I never thought I'd write this but then stranger things have happened in the enterprise software solutions world. Infor is readying LN and its iON framework to run on Red Hat Linux and JBoss with support for MySQL and MariaDB databases. Chris Kanaracus broke the story quoting my old buddy Frank Scavo:
Infor's announcement makes sense from a few perspectives, said analyst Frank Scavo, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. "From a big-picture standpoint, enterprise vendors always want to commoditize the thing in the technology stack that they don't provide. If you're an Oracle you're never going to commoditize the database. But Infor doesn't provide those [infrastructure] pieces."
I'm not so sure. Never is a long time and I am seeing situations where SAP HANA and Sybase for example are replacing Oracle DB instances. From what I can tell, customers are in the last mile of wringing out cost in their ERP landscapes and the OS/DB combination looks like the last set of dominoes to fall.
Apart from the obvious cost lowering angle, Infor is making itself more cloud friendly by aligning itself more closely with the open source community. That will certainly get it much needed attention as it figures out where the larger cloud opportunity lays. Right now, NetSuite and Plex Systems are the only truly credible cloud ERP players. SAP will argue that Business ByDesign is maturing fast but that doesn't make up for lack luster acceptance in the marketplace. Oracle? Well, I'm sure we'll hear more about Fusion in the coming weeks but again, it is immature and incomplete.
Again from Kanaracus' story:
The open-source stack will be offered directly by Infor, which will also provide first-line support. But it will be offered as an "advanced technology" option, with Infor taking each potential customer on a case-by-case basis to be sure there's a good match, Shadman said. "We just want to keep tabs on the initial deployments."
That's interesting. Infor already has cloud based solutions. Most recently, I saw a very simple and effective hotel check in system running on iPad. The four minute video case study I filmed earlier this week includes a demo. After we finished the shoot, Dan Bolger, CEO City Nites said the thing he likes most is the fact Infor meets his real time support needs. Infor has understood that the real time nature of cloud apps demands real-time support, something that is sometimes forgotten by others.
Quite how take up will work remains to be seen. Every now and then, people like me think there is some tipping point to be observed only to find that the SAP and Oracle's of this world continue to turn in good on premise numbers. Like Scavo, I expect this is a long play by Infor with 'choice' being the watchword into the immediate future.