Cloud computing happened, then the Earth cooled.
Actually, cloud computing happened and then we started to look at ways of engineering this service-based approach to computing into our existing and future technology stacks.
Suddenly, the machines (the servers) weren’t located in the back end of the office amidst a whirring maelstrom of cables and blinking lights; the real power came from the ‘pipe’ — a channel of computing power emanating from a datacentre transported by the web.
Then what happened was optimisation.
Not all clouds were necessarily created equal and that’s a good thing; we were able to build ‘instances’ of cloud compute that were optimally tuned to exhibit precise characteristics in order that they might fulfil a specific use case need for a particular customer.
Some clouds were built with more memory storage, some clouds were built with better I/O transactional capabilities, some with more hard core raw processing power and some with a variety of other value-add functions such as analytics power or some form of tuning to facilitate better communications.
Then… after optimisation, we realised that we could also perform a degree of specialisation.
Specialised clouds are also optimized clouds, generally speaking, but with an additional degree of tuning to make them industry-specific.
An industry-specific cloud is built with specific performance optimisations (memory, processing tuning and so on), but also with customised characteristics and functions tuned to specific operational, legal, regulatory, commercial and ethical considerations that exist in a customer’s vertical space. Some will be similar functions to those exhibited in other industry-specific instances to a greater or lesser degree – and some industry-specific features will be just that i.e. specific to the industry alone.
Infor has built its market and technology proposition around industry-specific cloud capabilities… it is, essentially, what Infor does along with its supply chain management, enterprise resource planning and product lifecycle management streams.
The company used its Infor Inforum 2018 customer conference this September to detail some specific extensions to industry-specific clouds in three key verticals: fashion, government… and health.
The fashion industry is a huge user of Infor’s cloud computing software (Ed – fashion clouds, who knew eh?)
Running on Infor OS technology, Infor’s Fashion Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Cloud product supports the centralisation of product design and development activities through more streamlined collaboration.
It is designed to enable social collaboration between internal users including designers, technical product specialists, merchandisers and sourcing, as well as external vendor users.
Infor has come forward with its Infor CloudSuite Federal Financials & Supply Chain Management, an application designed for financial management in the public sector.
Public sector it may be, but Infor says it is a role-based, data driven, consumer-inspired, cloud-generation application that delivers federal-specific capabilities.
“Infor is heavily investing in the public sector, helping equip organizations with modern applications built for their specific needs, including having already achieved FedRAMP authorization status for the Infor technology stack and its Enterprise Asset Management solution,” said Wayne Bobby, vice president, Infor.
“Infor understands that federal government agencies need solutions to help them achieve greater efficiency and an increased focus on mission objectives, which means financial systems must be running as smoothly and as cost effectively as possible. Infor CloudSuite Federal Financials & Supply Chain Management was developed specifically to help meet our customers’ goals,” added Bobby.
The software itself is developed with defined legislative and statutory federal financial management system requirements in mind.
It is designed for budget management and provides visibility into payment and improvement processes with pre-built delivered analytics.
Infor also used its Inforum conference and exhibition to announce the availability of Infor TrueCost, a component of Infor CloudSuite Financials and Supply Management.
The software is designed to help simplify cost accounting and cost analytics and is the one of the first healthcare cost accounting solutions that is built from the ground up as a component of a healthcare general financials and ERP solution.
This solution is structured to empower healthcare organisations with relevant, timely cost data in an effort to help users identify where margin improvements can be made, which can result in more affordable, better quality care.
“Infor has deep healthcare industry knowledge and extensive experience developing cost accounting solutions within ERP solutions,” said Zan Miller, senior product director, Infor. “Cost accounting data should bring together clinical, operational data with financial and resource planning data to create a more accurate approach to quantify opportunity costs across the healthcare enterprise.”
Infor TrueCost includes a base healthcare cost model that can break down costs by resource type to support cross functional costing analytics of actual and expected costs. Embedding cost accounting ledgers within the CloudSuite dimensional global ledger offers capabilities not previously achievable.
Are you gonna get specific?
Our notion of cloud is changing, that is – it is becoming richer, deeper, more optimised and more custom tuned to the specific use case in hand in each industry and ultimately for each line of business and each department. Infor appears to have very directly worked to capitalise upon where the state of the collective cloud nation is among businesses who are using it as an operational backbone.
Infor CEO Charles Phillips has said that he understands how much his firm needs to be more vocal and become better known through marketing, a function that the company is currently ramping up. It’s worth noting that the company has doubled in size since he took over in 2010.
Infor closed its Inforum 2018 event with a performance by Lenny Kravitz… are you gonna go my industry-specific way?