Infor Looks To Triple Its India Revenue By 2020
Globally, enterprise applications company Infor has been undergoing a transformation in recent years with a focus on the cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies in the area of ERP. India is also a strategic market for Infor as enterprises and governments are increasingly looking to transform their business in order to align with the new complexities of the digital environment. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Ashish Dass, Vice-President & Managing Director, South Asian Subcontinent, Infor, explains how the company is well poised to enable this transformation and stay ahead of the digital curve, with a key focus on the India market, where it plans to triple its revenue in the next three years.
CXOToday: Infor just announced a strong start to FY18 in India. Why is it a strategic market for Infor? Where do you see maximum traction?
Ashish Dass: In a solid start to the year, Infor has recorded triple-digit (YoY) growth in Q1FY18 and we are currently counting more than 700 customers in India. This comprises businesses ranging from large conglomerates to emerging companies including Future Group, MyEco Energy, Dixcy Textiles, and many more. A three-pronged approach involving new customer wins across multiple industries, a laser sharp focus on innovation to deliver purpose-built software for cloud, and a robust partner network resulted in bolstering Infor’s growth in India.
India is a strategic market for Infor. With 2400 employees, it is our largest location and we have invested significantly here to double this number over the last three years. We are upbeat about the India business opportunity in cloud based enterprise software solutions, with the introduction of massive grass root level initiatives such as Aadhar, Digital India,demonetization and importantly, GST. We have hundreds of customers already who have upgraded and taken advantage of the new tax regime and the fact that we are highly localized and understand the specific requirements of each industry, is a huge advantage for the local companies.
We truly believe that we are in the right place, at the right time. Apart from emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is undergoing a revolution of citizen services – all supported by IT infrastructure as the backbone. This focus on technology for business growth is promising and we see phenomenal optimism among stakeholders. Additionally, there is a complete mind shift in the way technology is viewed and consumed. When I took over the reins at Infor, last year, we acquired three large cloud customers in multi-billion dollar deals within the first two quarters. This means the CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies and mid-sized companies’ owners are talking cloud. Earlier, cloud fell within the purview of EDP department but now business leadership is talking about cloud. That is the real change - CEOs want to optimize their business and make it more efficient using the cloud model. That is the change India is going through.
CXOToday: What are the specific plans for the India market for the next 2 years? How are you aligning those with the global strategies?
Ashish Dass: For the India market, we believe growth is coming from the 49 tier-2 cities. Popularly known as SMBs – the sector is flourishing to the extent that it is considered as the backbone of the Indian economy, contributing to 71% of India’s GDP. The country has several SMB clusters spread across the geography – for example, Ludhiana has textile industries, so does Tirupur, and then there is Chandigarh for auto ancillary and auto production.
There are many such examples. In our endeavour to triple our India revenue in the next three years, we are looking to target these 49 cities with our robust sales teams spread across the North, West and South of India. In addition to this regional approach, we will also cater to the niche requirements of various verticals present in the regions. Additionally, our Infor Partner Network will further help deepen our reach and strengthen our grip in the Indian market. Partners in India contribute around 30% to the channel business and 50% of services are delivered by system integrators who specialize in knowledge and skill sets on Infor Solutions. We had recruited 7 new partners in FY17 and we look forward to doubling the number of partners as a part of our Indian market strategy.
While it is important for us to have the “local” flavour of doing business in India, we also ensure that we keep the global convergence in mind so we do not lose out on the benefits that it offers. Keeping an open mind, deeply engaging with us, and learning from our global experiences will help our customers to make a faster digital transformation.
CXOToday: You acquired several new customers in India. Can you throw some light on how you are helping them gain a competitive edge?
Ashish Dass: Our biggest differentiator is that our enterprise applications provide a beautiful user experience. We have created an internal creative development group called Hook & Loop which consists of fashion designers who are committed to making our products look nice. The applications have simplistic, consumer-grade UI that mimic the applications that we use in our daily lives. Simplicity is one of our key strengths; since the applications have a front end like a social media tool, our implementations are faster as the workforce accepts them quicker.
Additionally, Infor builds industry-specific business applications with last mile functionality and scientific insights for select industries delivered as a cloud service. This is driven by our Infor Dynamic Science Labs (DSL) staffed by MIT alumni. They cater to the science behind the beauty of our software. We are probably the only company that has got a multi-tenant software on the cloud and our strategic partnership with AWS enables us to be a single point of contact for the customer.
CXOToday: Any new offering, upgrades, expansion or acquisition plans in the coming month?
Ashish Dass: We are very excited about the recent launch of ‘Coleman’ - an enterprise-grade, industry-specific artificial intelligence platform. This is the most significant product announcement since Infor CloudSuite in 2014. Much like Infor CloudSuite marked the first industry-specific ERP suites in the cloud, the introduction of powerful AI into business applications through Infor Coleman marks another milestone achievement in the evolution of enterprise software. Coleman was named in honor of Katherine Coleman Johnson, a physicist and mathematician whose critical calculations helped man reach the moon. She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) – a passion that Infor shares.
In my opinion, AI is the new UI. McKinsey reported that 20% of the average work week is spent searching and gathering information – imagine how much more productive people can be if they are able to delegate such tasks to artificial intelligence and focus instead on more valuable work. That’s pretty incredible, and it barely scratches the surface of what Coleman can do to help us maximize human potential.
CXOToday: From your dialogues with CIOs, what have you noticed are their key pain points. How is Infor trying to address those problem?
Ashish Dass: A top priority for every organization today is to exceed customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition. CIOs today are constantly looking to evolve their IT systems to help control cost structures, consolidate business processes and improve performance and profitability. Infor helps organizations develop integrated systems that deliver real-time data for greater visibility of production, inventory and sales. This in turn improves decision-making and results in faster time-to-market. The Infor consulting services team with in-depth product knowledge provides excellent support for project Go-Lives.
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