Charles Phillips at Infor's headquarters in Manhattan, NY. Conference rooms are named after jazz musicians. Here, he is working in the Thelonious Monk conference room.
Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Fortune
By Alan Murray
March 16, 2017

Good morning.

President Trump submits his budget plan to Congress today, but details are in the press this morning. The plan, which just covers so-called “discretionary” spending—not the big entitlement programs—calls for deep cuts in most domestic programs and foreign aid in order to pay for big increases in defense spending and homeland security. You can read more details here.

Meanwhile, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison yesterday engaged in Trump-like bravado, telling analysts in a phone call that his company has “a huge technology lead” over the Cloud businesses of Amazon and Microsoft. That’s despite the fact that both still have much larger Cloud businesses than Oracle, in terms of revenue.

 

I spent time yesterday afternoon with Charles Phillips, who left Oracle in 2010 to run Infor, a rapidly growing enterprise software business that closed a deal raising $2.4 billion from Koch Industries last month, valuing the company at $10 billion. Infor earlier this week also announced a deal with another enterprise software startup, Marketo, to combine their sales and marketing software in an effort to take on incumbents Oracle and Salesforce. Infor is based in Manhattan and develops software for specific industries.

What is striking about Infor headquarters is that it isn’t populated with the lawyers, accountants or other corporate suits, but rather with creative designers. Phillips has separated the user interface team from the rest of his software developers and put them into an agency-like organization called “Hook and Loop” which is housed at headquarters and works with customers in the office “garage” to envision creative new uses of digital technology for business. A sign hanging on the wall reads: “Technology is a science, but getting people used to it was an art.” It’s not hard to see why Charles Koch was attracted to the Infor approach. Fortune’s Ellen McGirt recently interviewed Charles Phillips about his interesting life and leadership journey in the video above.

Also, some news at Fortune yesterday. Clifton Leaf is taking over as editor-in-chief, and Adam Lashinsky will become executive editor. I’ll serve as president of Fortune, in addition to my role as chief content officer of Time Inc.

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