In scouring the ERP-Select discussion board today I came across someone in inquiring about roadmaps from Infor. They were to have provided a post acquisition (and by this they meant after SSA was absorbed) statement of direction in the September/October timeframe. I've not seen anything yet. I can't blame them. I spent some time at Microsoft when the Dynamics people were working out the roadmap and messaging around what was then called "Green". They struggled to provide clarity amid 4 ERP lines and as much R&D resources as they cared to spend.
Infor sits here with many more products and much less resource. But it isn't really about the products going forward as it is the potential for maintenance and service revenue from the acquired base. As Dennis Byron over at IT Investment Research puts it, "This is a milking of annual subscription maintenance streams that would make CA founder Charles Wang blush."
Per Dennis the current brand portfolio at Infor goes something like this:
Agilisys (out of SC&T), Aperum, Arzoon, Baan, Boniva, Brain, BPCS, Daly Commerce, Comshare, Dun & Bradstreet, Elevon, e.phiphany, EXE Technologies, Extensity, Formation Systems, Foundation, Future Three, Infinium (nee Software 2000), Ironside, JBA Software, Lilly Software, Marcam, MAPICS (putting M&M back together for the first time since IBM spun out Mapics), Mercia, McCormick and Dodge, Ohio Community Library Consortium (OCLC), NxTrend, Octane, Pegasus, Provia, StarBuilder, SunSystems (not to be confused with the server manufacturer), Varial, and Vision.
What a mess. So what sort of product roadmap do you provide? The challenge instead is to find the right level of spin that will allow you to say "our strategic plan is to be just like Sage, but for larger customers", and have it sound like a good thing.
It brings to mind Jim Mora's famous reaction to being asked just after a horrible loss if his team could still make it to the playoffs. Can't you just hear it. Sage, Infor and a real long term product roadmap..Roadmap? Don't talk to me about a Roadmap. Are you kidding me?
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