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Infor launches version 10x, plans IBM SmartCloud launch for its apps

Infor also says its hiring binge wil help it release 300 new products in 2013, 150 percent more than last year

Infor is hoping a new social collaboration tool, updated middleware and user interfaces, as well as options for cloud-based deployments, will help cement its place as one of the industry's largest ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors after SAP and Oracle.

Infor CEO Charles Phillips, a former Oracle president, has sought to remake Infor's image from that of a holding company for older applications, to one offering a modern technology platform and reinvigorated applications for the verticals and "micro-verticals" it already served.

To that end, Infor announced version 10x of its platform on Monday during the Inforum conference in Orlando. The release includes Infor's ION middleware, HTML5-based user interfaces, "in-context analytics" and a new social collaboration platform called Ming.le.

Version 10x will be released in stages, initially for Infor's LN, SunSystems, EAM, CRM and Hansen applications, followed by "additional core-product lines" over the next couple of years, according to a statement.

The release is an evolution of Infor10, which was launched in 2011.

Also Monday, Infor announced a deal that will make Infor applications available via IBM's SmartCloud, which offers public, private and hybrid cloud deployment options. Availability is expected May 1, according to Infor.

Phillips' tenure at Infor has also seen the company hire 650 additional designers and engineers over the past couple of years.

As a result of the staff increase and ramped-up research and development spending, Infor will roll out about 300 new products this year, some 150 percent more than 2012, according to a statement. It also plans to quadruple the amount of ION-based integration with its own software and third party applications, compared to 2012.

"The bottom line is, Infor's new product lines are appealing to the business side of the house," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "Businesses are getting consumer-grade user experiences with enterprise-class standards."

In addition, the "traditional IT person" sitting in the audience at Inforum also now has something to take back to business executives to show that the maintenance fees they're paying Infor are going to something valuable once again, Wang added.

"They've gone pretty deep with rewriting all the apps and adding functionality to show customers this is out of the box," he said.

Inforum continues through Wednesday in Orlando.

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


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