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Infor buys Intelligent InSites for real-time location capabilities

The acquisition will add a new layer to Infor CloudSuite Healthcare and better position the ERP vendor to take on competitors like Epic.

Infor, a global ERP company, will add IoT and analytics capabilities that can help keep track of hospital equipment and people to its cloud-based healthcare ERP product.

Infor acquired Intelligent InSites Inc., a provider of software and services that use real-time location systems to keep track of hospital assets, patients and staff, and integrates that location data with other health IT systems, like an EHR. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will add a new layer to Infor CloudSuite Healthcare, according to Steve Fanning, vice president of Infor's healthcare center of excellence.

"It adds a new dimension -- the location of a wheelchair that's available to be used, or a nurse that's on break, or a patient that's maybe in a spot that they shouldn't be," he said.

The company's acquisition of Intelligent InSites points to "how serious Infor is about the healthcare vertical" and "recognizes the importance of tying together hospital operations and data across the entire organization," said Eric Kimberling, CEO and founder of ERP consultancy Third Stage Consulting Group.

Third Stage Consulting Group CEO and founder Eric KimberlingEric Kimberling

"Rather than focusing only on financials, inventory management, HCM and other core ERP functions, their acquisition of InSites suggests that they are trying to offer a more complete offering that integrates traditional back-office ERP functions with patient-facing processes and data," Kimberling said.

Intelligent InSites acquisition

Fanning said a particularly compelling component of Intelligent InSites is its agnosticism. It isn't tied to delivering services on any specific hardware.

"It's really expanding the idea of what real-time location services is to be a much broader, IoT kind of a play for Infor, which we're excited about," he said.

Intelligent InSites collects data through RTLS or real-time location systems. RTLS uses wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, GPS or Bluetooth. These are often embedded in a product such as a mobile phone and can wirelessly detect the physical location of a remote device, person or item.

Infor's vice president of the healthcare center of excellence Steve FanningSteve Fanning

Fanning said real-time data is collected, processed and delivered as "actionable intelligence via mobile devices, view boards, dashboards, reports and web-based applications."

Intelligent InSites also provides staff backup capabilities through a badge button. When hospital staff members need assistance, they press the badge button and it notifies an appropriate staff member to their real-time location.

Fanning said as the Intelligent InSites capabilities are incorporated into Infor CloudSuite Healthcare, a cloud-based ERP that runs on AWS, data from RTLS will feed Infor's artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies -- data Infor aims to use to "try to make care more affordable," he said.

Infor in health IT market

Chilmark Research analyst Brian Murphy said the Intelligent InSites acquisition puts Infor in a position to diversify its portfolio and get a real-time sense of what's happening.

Chilmark Research director of research Brian MurphyBrian Murphy

Infor's acquisition of Intelligent InSites will enhance the ERP vendor's ability to take inventory of assets such as the staggering number of products like bandages or alcohol swabs that get used without thinking. Doing so could provide a level of efficiency and cost savings to hospitals, Murphy said.

"Ultimately, we're going to get to a world where hospitals are going to have to start paying closer attention to costs, so this would enhance the ability of Infor to enable a more businesslike profit-and-loss-type view of what's happening inside of a hospital," Murphy said of the acquisition.

The acquisition also gives Infor a more complete offering to meet operational and data needs of hospitals, and points to a broader trend in the industry that ERP systems are evolving beyond back-office solutions, Kimberling said.

EHR vendor Epic is one of Infor's main competitors, and Kimberling said he will be paying attention to how Infor's Intelligent InSites acquisition impacts the ERP vendor's "win rate and market share" relative to other competitors.

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