Infor, Microsoft join on ERP push

Infor will be relying on Microsoft technology for the next generation of its line of ERP (enterprise resource planning) products, in the wake of a deal the companies announced Wednesday.

While Infor and Microsoft already had a partnership, the new announcement takes the relationship much further.

Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration product will serve as a foundation for "portal based, unified interfaces for all Infor applications," Infor said in a statement. The vendor will also use Microsoft's Silverlight RIA (rich Internet application) platform; Microsoft Reporting Services for BI (business intelligence); and Microsoft Single Sign-On for identity management. It has also named SQL Server and Windows Server as its "preferred" infrastructure components.

Privately held Infor is one of the world's largest ERP vendors after Oracle and SAP, with reported revenues in the neighborhood of $2 billion. It has grown through a long series of acquisitions, most notably the 2006 deal for SSA Global.

Overall, the new Microsoft partnership will help Infor develop products faster and standardize its product line, according to a statement.

In addition, using more Microsoft technology helps Infor position itself as an easy-to-migrate alternative to Redmond's own Dynamics family of ERP applications, as well as help link ERP with desktop applications, said 451 Group analyst China Martens via e-mail.

A number of other manufacturing-oriented ERP vendors, such as Consona and Epicor, also have products based on Microsoft, Martens added.

"Microsoft's picked up some manufacturing-focused technology, but not going as deep as some of the more manufacturing-focused ERP vendors," she said.

In a another announcement Wednesday, Infor announced ION, a new set of software services for integrating data from Infor and other applications. ION will be used to build out reports and analytics that surface ERP data through SharePoint, Infor said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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