Infor Now 2023 – live from the Big Easy

Infor staged the US leg of its Infor Now 2023 user, partner and practitioner conference this week in the city they call the “Big Easy” – of course, that means New Orleans, Louisiana.

Kicking off with a personal ‘day zero’ session for selected press & analysts, Infor CEO Kevin Samuelson & Infor CTO Soma Somasundaram shared the joint welcoming honors and clarified the theme of the event itself: this is – [a technology evolution with Infor] to deliver long-term value to customers through people, process & technology, all of which is accompanied by work designed to accelerate innovation & return on investment (ROI) with AI/ML & with automation.

In that the event was day zero, Infor SVP of product management Rik Rider intro’d the intro – pointing to the Infor innovation showcase practice shown at the show itself, this section is designed to show off real-world in-production use cases.

Talking about some of what he called the ‘tremendous improvements’ being brought forward in the Infor User eXperience (UX) and of course Developer eXperience (UX), Rider eluded to just how much work has gone into total platform development since this event was last hosted.

Recognizing the fact that Infor is somewhere around the fifth largest ERP software vendor on the planet today, CEO Samuelson said that he and his team understand that the companies that are bigger than Infor are (as he put it) ‘quite a lot bigger’ – and because of this, he said, Infor knows that it has to be really significant disruptive in order to make a big impact across its markets.

Specifically industry-specific

Samuelson said that his firm knows that customers today have a lot of tough customization modifications to enact, which is part of why Infor is so markedly industry-specific in order to retain its focus. As a reminder, those eight industries are aerospace & defense, automotive, industrial manufacturing, high tech & electronics, healthcare, food & beverage, fashion & distribution.

Somasundaram took over and explained Infor’s three key design principles: industry-specific expertise, digital enablement & hyper-productivity. 

“We decided to a build multi-tenant platform in the cloud, which is a great way of being able to leverage more data and provide customers with more insight,” said Somasundaram. “One instance running globally means organizations can benefit from updates and enhancement from one source – and this is also part of our ethos. In order to deliver an industry cloud, you need an integration platform, so all our solutions can be exposed to be consumed securely in several places. With rich APIs that can be consumed in multiple ways, we offer the maximum possible freedom here.”

Talking about how he realizes that customers need to use Infor data alongside other data that is now generated or managed in Infor, Somasundaram said it’s now tablestakes to be able to offer this degree of freedom – this is why digital enablement is Infor’s second design principle. The hyper-productivity element is covered off here by virtue of the fact that users themselves do not have to ‘touch’ the systems they are using and know that functions (like inventory optimization and so much more) all happen without the need for user interaction.

“All of this makes a technology proposition that is altogether more wholesome and composable in one single platform,” said Infor CTO Somasundaram. “This is the beauty of what we have done with Infor – although a user could purchase one platform for integration, one platform for automation and one platform for other core functions, we have brought these elements together in one place with our architecture.” 

A product roadmap section followed this introduction which will be detailed in other news updates.

The Infor Now 2023 event breaks down as follows: 

  • Day 1 – Business outcomes and ROI.
  • Day 2 – Decomposing day one and looking at how real-world implementations happen.

Hosted by Infor’s VP of product management for platform technology Brad Stillwell, a customer panel followed with a chance to hear from Eagle Foods, Grosfillex, Midwest Wheel and Power & Tel.  Other customers showcasing their work with Infor included Brock, Miller Industries, Ring Container and Oberg Industries.

As Stillwell has highlighted before, using a modern data architecture helps enterprises remain competitive in the new economy.

“Some mandates aren’t new. Accurate data has long been a component of budgeting and planning. But, today, strategic planning is not a once-a-year ritual involving reams of print-outs and hand-plotted charts. Analytics today must include [the following attributes and be] real-time, highly consumable, on-demand, unified, cloud-based and highly accurate and reliable, with clear definitions and sound, well-documented logic,” explained Stillwell.

Selection consultancy

Overall, the fact that Infor presented a day-zero exposition to clarify where it stands with its product updates and platform progression is (arguably) both helpful and open. Mixing both press and analysts is also welcome (a well-known German ERP company also does this, but not all do), but this gathering also welcomed product recommendation specialists aka ‘selection consultants’ (like management consultants, but slightly more product-facing), who seemed to integrate with the ensemble well enough.

Onto the show proper for product updates and more besides.