Infor outlines evolution plans, launches next-gen cloud platform

At its Inforum 2014 event in New Orleans, the enterprise software vendor made a bevy of announcements, including the launch of Infor Xi, the latest incarnation of its enterprise cloud platform.

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Infor kicked off its Inforum 2014 event in New Orleans, Louisiana on Tuesday with a keynote packed with Infor executives, client testimonials and the obligatory product announcements designed to wow the crowd of Infor customers. 

Infor CEO Charles Phillips began with a retrospective examination of cloud computing and the various changes the industry has undergone in its relatively short lifespan.

"We think the cloud is evolving," Phillips said.

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So to keep up with that evolution, Phillips said Infor created Infor Xi.

Infor Xi is Infor's next-gen enterprise technology platform that builds on its current Infor 10x platform with capabilities such as multi-tenancy, open source and mobile-first design. The enterprise software provider calls the platform a major step in its industry-specific approach to cloud applications.

Infor 10x was delivered in 2013 and featured a revamped HTML5 user experience (SoHo), the Infor Ming.le social collaboration platform and in-context analytics packaged within the Infor ION middleware. With Xi, Infor thinks it's got a design for the new-cloud world.

Infor also announced the launch of two industry-targeted cloud applications: CloudSuite Business and CloudSuite Financials.

Infor says CloudSuite Business provides streamlined back office management and better visibility into a range of business facets. The platform is built on Infor Xi and Amazon Web Services and is geared toward midsize companies.

With Business, Infor appears to be setting up direct competition with NetSuite, even setting up a NetSuite swap-out program that encourages NetSuite customers to migrate to Infor with waived subscription fees.

And it seems Infor is going after Workday with the Financials incarnation by targeting the needs of today's CFOs. It will tie financial management, treasury applications, close and reconciliation management, business intelligence, and treasury and cash management. It also features a consumer-grade user interface developed by Infor’s internal design group Hook & Loop.

Infor also announced the creation of a new business unit dedicated to advancing machine learning and big data capabilities within Infor applications. Helmed by Dr. Ziad Nejmeldeen and staffed with what Infor says is an elite data science team, the Dynamic Science Labs will attempt to level the playing field by giving companies of all sizes access to data science, said Infor president Duncan Angove.

"We don't believe data science is a linear trend, we think it's exponential and that it will play out faster than people think," Angove said. "We live in a connected world where big data is exploding, but we don't want people to read about it and think they don't have access to it." 

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