Infor Finds Its Customer Engagement Rhythm

Infor recently unveiled Infor Rhythm for Commerce, a global, scalable, and secure cloud-based e-commerce (and even more, customer engagement) platform, now complemented with compelling designs from Infor’s own Hook & Loop creative agency. Infor Rhythm includes top-notch software for storefronts, product configuration, recommendations, upsell and cross sell, pre-packaged Infor ION integrations to order management, faceted search, content management, layout, and predictive analytics. All of these capabilities are available in the cloud for a monthly subscription and rendered in beautiful design. Point of sale (POS) capabilities will not be available in the first release and thus Infor is not yet marketing the solution as being omni-channel.
The driving force behind this solution has been repeated customer requests. Over the last several months, Infor staff members have heard time and again from customers that they love everything Infor and Hook & Loop have been creating around user experiences for their employees (i.e., the SoHo look and feel experience, Infor Ming.le social experience, and the Infor Mobile platform), and they would ask Infor if the company could bring that same value proposition to the branding experience delivered to end customers.

Figure 1 – Infor Rhythm for Healthcare
Companies have been hiring creative agencies to spruce up and modernize their dated Web storefronts, but without deeper customer engagement on their sites, the sales conversion rate doesn't improve as much as they would like. Highly personalized interactions create richer customer relationships, which then drive higher conversion rates. The first suite, Infor Rhythm for Commerce, is available now, and has already been proven with major customers like Microsoft, HP, Nestle, Navy Federal, TELUS, and T-Mobile. Infor plans to release additional suites, including Infor Rhythm for Civics (public sector), Patients (healthcare, see Figure 1), and Hospitality, but these are not yet in active development.
Infor Rhythm Traits
Rhythm is a combination of a few cherry-picked Infor assets. The vendor leveraged Infor e-Commerce, which came from Infor M3 (used to build Web sites for wholesale distributors), added some portal functionality (i.e., the dynamic citizen portal from Hansen), embedded inside that the core Infor Epiphany marketing engine (Interaction Advisor), and unified all this into an “engagement platform.” All of this is wrapped in Hook & Loop’s best practice design services for the Web, while ION is used to integrate into Infor’s and third-party back-end applications. All of this is deployed in the cloud, priced per volume of transaction plus nominal subscription fees.

Figure 2
– Infor Rhythm Design Principles
The idea is to overcome the traditional clunky nature of over-engineered e-commerce platforms like  Oracle ATG or IBM WebSphere Commerce on the one hand, but on the other hand go further than modern cloud e-commerce platforms like Demandware, SAP hybris, NetSuite SuiteCommerce, Magento, etc. Some cited differentiating traits are the applicability for both business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) scenarios, micro-vertical solution orientation, Infor’s own Node.js-based content management system (CMS), an application programming interface (API)-based commerce engine with rich personalization and real-time integration, an open source stack, etc. (See Figure 2 and this video for more info).   
Rather than try to recreate an unwieldy and costly uber or “fusion” enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, Infor will likely attempt to create many of these mini suites that can be used to compete in the open market and sometimes be sold into the install base. These kinds of solutions should serve not only as new growth engines at Infor, but also as proof points that Infor is indeed “the largest startup in the world,” as CEO Charles Phillips likes to tout.
Related Reading:
NetSuite Unveils New B2B Customer Center for SuiteCommerce (May 2014)
SAP SeeWhy Acquisition Complements hybris and Adobe Offerings (May 2014)
Epicor Introduces Commerce Connect Platform for Epicor ERP 10 (April 2014)
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