“Infor India Aim is to stay ahead of the digital curve” :Ashish Dass

Ashish Dass, Managing Director and Vice President of the South Asian Subcontinent at Infor in conversation with DQ Channels talks about India operations and vertical focus of the company. 

Ashish Dass, Vice President and Managing Director, South Asian Subcontinent, Infor

How do you look upon India as a market in terms of business?

Infor today stands as the 3rd largest software company in the world in the enterprise application space. The Indian business scenario is developing at a fast clip as businesses and government increasingly look to transform in order to align with the new complexities of the digital environment. This has made India a strategic market.

We previously operated in three specific regions, i.e. APAC, Europe and North America. The developments in the Indian market has led to a separate focus and hence, we have clubbed three growing economies and named it as IMEA- India, Middle East and Africa.  That has become the 4th chapter from a regional standpoint.

Infor is well poised to not only enable the digital transformation that India is witnessing but also catalyze competitiveness to stay ahead of the digital curve. We are also betting on big data, analytics, cloud, mobile, and social collaboration which we see as huge trends to watch out for in the area of ERP. In India, we are aiming to triple the revenue in three years’ time.

The Infor Partner Network has also been instrumental in growing the India business, having recruited seven new partners in FY 17, and we are doubling down this number in FY18.  To date, partners in India contribute around 30% to the channel business and 50% of services are delivered by system integrators who have specialized knowledge and skills in Infor Solutions.

How are you reaching out to the customers?

Infor caters to a very niche market with the focus on last mile functionality to different verticals. We understand the importance of scalability, and the need for organizations to have modern software systems that are able to support them as they grow, change, and evolve in complex business environments. Mainly we have divided our strategies into three buckets.

According to our vertical strategy, we have identified the industries that are rapidly growing where the government is investing money. We did an exercise where we met with our partners and customers in tier-2 cities such as Pune, Aurangabad and Nasik and realized that the major government investments are in 49 tier-2 cities. This reinforced the direction of our thought process. Additionally, we have also hired people to boost sales across the country.

The second bucket is the cross-functional strategy, where we put very strong products which go across industries. The third bucket is the cloud bucket which is the technology bucket, where we provide infrastructure according to the customer needs.

As a part of our overall strategy, we are identifying the markets and then targeting different verticals with a mix of solutions. To achieve our targets, we have direct as well as channel approach. With the adoption of the 3 bucket strategy, the growth has escalated to more than 60% in just one year. We will continue to work on these three strategies with a key focus on right execution at the right time.

What are the verticals where Infor is focusing on?

Infor offers purpose-built, industry-specific suite of solutions designed to address the distinct challenges of our customers. Infor has 700+ customers in India comprising of businesses ranging from large conglomerates to emerging companies including Future Group, MyEco Energy and Dixcy Textiles. We have a very strong hold on Textile and auto ancillary vertical. Major players like Ferrari and Boeing have been using Infor solutions globally for years. We have an equally firm grip in the FMCG space. Retail giant Future Group has been using our Supply Chain Execution (SCE) and Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions. Even though we have distributed the verticals into 5 or 6 buckets, there are about 25 sets of verticals which we are focusing on, like supply chain and logistics etc.

Tell us more about Centre of Excellence, what’s the update?

One of our CoE is in Hyderabad which acts as global delivery Centre. It drives R&D for 10 core products and provides services for about 30 Infor products to some of our biggest customers including Boeing, Ferrari, ABRL and L&T. Approximately 2,500 people are working in this CoE on solution building and technology innovation. They are responsible for innovating and implementing the software and it also acts as a consulting arm under Infor Consulting Services (ICS).

Apart from this, the other large CoEs are in Manila which has 2,000 people working and Prague, which provides development capacity for key Infor technologies including Infor ION. It integrates middleware, enabling easy integration with both Infor and third-party software applications; Infor Ming.le a centralized workspace for collaboration, business process improvement, and contextual analytics
in a beautiful user interface, and mobile business applications.  Besides that, the centre also provides international support services for Infor LN (ERP) and hospitality applications.

What are the recent developments in Infor last year?

We keep inventing new solutions. Owing to our large amounts of data, we are now leveraging machine learning to assist users with less structured processes such as complex decisions, conversations, and predictions. We have just acquired Birst, which is a leading business intelligence platform. Furthermore, we have also released enterprise-grade, industry-specific artificial intelligence platform. Much like Infor CloudSuite marked the first industry-specific ERP suites in the cloud, the introduction of powerful AI into business applications through Infor Coleman marks another milestone achievement in the evolution of enterprise software. Coleman was named in honour of Katherine Coleman Johnson, a physicist and mathematician whose critical calculations helped man reach the moon. Her story was recently depicted in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.

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