Business goes social

Charles Phillips, CEO, infor

Infor today announced it is reinventing the look and feel of application interface models.

Speaking at the Infor partner conference in Paris, CEO Charles Phillips and President Duncan Angove, demonstrated a new social business platform interface based on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

“The next generation will demand this updated, social and mobile interface in the workplace,” said Angove.

“Merging the way we live with the way we work is the next step. Using the consumer product design to develop a new application interface will significantly speed up work processes.”

Phillips told CPI exclusively that the interface upgrades puts Infor three to five years ahead of their competitors.

“Our competitors don’t have such a loosely linked application base, therefore the turnaround time for a project like this would be years,” he said.

“Around 7 years ago we designed our application infrastructure with loose links so that we could develop our applications when the time came to do so, that time is now.”

The new interface described as ‘beauty as a competence’ was designed by a team hired by the CEO and President and embedded in the new Infor office in New York. When choosing which team to hire, Angove said Infor had to choose the team which made them the most uncomfortable.

“Hook and Loop are there to build the beauty we need. Charles and I interviewed a selection of candidates, and we said we should hire the team which makes us feel least comfortable. They’ve introduced a great new consumer feel to the way we work,” he said.

The new interface is part of an upgrade of Infor 10 which was announced at this event 12 months ago. Today, Phillips was quick to demonstrate the progress which the company had made since. The company boasts 140 new partners worldwide and 2,300 new customers, following a year which saw $2.8bn in revenue.

“We’re showing that we’re serious on investment. We have employed 1700 new members of staff and over 600 new engineers since last year and are now the third largest company in our sector. We want to be the fresh alternative in a disruptive technology,” said Phillips.

Angove explained that the design of the new interface is based on a five prong strategy which aims to reduce the number of clicks needed, take out unnecessary tabs and increase speed of performance.

“The first element is about speed, the second is context – delivering relevant information to the right person in real time. The third is rewiring the way people work together by developing a social portal for employees to communicate on when working on processes. The fourth is about mobility, being able to access the portal on mobile devices, an area we’re calling Motion. And the fifth is about the analytics of work processes,” he said.

The interface is designed in a way that lets employees follow teams, work objects and tasks much like you would with groups and friends on Facebook and Twitter. Angove used the example of a hotel which is using the interface.

“Say the hotel wants to upgrade a room for a loyal customer but the system says that this room is due for maintenance tomorrow. She can post to maintenance that she needs this process completed today. The relevant team will see this and all related information in their news feed much like Facebook. The person taking care of the upgrade can then ‘follow’ the work object, in this case, the maintenance issue, until she sees that the process has been completed. It’s the complete social business model,” he concluded.

Joe Lipscombe is reporting from live from the Infor EMEA partner conference in Paris. Follow Tweets at @computernewsme.

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