Charles Phillips, an African American, has recently been name one of the top tech leaders in the world. In fact, Charles Phillips CEO of Infor came third in a 46 people list, superseded only by World Wide Technology’s David Steward and Apple’s Denise Young Smith.
About Charles Phillips
Charles Phillips is known to be incredibly approachable, a man of the people. His personal background is very diverse, being a lawyer, a U.S. Marine Corps captain, a previous managing director at Morgan Stanley, as well as a computer programmer. Before he become CEO at Infor, he was President at Oracle, where he was Larry Ellison’s number two man. However, Phillips says that, at his heart, he is just a geek. And when you get to know him, it quickly becomes clear that this is indeed the case.
Looking solely at Infor, Phillips took the company from being relatively small to being the third largest of its kind, after Oracle and SAP. Today, it is a company that takes a different approach to product development, focusing on specific verticals that work for their own customers. An example is found in the ready made apps that Infor has created for fashion designers and bakers, for instance. These require little to no customization, which means they also don’t have to spend millions trying to create an application that would like become obsolete within just a few years. What Infor has been able to achieve is to create the lowest TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) in the past 20 years.
Infor’s rise has been nothing short of dramatic. Phillips instantly got to work on rolling out new features, focusing specifically on creating beautiful interfaces, which is another thing that really sets them apart. The 70,000+ customers Infor now has love the look and feel of the interface, and hail the fact that Phillips, often called the ‘Steven Jobs of ERPs’, has hired designers, artists, developers, and writers to create his products. And this has paid off, because Infor had a $2.8 billion revenue in 2013, which was $2.2 billion before Phillips took over.
Infor’s latest addition was Ming.le, the chat feature that comes with their ERP usage, and this has truly revolutionized the system. Ming.le is compared to Facebook, enabling people to chat internally, make updates, and more. It seems that this is just one of the many innovations that Phillips is implementing and that is leaving the leaders at Oracle and SAP a bit worried. For them, Phillips is like Tony Stark from Iron Man, coming up with out of the box ideas that seem to work again and again, that connect to things people already have, and that deliver on the need for things people don’t yet have.
Phillips is a true visionary and thanks to him, Infor is now one of the world’s most respected business software providers. It is no doubt that great things will continue to come from him. Both his leadership and vision are truly inspirational.