Infor Details Mobile Strategy, Launches New Apps
Infor on Monday announced details of its Motion mobility platform as well as the availability of two new mobile applications, Road Warrior and ActivityDeck.
The company undertook an internal review of its mobile strategy, and "came up with a common reality or philosophy among our product base," said Nick Borth, product manager of mobility. "If we consolidate everything down into a single integration platform, it makes for a very quick deployment for our core products," he said. Many of the company's customers lie in manufacturing and distribution, and so that's where Infor is focused first with respect to mobile use cases, he said.
Motion is built on top of the company's ION integration framework, allowing the mobile applications to tie into Infor's ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) applications.
It also includes an App Manager component for user provisioning and security. App Manager "alleviates the problem of legacy mobile, where you had a tool for every application," Borth said. Motion doesn't include a device management component but Infor is contemplating the possibility, according to Borth.
Meanwhile, Road Warrior is a "lite" CRM application, while ActivityDeck is a Twitter-like service that allows users to keep track of goings-on with back-end systems, according to Infor.
Both are initially available as native iOS applications, with native Android versions coming later this year, according to Borth. Infor hasn't yet decided whether it will also target the BlackBerry and Windows mobile platforms, he said.
Those two applications aren't especially customizable, he said. But later this year, Infor plans to release an SDK (software development kit) that customers and partners can use to build and tweak mobile software, he said.
Infor has built prepackaged integrations to four of its ERP products, which users on newer versions will be able to use. But ION provides other means for tying into older platforms, Borth said. Infor is even running tests hooking up mobile applications to green-screen systems, he said.
While the intent is for mobile development to converge on the Motion platform, Infor has no current plans to retire any existing mobile applications, according to Borth. It's hoped that partners that have already offered mobile applications to Infor customers will also migrate their development work to Motion.
Last year's acquisition of Lawson Software introduced another wrinkle to Infor's long-term mobile plans, as Lawson had done more in-house development of mobile applications than Infor. Discussions are ongoing to figure out how to move forward, Borth said.
Right now, Motion is available only from Infor as a managed cloud service. Over time, Infor could offer it to customers who wish to deploy on-premises, but "it's not something we have on our road map," he said.
Mobile applications are priced via named user subscription, with customers getting a discount if they already have the ION framework, according to Borth. He declined to provide specific pricing information.
While the number could change, Infor should be announcing about 10 additional mobile applications within the next year, he said.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com