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taylor_macdonald-133x200Infor has not been so much a quiet company, as a strange company. In terms of size, it's probably in a similar range as Sage, although Infor is private. It's got a lot of ERP products that have been purchased, like Sage. And it got a hint of Sage recently in announcing that it has hired Taylor Macdonald as its VP of worldwide channels.

That announcement hasn't been widely released, but with Macdonald on board to help change strategy for the Infor channel, a lot of people in the mid-market channel have either gotten calls or emails or they will.

Sage just reported revenue of $2.2 billion for the year ended September 30. Most reports have Infor as being larger, somewhere from $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion. But Infor is a company owned by an investment group and normally, that suggests a public offering sometime, although the turbulence in the economy over the last two years may have set that back.

The two contacts I have had with Infor suggest it hasn't had the greatest channel relations. Some time ago, I had my one and only interview. That was about Infor's supposed imposition of a program requiring its resellers not to carry competing products. I would characterize the interviewee as masterfully evasive. Earlier this year, I listened on a teleconference as another executive outlined  Infor’s decision to keep and develop the Fourth Shift Brand it had acquired, but not to market it. It reminded me a lot of the late stages of a game of Twister.

But with a new tag line, "There's a Better Way," and what seems to be a pretty good advertising campaign, adding Macdonald look like a logical step in putting this company on a better footing in the market.

Infor has some familiar products, including the F9 financial software that has been shifted around like a foster child as passed through different owners. But most of Infor's line is further upstream with some heavy duty ERP and supply chain offerings, in a very broad product line. And the focus is on industries, more like the market upstream than the midmarket competitors downstream. There's a lot of industries mentioned that look like areas into which market is moving Dynamics AX.

Some might make a big deal that this is Macdonald's third job since and he and three other Sage North America executives were shown the door in the fall of 2007. But while at Deltek during 2008, he had recruited about all the VARs the company needed in six months. This year's stay in channel development at educational software company Promethean just didn't look like a fit.
Infor's Web page does not give much help in describing where channel partners fit into its distribution scheme. But with Macdonald on board, I think we're going to get a clearer idea very quickly.

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