Charles Phillips was known for a long time for his role at Oracle. While it became known that he took over as CEO of Infor, it seemed he hid from the spotlight for a while. But suddenly, he came back to the foreground because, seemingly overnight, Infor became the third largest company of its kind, after SAP and, interestingly, Oracle.
Charles Phillips CEO of Infor, therefore, is in direct competition with his previous employer. Some have even called it a ‘revenge story’. Others see it more as a reality show, calling it the ‘Tech Giant Bake Off’. Either way, it is interesting to see how Phillips is taking on his old employer.
In reality, however, Phillips has stated that he has a huge amount of respect for his previous employer, Ellison. He feels that, while he is a competitor, he is a worthy one. To prove this, he has even worked together with Oracle, after he left them, with an IP case against the other competitor – SAP.
It is undeniable that Oracle is a huge company, but Oracle is clearly trying to create a hardware system, while creating a degree of confusion when it comes to software. So, where SAP may be more difficult to beat when it comes to applications, Oracle is quite an easy target according to Phillips.
Of course, while Infor intends to take on Oracle, they are working just as hard on taking on SAP at the same time.
Infor made nearly $3 billion in 2012. Specifically, they earned $2.8 billion. This means that, in terms of revenue, it is as large as Salesforce.com. This was something that came as a great surprise to Mark Benioff, who spoke to Phillips on stage when they both attended a tech conference.
In November, the estimated value of Infor was around $16.1 billion. It is similar to SAP and Oracle because they both have a strong focus on ERP (enterprise resource planning), which is basically accounting software. They also focus on software for human resource. But what Infor does is to create software for very specific niches, like automotive designs and breweries.
Ellison admits that Phillips helped him to build Oracle, and that is what he is doing again at Infor. And he is using the same tactics: acquisitions. In fact, he is trying to make around two acquisitions a year as a minimum, a tactic that he also followed at Oracle. Phillips’ replacement at Oracle was Mark Hurd, who is a close friend of Ellison, and who is also attempting to build up the company. Unfortunately, Hurd and Phillips were said to not be each other’s biggest fans, having some disagreements on how acquisitions should be made, and how much should be paid for that.
With Infor, Phillips has a clear plan: acquiring more niche industry. Every 18 months, he wants to add a brand new industry. If he keeps this up, then Oracle and SAP may just have more serious competition than they had originally expected.