When a CEO Starts to Compete with Their Old Company

If you know anything about the world of business enterprise software, you will have heard of Charles Phillips. For Charles Phillips Oracle was his initial claim to fame, working there as President for seven years. Between 1994 and 2003, he worked at Morgan Stanley, rising to the ranks of Managing Director. He is a man that is truly immersed in the industry, and it is believed that this is why his new job, CEO of Infor, a direct competitor of Oracle, is going so well.

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As CEO of Infor, Charles Phillips has been able to do the seemingly impossible. He has taken on the other industry giants, including Oracle and SAP. These are two of the world’s true market leaders, and Infor is now firmly in third place, seemingly out of nowhere. And, it seems, Infor may even take over the position of one or both of these companies. So how is it possible that Phillips has been so incredibly successful?

The Acquisitions Priority

In 2010, just after stepping down from President at Oracle, Phillips was named as CEO of Infor. Needless to say, he made an immediate impact. At Oracle, he emphasized making acquisitions, and this is something he took with him to Infor. It took just four months for him to make his first acquisition at Infor – Lawson Software for $2 billion.

Clearly, he wasn’t going to stop there. Every year since, he has made at least two more acquisitions, and he aims to continue to do this. Why? Because Infor needs to become a true expert in the specific industries of each of its clients. This is only possible by acquiring the necessary expertise.

Niche Specific Designs

Another thing that really sets Phillips apart is that he takes a different approach to design. This came as a bit of a surprise to many, as he has always focused on the design principles of ‘industry standard’ in the past. With Infor, however, he has found a wealth of new designers with backgrounds in areas such as fashion and marketing. His goal is to create user interfaces that work for specific niches. The target clearly is the user, and this is why it looks so different from everything else that is out there. And it is because of this that Infor may just be able to take over the competition eventually.

Changes Is Invested in

Phillips is everything except traditional, and this is also seen in its investment strategies. Things have worked very well for Oracle, and it was expected that he would continue to work in exactly the same way with Infor. But he didn’t at all. Instead, he created something unique, which is seen in everything, including its own physical infrastructure.

For example, Infor hasn’t invested any time and money to create a bespoke platform. Instead, they work together with Amazon Web Services. They are the world’s largest cloud provider, and Phillips accepts that he will never be able to create anything better.