Infinium Putting its Cards on the Table
Jakovljevic - May 10, 2000
On April 20, Infinium Software, a provider of Web-based enterprise solutions
and services, announced that it introduced many significant new offerings
- including Web applications, application service provider (ASP) offerings,
customer relationship management (CRM) and e-business solutions - at Infinium
World 2000, its 15th annual customer conference. More than 1,300 customers
and 650 Infinium employees from around the world attended Infinium World
2000, held at the MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas.
Nathan, Vice President of Human Resources for Bellagio, a premier Las
Vegas hotel and casino, was a keynote speaker at Infinium's Annual Technology
Presentation, co-presenting with Infinium CEO Bob Pemberton. Nathan's
presentation focused on the importance of leveraging the Web to improve
customer relationships, not only with external customers, but also with
internal customers, HR managers, and associate employees.
demonstrated Bellagio's innovative Web-based use of Infinium's Human Resource
and Payroll solutions, and explained how Bellagio implemented a fully-automated,
online employee hiring solution that processed over 83,000 employment
applications, leading to 10,000 interviews completed in 10 weeks, resulting
in the hiring of Bellagio's entire 9,300 person workforce.
Marc Planquart, Chief Technology Officer of Infinium, and Keith Phillips,
Vice President and General Manager of Infinium e-Business, presented Infinium's
new e-business solutions and Web-based enterprise applications. Infinium's
e-business solutions include end-to-end tailored solutions that integrate
business operations, e-commerce solutions, and industry and organization-specific
content-driven portals. Planquart demonstrated several key components
of the new e-business solutions, including Infinium's Web-based e-procurement
solution, Infinium's Web-based benefits enrollment and modeling self-service
solution, and Infinium's business intelligence analytic solution. Planquart
also presented Infinium enterprise business solutions on a wireless device
communicating to the applications via Infinium ASP.
Joint, Vice President and General Manager of Infinium CRM, previewed Infinium's
new customer relationship management solution, Infinium CRM, and announced
that it would be generally available in North America in May 2000. Joint
highlighted the benefits of Infinium CRM, stressing the importance of
integration with a variety of ERP systems, tailored, industry-specific
functionality, and solution flexibility required by all companies implementing
CRM systems. Infinium CRM is currently installed and in-use at more than
130 customer sites in Europe, including Heineken, whose Managing Director,
F.P.H. Bot, demonstrated how his organization had successfully utilized
Infinium CRM to optimize customer relationships.
Burud, Senior Vice President of Infinium ASP, presented Infinium's application
service provider offerings, Infinium ASP. Burud talked about the myriad
of information technology and business challenges that are currently driving
organizations to evaluate ASP offerings, and the specific benefits that
Infinium ASP provides to customers including Rehabilitation Hospital of
the Pacific; Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; and Viking Freight, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of FedEx Corp.
Infinium Software (formerly Software 2000), until recently a somewhat
quiet vendor from Hyannis, MA, has decided to create noise and much bigger
recognition in the enterprise applications market. It therefore decided
to bring to this event, for the first time, all of its employees without
exceptions (a virtual support center was set up in the MGM Grand Hotel
in Las Vegas so that customer service & support remained fully operational)
in addition to the usual number of users and distributors (over 1,300).
This conference, with a motto 'Play to win', was used for an initial training
of business partners on upcoming new products and technologies, in addition
to the informative and mingling nature of this kind of event.
The company has traditionally delivered solid financial, human resources,
materials management, and process manufacturing software applications,
predominantly for users of the IBM AS/400 platform. It targets mid-sized
companies and divisions of larger organizations within the following industries:
hospitality & gaming, transportation, healthcare, retail, process manufacturing,
and financial services. It is indisputably the leader within the hospitality
& gaming industry (over 70% market share), thereby unofficially branding
Las Vegas as the capital city of its business.
favorably regard the company's most recent moves, which are in sync with
the market trends (e.g., shift to CRM applications, ASP offering, Web-enablement
and self-service capabilities, business intelligence capabilities, vertical
focus, etc.). However, Infinium experienced a significant downturn in
license revenue during 1999, and it badly needs an extended ERP offering
in order to mine its large customer base and potential new users.
Its acquisition of Dutch CRM vendor Dexon Information Systems earlier
this year should result in a true synergy for a number of reasons. First,
Dexon had a renowned market presence and customers within the European
market, which supplements Infinium's North American strong presence and
adds to its top line. Second, there is platform compatibility, since both
products are AS/400 based, which should mitigate the integration effort
to a degree. Third, in addition to a very comprehensive CRM product suite,
Dexon offers interfaces to SAP, J.D. Edwards, SSA, and JBA, which create
additional selling opportunities.
Nevertheless, the company faces the challenge of delivering its very ambitious
undertakings as planned. While Infinium's financial situation is stable
at present, any hiccups and delays in its product development execution,
possibly bundled with continued poor sales execution, may put significant
strain on its cash resources. Any product integration requires a painstaking
effort, and most of it is still in various stages of progress throughout
the Infinium product suite. Mitigating factors in this regard, however,
are the focus on the AS/400 platform and the proven interconnectivity
of Infinium's products in the past.
Furthermore, the return to its hefty investment in the ASP part of the
business remains uncertain in the immediate future, despite Infinium's
initial success in attracting a few customers. While many CIOs make outsourcing
software a serious consideration for any future IT plans, few are willing
to jump on the bandwagon just yet.
believe that the idea of buying software services "across the wire" instead
of in-house implementations will not become the predominant model in the
next 3 years. However, Infinium's early entry strategy may play well into
this acceptance lag. Also, its readiness to accommodate some degree of
customization of its outsourced applications may reduce customers' initial
reticence to venture into the uncertain land of ASP. In addition, Infinium
will continue to offer customers the choice of buying software the conventional
Infinium has not yet officially announced its plans regarding e-commerce
and vertical marketplaces. During our attendance of Infinium World we
were made aware that some alliance negotiations are in progress, and the
market should expect related press releases in the near future.
We generally recommend including Infinium in a long list of an enterprise
application selection for mid-market and low-end Tier 1 companies (with
$100M-$2B in revenue) as well as for divisions of Fortune 1000 companies
within the following industries: hospitality & gaming, transportation,
healthcare, retail, process manufacturing, and financial services. Infinium
should be included on any package selection short list within the above
markets where financial, human resources, and process manufacturing are
the main pillars of an enterprise application. Users from industries not
mentioned above may benefit from evaluating some stand-alone Infinium's
product components (e.g., CRM, HR, and BIAS - business intelligence application
suite) on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis.
organization evaluating Infinium should consider existing functionality
only, and, in the case of final selection, should inquire and negotiate
incorporation of new applications components now at negotiated license
fees, given Infinium's recent increase in new product introductions.