I didn’t think it was possible to have a 2 billion dollar company in the software market that I didn’t know about but Infor is such a company focusing on enterprise applications such as CRM and more. The company competes with the likes of SAP and Oracle and has grown revenue by 300% in the past year. Infor has had a string of acquisitions as of late and the result is a company with 70,000 application customers. I decided it would make sense to have an interview with the company’s Global Director, CRM Product Marketing Patric Timmermans so we could all get a better Idea about who the company is and where they are going.
1) Before we discuss CRM, who is Infor and what are you doing different in the market?
Infor recognizes there has been a large gap in the enterprise software market. There are players trying to bring their heavy solutions down market and small companies bringing their niche solutions up market. Infor fills this void by providing customers of all sizes, through innovation and acquisition, with proven business-specific solutions with experience built in, backed by a vendor with global scale and stability. Our more than 70,000 customers turn to Infor to solve their needs in CRM, Supply Chain, ERP, Performance Management, Enterprise Asset Management and more.
2) Tell me about Infor CRM.
Our legacy in CRM comes from Epiphany as well as other best-of-breed CRM providers we acquired. Infor CRM is a strategic set of solutions that enable companies to develop and maintain a consistent and continuous dialogue with their customers, and brings all channels and sources together to create one experience. In order to be effective, a company’s CRM solution must integrate marketing, sales and service to provide full 360 degree view of the customer. A comprehensive CRM can provide real time information about the customer and match that to the best possible service or product, or next best action.
3) What should customers take into consideration when selecting a CRM provider?
When a CRM system is deployed, it will be there for a long time. With new applications being introduced every year, your CRM provider has to have the ability to integrate with any service you want to offer. This creates a mashup within CRM and the real estate on an agent’s screen becomes a combination of several applications and capabilities. The CRM system must pull all of this information together be it from legacy or third-party applications. Companies should look for CRM solutions that are agnostic to other applications in the enterprise infrastructure and are not reliant on a specific middleware platform.
4) What does the future of CRM look like?
Marketing to the consumer on their time. This is a shift from the current concept where companies market solutions when it is convenient to them, not the customer. CRM is evolving towards utilizing real-time information from across the enterprise to provide offers to the consumer when their attention is at its greatest. For example, using a customer’s calling history to offer more services when they visit the website to pay their bill or call the contact center. Our customers have seen dramatic increases in campaign effectiveness with this approach.
5) What are the key milestones for Infor CRM in the next 12 - 18 months?
You will see additional functionality in our CRM solutions for B-to-B, B-to-C, and B-to-B-to-C environments as we strive to enrich the customer experience. In addition, we will continue to extend our solutions’ capabilities in our key verticals such as communications, financial services, insurance, retail, hospitality, travel and leisure, and manufacturing.
Infor CRM will continue to evolve and interoperate with new applications and services.
6) What do you predict the evolution of CRM to be over the next 10 years?
I see CRM evolving towards the concept of intelligent customer dialogue to create one experience. Companies realize the consumer wants more then exceptional service or product, they want the whole experience the brand they are buying promises, and to connect with the vision of that company. Products are so similar from one brand to another companies are competing on customer service. This too will become very similar and the shift will be towards the customer experience and feeling a part of the brand and company. CRM will provide the tools to help companies move beyond simple sales tactics and create this experience.
7) What industries do you see the most momentum with CRM?
There are three industries I see are leading: communications, retail banking and insurance. All three of these have a strong customer vision with set strategic goals for how CRM can help them increase revenue, not just create efficiencies.
The retail sector is also surging and I see them as a good growth market for CRM in the coming years. Interestingly, we also see manufacturers developing a strategy of supporting the whole supply chain from manufacturing through retail to the end-customer in a B-to-B-to-C model.
8) What is the key ingredient many companies are missing from their CRM strategy?
I believe many companies overlook the ability to gain insight into the customer and act upon it. CRM is a strategic resource to turn contact centers into profit centers by using real-time analytics to reduce costs while driving in new revenues by creating a customized customer experience at every touch point. This may change the way performance is measured. For example, on of our retail banking customers changed their metrics for success. Their call center agents were previously measured on call handling times and speed of entry, but now they are measured on products per-household, deposit growth goals and customer satisfaction.