Infor, a specialist in industry-specific enterprise applications, has in-sourced its design team in order to develop applications that reflect what consumers might experience when browsing the internet.

President Duncan Angove explained at Infor's main customer conference this week in Denver that he wants to make “beauty a competence” for the organisation.

“It's a fundamental truth that the amount of innovation in the consumer web in the last ten years has not been mimicked in enterprise development. In fact there has been a complete lack of innovation in user experience in the enterprise,” said Angrove.

“Our strategy involves taking that innovation and usability and bringing it into enterprise software. But obviously this needs to be implemented in a pragmatic way, because the use case is very different, the enterprise is about decision making and productivity, not just surfing the internet,” he added.

Infor plans to do this by giving users more control and personalisation, by adding contextual data from multiple applications, whilst also making applications social and mobile.

Angrove said: “There is no need for enterprise applications to be ugly. We want beauty to be a competence and a competitive advantage for our organisation.”

Infor plans to create 'beautiful' applications by modifying its current offerings. Angrove said companies that have written new applications from the ground up to get a good user experience have lost maturity in functionality and he believes that it takes a long time for applications to stabilise.

In order to modify its applications, Infor decided to in-source its design function in March of this year.

“Most companies outsource aesthetics. They hire ad agencies, they hire somebody to build their website, they hire somebody to tell you what their screens should look like. This is what we were doing,” said Angrove.

“If you want to make design a competitive advantage you have to in-source it. The development cycle is much faster if you do it internally,”he added.

“We recently hired lots of designers that are world class in application design and user interface. We have set out to deliver a consumer grade user experience and let users work the way they live in the consumer world.”