This morning Infor announced it will expand its engineering organization by hiring approximately 400 additional software developers and plans to add significantly more new features and releases this year than ever before. Reinforcing, the strategy shift away from building middleware, all these new hires will be focused on building business applications.
This signals an increase in investment in product development under the leadership of the new management team put in place by Charles Phillips who took over as CEO, bumping Jim Schaper to chairman of the board. Infor also announced license growth of 17% and increased cash operating margins of 24% (which includes Infor and Softbrands Q3FY11 results over Q3 of Fiscal Year 2010). Infor added 400 net new customers last quarter. This is an important statistic since we have witnessed slowed growth of ERP solution providers, coupled with the downturn in the economy over the last two plus years. Indeed, Infor’s customer count has hovered around 70,000 for the past five years, ever since the acquisition of SSA Global, Systems Union and Extensity in August 2006. Since then, new customer growth has compensated for attrition, but has not moved the needle significantly.
New releases, standards based integration through Infor’s new ION platform, and planned changes to a new and universal user interface are all necessary components in order for Infor to break out this year and grow that number, especially if it wants to grow organically, as well as through acquisition. This announcement comes just days after the new of the proposed bid to acquire Lawson by Infor and its major investor Golden Gate Capital. Clearly Infor management wants to send the message that while acquisitions are likely in the near future, organic growth is also important.