Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Charles Phillips and Oracle: A legacy of expansion

One of the leaders in the enterprise software solutions industry is Infor’s current CEO Charles Phillips, who was once Oracle’s president. Phillips had been instrumental in molding the latter into one of the two biggest players in the software solutions field.

From August 15, 2011

Prior to 2003, Oracle was a far cry from what it is today. Most of its acquisitions in the past eight years have been minor ones, lacking in name recognition. That all changed when Phillips took the reins. The seven years that marked his tenure as president of Oracle were marked by many strategic acquisitions that were both aggressive and quick. These opening moves eventually helped the company compete head-on with industry leader SAP.

From August 15, 2011

Under the compass of Charles Phillips, Oracle experienced unprecedented revenue growth at 300% with a profit of $26.8 billion in fiscal 2010 alone. The company had at one point become Charles Phillips’ mistress; his dedication to work, plus effective management and strategy plus constant and quick innovation, resulted in the Oracle of today. And although Phillips had moved on since his resignation, his legacy laid the foundations for Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems not long after.

Charles Phillips Photo credit: Flickr

Currently, Charles Phillips is the CEO of Infor, a company he is currently grooming to be the third major player in the enterprise software industry after Oracle and SAP.

More information about Charles Phillips and his Oracle days can be accessed on his Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oracle, SAP, Infor: Three's a crowd

Stamper Published 29 November 2011

Former Oracle president and US Marines captain Charles Phillips has taken
the reins at the third-largest enterprise applications company, Infor. So
what is his strategy for the firm in the era of cloud computing, and would
he share his thoughts on Oracle's moves since he left? Jason Stamper finds

There are not many technology CEOs quite like Charles 'Chuck' Phillips.
Prior to a career on Wall Street that saw him rise to managing director of
Morgan Stanley, Phillips was a captain in the United States Marines Corp.

"One of the advantages of military services early on in life is that you get
a chance to develop a leadership style and understand organisational
dynamics at a young age," Phillips says of the experience.

He's certainly needed that leadership style. From the managing director role
at Morgan Stanley he was plucked by Oracle chief Larry Ellison to become
Oracle president in 2003. It's a position he held for seven years, while in
2009 the was appointed as a member to the President's Economic Recovery
Advisory Board to provide President Barack Obama and his administration with
advice and counsel regarding the economy, in such high esteem was he held.

In October last year
he took the CEO role at the ERP, CRM
and SCM applications firm, Infor.

During his seven years at Oracle he had a dramatic impact. In the eight
years before he joined, Oracle had made only minor acquisitions, small firms
like Steltor, Indicast, NetForce - not exactly household names.

But with Phillips on board it was a different story. In 2005 Oracle bought
PeopleSoft for $10.3bn, followed shortly after by retail apps firm Retek for
$630m. That same year it snapped up banking applications company i-flex for
$900m, and then in 2006 Siebel for just shy of $6bn. The acquisitions kept
on coming: Hyperion, BEA Systems and many more.

Phillips played a key role in these, believing Oracle needed to diversify
rapidly and help to consolidate the market, building an entire 'stack' of
software and hardware that would eventually see it buy Sun Microsystems

shortly after Phillips left.

While he was in the president's seat, Oracle experienced revenue growth of
300%. He and Ellison's strategy certainly seems to have paid off so far: for
fiscal 2010 Oracle enjoyed total sales of $26.8bn, up 15% year-on-year
including the effect of acquisitions.

None of that matters to Phillips now, of course. Asked whether he believes
Oracle was right to buy hosted CRM player RightNow
last month, he says: "I can only speak for Infor, so all I
can say is we will continue to make a few acquisitions ourselves, but
balance that with aggressive internal investment." 'Aggressive' is one of
the words you are likely to hear from Phillips quite a bit. That and

The 'Oracle four'
Infor was founded in 2002 under the name Agilisys, in Alpahretta, Georgia,
and today the new company is the result of around 40 acquisitions. It's
privately held, with the majority shareholder being Golden Gate Capital.

There were four senior executives who joined Infor from Oracle late in 2010
and early this year, including Phillips. Duncan Angove came over as
president of products, marketing and support, Pam Murphy is now COO, and
Stephan Scholl is now EVP global field operations. One Infor insider says:
"It almost felt like an Oracle takeover."

So what was their plan? "We started with a three-month deep-dive, detailed
business reviews," says Angove. "Charles [Phillips] is definitely a product
guy, and he was looking at how we set out a compelling roadmap. We'll be
doing different acquisitions, not buying cash but buying products.

"Right from the first three months there was this whole emphasis on speed.
People have been shocked at how fast we have made decisions. For instance,
when we bought Lawson
we closed it on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday we
approved the hiring of 71 new engineers in that business," he adds.

Phillips picks up the theme: "The main focus is accelerating the roadmaps
and delivering products more quickly, modernising applications and
delivering mobile technology in areas that people didn't expect. In the past
10 months we have shipped more new features than the company had seen in the
past three to four years - that type of acceleration in terms of innovation.

"One of the good things about having a team that's worked together for a
long time that has similar approaches is we make decisions quickly, and we
all believe that the pace of business and decision-making has to be faster.
It's a way we can differentiate ourselves."

In its fourth quarter Infor saw sales of $510m, up 10% year-on-year. It's
still a long way off the numbers one and two in this space - Oracle and SAP
- but Phillips is not satisfied with being the number three. "Everybody
always wants to improve," he says. But he does note that it's a large
market, surely large enough to support at least three big players.

Infor 10, ION
As well as the rapid integration of Lawson into the Infor business, the
other major news on the product front recently was the launch in September
of Infor 10. It wasn't just the improvements to the ERP product that was
newsworthy, but also the news around ION Suite, claimed to be a lightweight
middleware layer built into the software that helps to ease any integration
challenges customers would otherwise face.

What is not said, at least publicly, is that this is also clearly designed
to outmanoeuvre Oracle's Fusion Middleware and SAP's NetWeaver middleware

ION is claimed to connect and integrate Infor and non-Infor applications,
storing information in a common format and repository. "ION creates the
mobile, social and flexible enterprise," says Soma Somasundaram, SVP global
product development at Infor. "Because it's lightweight and built using open
standards, ION installs much faster than heavy middleware, and allows
customers to get up and running quickly and efficiently so they can focus on
their core business."

It's clear why ION will be needed - Infor is the result of around 40
acquisitions, and if these products are to be brought together in a
meaningful way, a robust and flexible middleware layer was vital.

As Angove says, Phillips is a product guy as much as a manager. "We want to
be perceived as a company that builds very beautiful applications. We use
the term 'consumer grade UI' in the sense that we want to bring some of the
social computing concepts and interfaces to the way people consume their
applications," he says.

What about cloud computing - what's Infor's story here? "We have a million
subscribers in the cloud today," Phillips claims. "We have a multi-tenant
application suite, CloudSuite, and customers can use that today. What's
unique about our strategy is that the same CloudSuite applications can be
deployed on premise, so customers can decide - they can deploy in a hybrid
fashion, they can still choose to have some locations where they want

So what do the analysts make of all this talk of speed, integration, better
user interfaces and cloud?

For analyst firm Ovum, the outlook for Infor is generally positive. The
company's analyst Somak Roy notes: "Overall, the outlook is promising and
the most important building blocks are already in place, but success will
now depend on the nuts and bolts of execution." Roy also notes that a recent
partnership with is "a big deal".

Summing up how the firm would like to be perceived, Infor's Angove says: "We
have the mindset of a start-up even though we do over $2.5bn revenues. We
want to move fast at scale. It's like the rugby player Jonah Lomu - big but

Ironically perhaps, Ovum's Roy believes the firm needs to calm things down a
little after the numerous initiatives Phillips and his team have been
getting on with: "Infor's success will be good news for the ERP market but
the company should now settle into a period of stability involving
tactical-level changes only."

Whether one believes it is moving too fast or merely taking the fight to
Oracle and SAP - not forgetting other rivals such as Microsoft Dynamics,
Sage, and cloud ERP, CRM and HR rivals like NetSuite, Workday and SugarCRM -
is open to debate. But with Phillips at the helm there are few signs that
the company will be slowing down any time soon.

Don't miss!
Infor or enterprise applications watchers will want to listen to the entire
audio podcast with Charles Phillips and a longer transcript of this
interview at

Phillips also spoke to CBR about Steve Jobs
, and the impact the last Apple boss had on the world
of technology. You can read his thoughts on that here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Charles Phillips and his wife: Paying forward after the payoff

Most people see financial success of their hard work when they reach a certain age, and Charles Phillips and his wife Karen are among them. Phillips, once a captain in the U.S. Marines, is now the CEO of Infor Global Solutions and has a business pedigree that included executive positions in companies such as Oracle, Viacom, and Morgan Stanley and Co. Despite this, however, he and Karen have found the time to give back to the community.

From Charles Phillips

After leaving the army, Phillips entered the business world. Here he has built a strong career, working in the executive level. Prior to entering Infor, he was the co-president of Oracle, another software solutions provider; under his wing, the company made several strides forward through successful acquisitions. At Infor, he is gearing the company towards a more growth-friendly, transparent direction.

Charles Phillips Photo credit: Getty Images

Through hard work, Charles Phillips and his wife have gained a lot, but they do not stop there. The two have since invested a lot of time and money in charity, having jointly established the Phillips Charitable Organizations (PCO), which brings financial aid to those in need. The beneficiaries of their charities include African-American single mothers and disadvantaged students who wish to specialize in science, technology, and engineering fields. PCO operates differently from other philanthropic organizations by cutting back on the red tape through micro-charities.

Charles Phillips Charles Phillips

While reaping the fruits of their labor, Charles and Karen continue to pay forward what they have received from the community. More information about Charles Phillips’ professional and charitable works is available on his Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A closer look at Charles Phillips' affairs in business and IT

Through the years, Charles Phillips’ affairs in business and in the IT industry have all been successful. He is the current Chief Executive Officer of Infor Global Solutions, a leading provider of business software serving over 70,000 customers in 164 countries. He also sits on the company’s Board of Directors. Prior to his appointment as Infor’s CEO, he served as the President of Oracle Corporation. Under his leadership, he was able to triple Oracle’s revenue growth and played a major role in the firm’s acquisition strategy, resulting in successful transactions with key industry players such as BEA Systems, Hyperion Solutions, and Siebel Systems.

From August 15, 2011

From August 15, 2011

The success of Charles Phillips’ affairs in the business arena and the IT industry may be attributed to his military background. As a young man, he followed the example of his father and entered the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned an undergraduate degree in computer science. Later on, he joined the Unites States Marine Corps, where he eventually became an information technology officer with the rank of Captain. His military background continues to serve him well and provide him with the motivation and the discipline to succeed in all his endeavors, whether it’s leading giant corporations, executing brilliant strategies, making crucial decisions, or extending a helping hand to disadvantaged individuals.

From August 15, 2011

More on Charles Phillips’ successful career may be found at his Facebook page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The two-fold focus of the Charles Phillips Charitable Organizations

Yield, gain, pay it forward.

From August 15, 2011

One of Charles Phillips’ priority businesses is philanthropy. Charities have been commonly used by organizations as a channel to fulfill their corporate social responsibility—but Mr. Phillips and his foundation take their funding services to a more personal and effective level of helping their target benefactors.

Phillips Charitable Organizations (PCO) opens up a new way of being generous, the kind that deviates from the cushy, glamorous-Boarded groups and focuses on what truly matters—linking together the ones in need and the ones who want to help. Instead of the traditional galas and other similar fund-raising events, PCO’s strategy has been the establishment of micro-charities requiring no administrative overhead that can make decisions on their own. This has also allowed Charles Phillips and the Organization's Board of Directors to focus on groups of interest that may not get much attention in the normal course of events.

From Getty Images

The two-fold target of the openhanded organization is composed of single mothers and disadvantaged students inclined in engineering. Its observations within the African-American community inspired PCO to take part in the complex challenges faced by a woman occupying two lead roles in a household. Its big heart goes to those women whom it believes have the strength and determination to take responsibility for their children.

Engineering students are also on PCO’s list as two of its board members are engineers by paper and profession. Its main thrust encompasses those who have the interest, aptitude, and financial need to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Charles Phillips’ foundation expresses its desire to develop the country’s catalysts in the making, stating that: “We are strong believers in the value of hard skills as opposed to general purpose degrees. The easiest
path to a job is to do something in short supply and difficult to achieve.”

From August 15, 2011

Follow Charles Phillips’ organizational involvements on Facebook and Twitter.