is to get customers to migrate to their cloud as quickly as possible. Charles Phillips announced that he wanted more than half of the Infor revenue to be cloud based by the end of 2016. Russell doesn’t pull any punches in hoping to persuade existing customers to migrate either by adding: “a cloud solution is very enticing. You can release yourself from the infrastructure, the hardware, the databases, the backup and disaster recovery, the need to maintain all those different integrations and manage upgrades. It adds up to a lot of overhead.”
Simon Ellis, Program VP, IDC Manufacturing Insights adds some weight to the pro cloud argument by commenting: “As distributors continue to seek out better ways to gain flexibility, enhance customer satisfaction and strengthen value-added services, the prospect of migrating to a cloud-hosted environment is becoming more apparent to the industry. Infor has aligned itself with a trusted partner in AWS, which allows distribution customers to establish a path to reducing capital IT investment. As cloud adoptions continue to grow universally for businesses in almost every vertical, the distribution industry is shifting in that direction as well.”
Infor has invested huge sums of money in their CloudSuite and will be hoping that will increase the revenue streams from CloudSuite to ensure that investment is worth it. As the unit cost of support for its legacy applications rises, Infor will be piling on pressure for legacy customers to migrate to its cloud solutions.
There are advantages for companys to do this and while distribution may be late to the party on cloud compared to other verticals, the Infor CloudSuite offers several advantages over the legacy systems they have used. Infor CloudSuite uses Infor Ming.le which acts as a social collaboration engine. This can help to improve not just internal collaboration between departments but also helps companies to communication in both directions on the supply chain.
This is something that Russell sees as important to engage with the next generation of workers who expect social collaboration as part of their daily life as Russell adds: “It’s not even a question for them. They grew up with it. And that’s the shift. This isn’t about compelling change. We’ve taken action because it’s something the market is asking for.”
This last commented may be a bit of a stretch as many companies already have collaboration software in place, or its has been brought by the millennial into the workplace. While there is no doubt that people expect collaboration software there is no guarantee that everyone will choose Ming.le as their application of choice in the business.
While business will not be falling over themselves to deliver social collaboration there is another reason why Infor CloudSuite offers more, the use of Infor ION to act as a middleware solution between the distribution module and other ERP modules. Infor CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise delivers globalisation with support for many languages and localisation in many countries, this allows companies to expand into different regions as they grow.
Accelerators help migration
Infor already has available an implementation accelerator to help companies migrate from on-premises solutions into the cloud. They recently announced the availability of four more including Infor Implementation Accelerator for Distribution (SX.e). With over 50 accelerators available now Infor is doing what it can to help their customers migrate to the cloud.
As Darren Saumur, Global Head of Infor Services commented: “An Implementation Accelerator can be your first step or your final step in an on-going process of continuous improvement, and by offering a diverse array of industry and product based options, we are confident that we can empower our customers to help fast-track a return on investment.”
Once migrated into CloudSuite customers will no longer have the burden of looking after infrastructure. With upgrades easier to apply they are able to take advantage of the latest technology implementations from Infor. Cloud solutions also remove the bill shock of upgrades and the subscription model allows businesses to flex their liability in line with their company size rather than their initial deployment. For an industry such as distribution which will be taking advantage of IoT and other technologies over the next few years the ability to rapidly deploy software upgrades is coming at the right time.
Kelly Squizzero, industry and solution strategy director, Infor Distribution commented: “The wholesale distribution industry is continuously evolving, and by operating in the cloud our customers are able to meet the demands of their industry while still staying up to date with the most innovative technologies available.”
Infor regularly makes announcements about new business wins and deployments. Few of these mention the use of accelerators and if they have been deployed there is no comment about how effective these have been.
As Infor looks to migrate its product portfolio into the Cloud, this is one of the last major applications to be migrated. It will be interesting to see how many early adopters Infor can persuade to move across to the new CloudSuite distribution or CloudSuite enterprise distribution and whether these companies make the stage in New York at Inforum 2016 in July.
Infor is moving its applications into the Cloud at a rapid pace. It will be interesting to see how many of its customers are also ready to make that decision to migrate to the cloud. For many it is an obvious choice, for others steeped in legacy software and the belief that having local control over your systems it is a harder decision to make. Infor are trying to make it as easy as possible for client to migrate and this strategy should see them protect their revenues better. What will be interesting as time passes is how many companies using legacy SAP and Oracle solutions they can persuade to migrate to Infor CloudSuite.