Business software leaders Oracle and SAP face a number of fast-growing young rivals, but privately held Infor deserves a prominent place among the competition.
While the two enterprise software leaders face companies such as Tableau Software Salesforce.com and Workday analysts say that Infor has emerged as another big rival.
Though fairly low-profile, Infor has $3 billion in annual revenue and 70,000 customers worldwide, making it the No. 3 provider of enterprise resource planning software, said Peter Goldmacher, an analyst for Cowen, in a recent research report.
SAP still leads in ERP software, but besides Oracle it faces a rising number of emerging competitors.
SAP and Oracle are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. "While many investors point to Salesforce.com and Workday as posing the biggest competitive threats to Oracle and SAP, the reality is that Infor . .. is an underappreciated competitor that's taking share in the core," Goldmacher wrote.
The company has deftly used a combination of competitive prices, easy-to-use software and the option of cloud computing to carve a niche, Goldmacher told IBD: "When they are writing software, they are writing it for specific functions, whereas Oracle and SAP have more generic software, and you customize it to fit a specific function. Infor is going after specific verticals, and it is cheaper."
Infor develops software for specific parts of broad industries such as hospitality, health care, financial services and retail, said Christine Dover, an analyst for market tracker IDC: "They are building ... verticals within verticals, and that is what SAP and Oracle don't really do."
The company's focused approach makes it more nimble and more accessible to customers than its rivals, says Infor President Stephan Scholl.
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