Infinium Putting its Cards on the Table

Infinium Putting its Cards on the Table
P.J. Jakovljevic - May 10, 2000

Event Summary

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.

Arte 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.

Nathan 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.

Terry 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.

Maria 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.

Market Impact

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.

We 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.

We 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 way.

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.

User Recommendations

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.

Any 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.

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