Everyone loves lists because they make great conversation starters. A recent Computerworld article by Don Tennant about an Aberdeen "list of the 100 most influential technology vendors -- software, hardware and service providers -- worldwide" asks this question:
"Why is a huge enterprise software player like CA (39th on the list) eclipsed by Infor Global Solutions (18th on the list), a company half its size?
Unfortunately, I can't find a press release about the list on the Aberdeen site, so I cannot answer Computerworld's question based on methodology or other logical analysis. Tennant says "First, any successful vendor that's into supply chain management or CRM, even if it's a niche player, stood a fairly good chance of making the cut." I wonder if the answer to his question isn't simpler; last year Aberdeen did a similar report -- but without the list -- just on supply chain software. Maybe this is really an Aberdeen supply chain report.
But lacking all the facts let me still opine (lacking all the facts is another reason people like to discuss lists). My guess is that a large sample of the Aberdeen survey respondents (4,645 according to Computerworld) is small to medium-size enterprises (SME). SMEs don't tend to use mainframe- based products from a company like the company formerly known as Computer Associates (CA) but are very likely to have an Infor-brand something somewhere in house.
At last look, Infor was an amalgamation of the following formerly independent companies: Agilisys (out of SC&T), Aperum, Arzoon, Baan, Boniva, Brain, Daly Commerce, Comshare (the Rick Crandall discussed in this earlier post founded Comshare and then sold it to GEAC), Dun & Bradstreet, Elevon, e.piphany, EXE Technologies, Extensity, Formation Systems, Foundation, Future Three, Infinium (nee Software 2000), Ironside, JBA Software, Lilly Software, Marcam, MAPICS, Mercia, McCormick and Dodge (M&D), Ohio Community Library Consortium (OCLC), NxTrend, Octane, Pegasus, Provia, StarBuilder, SunSystems (not to be confused with the server manufacturer), Symix, System Software Associates (SSA), Varial, and Vision.
Infor is at the heart of SME. SSA and D&B were at one time larger than SAP. MAPICS and its predecessors, when part of IBM, were the most popular ERP software for decades before the term ERP was invented. And SME is at the heart of the IT industry when it comes to dependence on enterprise software.
If you are an Infor user and your brand is not listed above, let me know so I can update my list. And if you are an SME and not an Infor user somewhere in your organization (many of the brands listed above were formerly part of GEAC), let me know also. We'll posit an alternative theory later in the summer.