Our US distributor would attend and that would be fine. Then Infor acquired Saleslogix, I had to rethink my travel plans. I am very glad I did.
300+ people turned up, partners, customers and even some prospects. Lots of familiar faces many going back to pre-Sage days. All here to see what the new owners are thinking, where are they going, what does it mean for the product and its users.
In summary, the overall impression of Infor I came away with was – impressive. The story, the people, the approach, the plans for Infor CRM, opportunities for the product, the roadmap, the list of Infor products waiting to be integrated, the speed at which those integrations will come and how, plus the Hook and Loop factor.
Charles Philips the Infor CEO gave the opening keynote. Which for me provided the quote of the week.
“We knew we needed people who really understood big data, so we went and hired six professors out of MIT”.
The Hook and Loop factor
It is a similar story regarding the Infor approach to design. Infor wants their apps to be used and more importantly for users to actually enjoy using the applications. So they simply went to New York hired a bunch of top-flight award-winning designers from a variety of backgrounds including film and fashion, not your usual technical designers and for good reasons. Then they build a company around them.
Having seen some of the design output as well as videos about how they work, it is clear there is a very different mindset being applied to the world of software design. I believe it will be very likely that in a very short space of time, like next year, Infor CRM will be winning lots of praise and awards for its usability.
Infor doesn’t really shout about the importance of the customer like some other vendors do, they simply demonstrate their intentions in what they do and how.
Like I said impressive.
Real people working together
Also, you get the feeling there are real people working together at Infor, not a disparate collection of individuals all looking for their next career move. They just come across as more organised, they know what they are trying to achieve and have a very good idea of how. They are the first to admit they are not perfect but offered direct communication to help fix issues when they arise.
Clearly, Infor CRM is already getting more investment than it has had in many years. No exact numbers, but one senior Infor manager said they would be investing millions of dollars. Dave Wallace the Director for Product Management for Infor CRM was certainly a very upbeat guy when I had lunch with him. We have known Dave for a long time and it’s been pretty depressing talking with him in the past about lack of investment available to the product (Saleslogix), but no more.
So what does all this upbeat, good news stuff mean for users?
Well based on everything I have seen this week and conversations I had prior to the event, it means you are now using a product that has an owner that cares about you. It cares about the experience you will have when using the product and how that product will deliver value back to your business. I would say this statement should not reflect badly on Swiftpage. As interim custodians, they did a good job of sorting out some very key product issues, plus did a great job of finding the right home for the product.
For any current Saleslogix / Infor CRM customer reading this in early November 2014, I highly recommend looking up the Inforum event schedule.
These are a series of events running in a number of European cities. Go attend and get a glimpse of what you are now about to be party to. If you cannot attend take a look at the Infor site and get familiar with the Infor offerings like Ming.le, Ion, AI etc, it won’t be very long until these will be delivered to your doorstep.
Ion – the glue that enables Infor to rapidly integrate products
For anyone considering a CRM solution and perhaps looking for a real alternative to the two current market leaders, you now have a serious 3rd option. Those placements have a real likelihood of changing in the not too distant future in my humble opinion
So to answer the question;
Will Hook and Loop be the reason for the future success of Infor CRM?
Well yes and no. Yes, because the team at Hook and Loop will be instrumental in creating a product that everyone will want to use and no because Infor has a stack of stuff up its sleeve that will also contribute to its success as an enterprise CRM solution.