SSA buy spawns new software giant

Chairman Schaper says SOA platform will be non-proprietary

Roll over, Oracle. Infor’s acquisition of SSA Global for $1.4 billion last week creates a new enterprise software giant that claims to be ready to do battle with the big players.

The combined company will have more than 37,000 customers and revenue of $1.6 billion, making it the third-largest enterprise software vendor in the world. But will a combined Infor-SSA be any better prepared to compete with Oracle, SAP, and others?

The acquisition of SSA Global makes sense because major enterprise customers prefer dealing with fewer vendors, each with a large portfolio of software, said Amy Wohl, president of Wohl Associates.

Buying SSA may also have been a defensive move, intended to prevent Oracle and SAP from eroding Infor’s customer base. Both those companies are moving into manufacturing, Infor’s enterprise software niche.

Infor Chairman and CEO Jim Schaper said SSA will expand Infor’s portfolio beyond markets such as manufacturing and distribution to warehouse management, transportation, and logistics.

But Infor’s architectural strategy for the combined company is unclear following the announcement. Schaper said Infor is committed to SOA, but the company is in the application business, not the infrastructure business.

Although Oracle and SAP offer applications and the platforms they run on, Infor, without an open SOA platform of its own, will have to rely on integrating with someone else’s middleware stack for integration and interoperability.