Infor Develops New Program, Standard Contracts For Its Channel Partners

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Business application vendor Infor Corp. is launching a formal partner initiative that for the first time puts its 700 channel partners under a single, comprehensive program with a standard contract.

Under the new Infor Partner Network, which the company is unveiling today, the software vendor hopes to double is channel sales during the next three years, said Jeff Abbott, vice president of global alliances and channels, in an interview.

"This is a reset of our channel strategy under one unified program," Abbott said. "The marker I've set is to double our channel sales over the next three years and this program is a key part of that."

Infor has a broad range of software products including ERP, CRM, financial management, human resource management and supply chain management applications, among others. That stems from the company's history of being assembled through a series of acquisitions including GEAC Computer Corp. (which itself made a number of acquisitions including Dun & Bradstreet Software) and SSA Global (which bought many companies including Baan, Epiphany and Infinium Software).

Infor, in conjunction with private equity giant Golden Gate Capital, is currently in the process of acquiring Lawson Software for $2 billion. Infor expects to wrap up that deal sometime in the third quarter.

The channel initiative is also tied to a broader product strategy that will organize Infor's broad product portfolio into unified suites focused on vertical industries. Infor has not announced details of the product strategy and Abbott said an announcement is forthcoming.

Infor CEO Charles Phillips, who joined the company in October after stepping down as president at Oracle, is driving the new channel push, Abbott said. Abbott also came to Infor from Oracle where he was responsible for setting up the Oracle Accelerate program that created a set of application packages for mid-size businesses that are largely sold through the channel.

About 80 percent of Infor's 700 partners came to the company by way of the acquisitions – some have been selling specific products for 20 and even 30 years, Abbott said. And those partners have been managed using individual contracts rather than through a unified, comprehensive partner program with a standard contract.

Today the channel accounts for about 25 percent of Infor's top-line software license revenue, according to Abbot.

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