Remember Infor? You probably know it now, but didn’t even realize it’s been around for a long time. In fact, it only really become known when Charles Philips Infor CEO and wife Karen started promoting it. Phillips became CEO of Infor not too long ago, and he has totally turned the company around. In fact, he is now direct competition with Oracle, his previous employer.
When you speak to Phillips, you can see how his wife has influenced the direction the company is going in. Everything is about beauty, and Karen herself is truly a beautiful woman. The words ‘beauty’ and ‘beautiful’ are used everywhere in Infor as well. His new software, which is built by the ‘Hook & Loop’ in-house design team (made up, among others, from fashion designers!), is beautiful, his new headquarters (he moved the company from Georgia to New York – not Silicone Valley, because New York is where beautiful designs are made) are beautiful, everything is a thing of beauty.
The Silicon Alley offices are really a thing of beauty. Seated in an old 19th century department store, it is a breath of modern fresh air the minute you step in. And one of the things that Infor employees find more beautiful than anything else is the work life balance they are encouraged to achieve.
Once a year, Infor organizes ‘Analyst Day’. Here, attendees travel on gorgeous buses with comfy leather seats and stunning tables. They event, this year, took place at the Museum of Modern Art, where people are divided in groups of 15 for private tours. Next was a wine tour with the most delicious hors d’oeuvres you have ever taste, followed by a private room three course meal.
Phillips, meanwhile, is seen wearing custom made shoes, from Italy, and he is heard talking about his family constantly, leaving work behind for a day.
Of course, Infor has to make its money from somewhere, and they seem to be good at that as well. Their motto is ‘no fugly software’, meaning it has to be beautiful. To look at, to use, to customize, everything. Unlike other companies, Infor doesn’t focus on huge industries, looking rather at micro-verticals. So instead of focusing on hospitality as a whole, they focus on breweries and bakers, for instance. Another micro vertical they work with is fashion, as well as Heineken, and Ferrari. Beautiful clothes, beautiful beers, beautiful cars.
The strategy, for some, is too cooky and focused on beauty. But it seems to work. When Phillips started, he said he would grow the company’s license revenue by 20%, and he turned it into 22%. He also said that he would ensure 50% growth of the cloud, which he turned into 57%. He now has around 80,000 customers in over 125 countries across the world. Infor before Charles Phillips is something few people knew about. Infor since Charles Phillips, however, is impossible to get around. The only thing people now wonder is how he can possibly make things even better.