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Chuck Schaeffer Infor Orbis MRM Shakes Up Marketing Software Industry

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The New Infor Advances Its New Product Strategy

Infor has acquired Orbis Global, a maker of SaaS Marketing Resource Management (MRM) software. But this is more interesting than just another technology company acquisition, and this is not your father’s Infor.

In case you missed it, Infor became the New Infor beginning in the later half of 2010. There were no press releases or new marketing collaterals describing the New Infor, but the new Phillips led executive team began a not so subtle transformation of strategy and people, that is now being followed by a revamped product strategy. In fact, the product strategy itself is an evolution of the Infor application software portfolio that includes increased R&D for existing apps, and acquisition consideration for applications based on disruptive technologies and growth potential—not based on annual maintenance revenues of legacy systems—a model that is certainly dying as customers are affored much simpler rip and replace legacy system alternatives due to the cloud.

And now the New Infor product strategy is making a run toward the red hot marketing software market. The company began by resurrecting Epiphany—the application that literally invented marketing automation software but languished a slow death following its untimely demise and subsequent shuffling between new owners. Today, Epiphany is on the rebound and again an impressive solution for larger B2C companies, especially in the retail, financial services, communications, technology, and travel industries.

The New Infor’s dramatically ramped up R&D is also about to deliver Infor Inforce marketing software later this month. Inforce is a B2B marketing automation system developed on the Force.com platform and closely tied to new strategic partner Salesforce.com.

With the just announced acquisition of Orbis Global, Infor takes the next step into Marketing Resource Management (MRM) and gives Inforce new growth potential and Epiphany new cross-sell capability. Five year old Orbis Global originated in Sydney, but moved the company HQ to the Bay area. Infor partnered and began reselling Orbis Global in November 2011, which paved the way for a natural acquisition that afforded very little product overlap and subsequent product rationalization as well as a more streamlined transition.

MRM is the marketing operations management of marketing software. It’s often considered a subset of Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM), and delivers software automation in the areas of planning, design, resource management and production. It’s a marketing software category that doesn’t always get the media attention, but nonetheless is being increasingly recognized and adopted in parallel to marketing automation software and the morphing of marketing cycles and sales cycles into integrated revenue cycles. Indeed, MRM software is growing at around 20 percent annually, possibly outpacing marketing automation software.

Gartner named Orbis Global a leader in its MRM Magic Quadrant for 2012. The company’s Orbis MRM product includes both MRM and Marketing Asset Management, and delivers features such as digital asset management, resource management, project management, budget and cost tracking, copy/creative approval processing, capacity planning and marketing analytics. Orbis MRM is a multi-tenant cloud solution that will positioned for SaaS growth, but the product is available on-premise or in a hybrid environment, which may be important for some of the largest brand customers.

In many ways, Orbis Global fights the David versus Goliath battle, going up against the likes of IBM Unica and Teradata Aprimo. Thus far in these battles the company has held its own, acquiring 30 new customers in just the last year, and now under the Infor banner will rid the small company viability concerns that often challenge small software companies selling to big brands.

Orbis Global will move forward as a standalone business unit, Infor Orbis. For Epiphany, Infor Orbis will be available as an integrated MRM suite. For Inforce, core MRM features will be embedded into the Inforce solution and the full MRM suite will be available as an add-on module.

While Infor is no longer the third largest ERP software company you’ve never heard of, it still remains challenged to convince the marketplace that is an innovator. However, if and when the New Infor executes on its new found marketing software strategy and portfolio, it will continue to show that this is not a holding company where legacy systems go to die, but a software innovation company where customers go to gain technology advantage. End

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MRM is a marketing software category that doesn’t always get the media attention, but is growing at around 20 percent annually, possibly outpacing marketing automation software.

 

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