In a candid interaction with DQ Channels, Jeff Abbott, Senior Vice President – Global Alliances, Channels, Telesales and Field Marketing, Infor talks about its micro-vertical specialization and how it can break the SAP-Oracle duopoly.
How would you analyze the business potentials in the Indian Enterprise segment?
Jeff Abbott: In India in last 5 to 7 years, businesses have really grown expeditiously. When these businesses grow expeditiously, the investment starts coming in. So we see tremendous market at SMB opportunity in India. And I think we have ideally positioned with our products because we offer plethora of software applications.
If we look at the offerings of Oracle and SAP, they have more generic software. On the other has Infor has focused on customization. What is a reason behind adopting micro-vertical focused approach in the mid-market segments?
Jeff Abbott: Infor is the first company to introduced micro vertical specialization i. e. right application for the right industry. The types of products and the kind of approach we have are based on the couple of things which are essential for our success in the market. We don’t thing that our product is one product that fits everywhere because the process is different. So we have chosen 12 verticals worldwide where we choose a product depending upon which vertical we are addressing. The genesis of that was that we needed to be different in how we address the market. Infor has over 2000 micro verticals, therefore, we are different from our competitors in the market.
What is your channel strategy? What makes it unique?
Jeff Abbott: From the beginning, we were very clear about our channel strategy. Based on our basic strategy, very early we decided that we are not going to sell everywhere. Similarly in India, we decided that we don’t want Indian market to be full of partners. All our partners are exclusive for us unlike our competitors. That makes us very unique because the partner set is not like one can sell all. They need the domain knowledge and the vertical knowledge also they need the expertise in the product. We want our individual channel partners to be specialized in two or three micro verticals. We have over 700 channel partners around the world. In India we have 23 odd partners.
What is Infor Partner Network (IPN)?
Jeff Abbott: The Infor Partner Network provides partners with the tools and resources required to help them build sustainable and profitable businesses. It is how we look at the potentials and how we grow the partner set which would evolve this business along with them. As our partners grow we grow.
How micro vertical focused approach has benefited/impacted Infor’s business?
Jeff Abbott: Since, adoption of new market strategy, we are getting more market and we are able to attract industry’s most caliber partner ecosystem. When we present micro vertical solutions, we present most important issues of our customers instate of presenting our agenda. We take a time to understand customers’ needs. Whatever micro vertical industry they are in our solutions eliminates competition that’s impact no one. Not only micro vertical specialization but with that user interface design firm is the unique offering of Infor. Secondly, media loves it. We are getting more PR and publicity in media. We have been put in the same tier of largest business application companies in the market.
Since enterprise segment is highly contested market, how Infor differentiates its offerings from competitors?
Jeff Abbott: We have exclusive set of partners at Infor. We build everything on standards we don’t want to complicate our software applications. We don’t like modifications that our competitions love to do. We provide best interface is user experience to the customers. These are the couple of things which makes Infor different from other players in the market and we want to leverage on that.
What are the complexities faced by enterprise segment? What are your specialized innovative solutions that address the needs of the mid-market segments?
Jeff Abbott: The challenges are more or less are the same. Primarily the cash flow, infrastructure and logistics are the key hindrance in the smooth flow of business. More than challenges we see opportunities in the enterprise segment. While businesses are growingly understanding they are becoming more and more open to solve these challenges through it and that where we find opportunity being a company which is not focusing only on one area of business applications but the entire gamut. From perspective our solutions we are so varied from ERPs to CRM and other software applications. If we look at the major chunk of business happens in India especially in the SMB segment apart from manufacturing, we have also graduated into other things like supply chain, execution and warehouse management.
What are the future prospects of cloud applications market?
Jeff Abbott: Any new technology will have little bit of conservativeness in the beginning but it is an inevitable thing. Cloud is a viable solution and it is going to happen. We are completely on that ball so our strategy would be to become one of the choices for enterprises for cloud services, we also want to set up ourselves in the industry as a cloud services provider in the micro vertical sector we have designed micro vertical specific solutions for cloud.
Since inception, how is the growth map of Infor? What are your future expansion plans?
Jeff Abbott: Infor founded in 2002 with acquisitions strategy. We are heading the multi-billion market in terms of revenue. We released Infor ten X two years ago which is a milestone achievement for us. That was the first time transition from acquisition strategy to innovation strategy and it was our first holistic solution strategy across the entire blueprint. We have seen very organic growth in business application in last couple of years. Our partners represent 25 per cent of our license business and I predict that will increase to 35 per cent next year. If we look at the partner base the partner growth and business growth for Infor India is close to 3 digit number. Our partner set controls almost 40 per cent of India business. We started from a smaller base so it is huge achievement for us. We intend to be no one business application provider in the world.
Looking your corporate strategy and go-to-market strategy, can we say that Infor will break SAP-Oracle duopoly in couple of years?
Jeff Abbott: Yes indeed. We are on that stage. The market has spoken that it want another choice. World’s leading brands have said loudly that they want to line up with a software company where there is economic value of business applications. Soon we will position ourselves as world’s number one enterprise in software application.