Infor vs. SAP: Why Visual South Chose Infor

    11/15/17 10:18 AM

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    Infor vs. SAP

    SAP is arguably the most recognized name in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and it is ranked number one in ERP revenue. Its ERP product is designed to serve the Tier 1 market. The best way to define the Tier 1 market is to think in terms of a Fortune 1000 company. The revenue of a company that makes this list is defined in billions, not millions. In 2016, the company that ranked last on the list was Briggs & Stratton, with revenue of $1.8 billion.

    Infor is arguably the least recognized name in ERP software. At one point its marketing campaign used the tagline, “The largest ERP company you never heard of.” Large it is—its annual revenue is $3 billion making it the third largest ERP company in the world. It serves customers in the Tier 1, 2, and 3 markets.

    Why not partner with #1?

    At Visual South, we partner with Infor, not SAP. You might ask: Why go with the company most people have never heard of?

    On the surface it certainly seems like we would want to partner with the top-ranked ERP solution. To understand why we didn’t (and won’t), you have to understand how SAP’s solution compares to Infor’s.

    Since SAP is focused on the Fortune 1000, its software needs to be adaptable to any industry, from Walmart (#1) to Briggs & Stratton (#1000). As you can imagine, the needs of a global retailer are much different than the needs of a global manufacturer. This required flexibility adds a tremendous amount of overhead in maintaining and implementing the solution. For example, the first major step in an SAP implementation is defining to the ERP the industry the company is in.

    Infor’s strategy is different. It focuses on producing solutions for specific industries. The Infor products Visual South sells are designed for small- to medium-sized manufacturers (annual revenue of $5-$250 million) and service companies. If a $75 million soft drink bottling company came to us for a software solution, we wouldn’t be able to help them with the products we sell. However, another Infor Partner who is focused on the bottling industry could help with an Infor product designed for that industry.

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    Strategies in alignment

    Since Infor has different products designed for different industries, Visual South doesn’t have to try to be everything to everyone. We can focus on a small number of industries and become experts in those industries. Infor’s specialization strategy also simplifies the implementation of the solution.

    This strategy is aligned with who Visual South is as a company. All our employees have backgrounds in small- to medium-sized manufacturing or service companies, and have, in most cases, worn many hats at those companies. So when we work with one of our customers, we are very comfortable with their environment and culture. It’s where we came from. As much as I would like to believe we can do anything, we would be lost trying to implement ERP in a company with revenue in the billions. A Fortune 1000 manufacturing company is a different animal than the companies we serve. There are more layers, more nuances, and more politics. We're more comfortable working with small- to medium-sized manufacturing or service companies. It’s what we know; it’s what we're good at.

    Beautiful software

    Infor also appeals to the sense of order and design we have at Visual South. We like clean, well-thought out solutions. Typically, software is created by developers as a solution to a problem. The result is software with a developer’s look and feel. It works fine, but is somewhat clunky. Infor disrupted this model by bringing an internal design firm (Hook & Loop) into the development model. The goal of Hook & Loop is to work in conjunction with developers to create software that not only addresses business needs, but does it with a clean, beautiful design along with intuitive functionality. Think of a Blackberry compared to an iPhone. The Blackberry was functional, but the iPhone brought smart phones to a whole new level.

    At Visual South, #3 is greater than #1

    Now you know why in the SAP vs. Infor comparison, Infor is number one to us. It is our goal to help our customers be the best they can be. Software doesn’t fix everything, but it can provide information and clarity so the talented people running the company (and the talented people working there) can make better decisions together. Infor’s software solutions fit our business model and culture.

    If you are interested in ERP software for a small- to medium-sized company, you should read my eBook on How to Select ERP…and not regret it. Click on the image below to download the eBook.

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    Topics: ERP selection

    Jack Shannon

    Written by Jack Shannon

    Jack is the President of Visual South and has been working with the product since 1996 when he bought it in his role as a Plant Manager. Since 1998 he has worked for Visual South with roles in consulting, sales and executive management.