This is what happens when an ERP vendor listens to customers
By Gerrit Olivier, founder and CEO of About IT
The Acumatica Summit, in Las Vegas, at the end of January covered a lot of ground, but a key takeout for me was that the platform’s global success has hinged on streamlined research and development (R&D) that smoothly integrates numerous interactive channels direct with customers.
There are more than 6 500 customers worldwide and the summit event has grown from 30 attendees at the inaugural event in 2014 to close on 2 500 this year.
One of the main reasons is that Acumatica listens – using Web and cloud technologies, which is important for the world’s fastest growing cloud ERP solution, as well as via direct, face-to-face interactions.
The company has 74% of personnel doing R&D. That’s massive, especially for a global ERP business, particularly when you factor in that they’re using streamlined workflows and souped-up processes to facilitate direct customer interactions. Collaboration, as we all know, is paramount these days, and these guys are getting it right.
It’s not surprising then that a lot of focus this year will go into improving the user interface (UI) and general usability. They’ll also beef up non-programming customisations, the dashboard and reporting enhancements, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) for things like receipts and expense reports, as well as performance and scalability.
This is the type of real-world pragmatism that led us to choose Acumatica as a partner in the first place. Just like us, they get right down to brass tacks and focus on what’s actually important for your nitty-gritty business activities on a daily basis.
Some other key announcements at the summit included the new version of the platform, Acumatica 2020 R1, and the acquisition of JAAS, a material requirements planning (MRP) solution built on Acumatica components.
Another announcement, this one a key to many customers, is the BigCommerce integration. It’s the online frontend for building commerce stores and it feeds directly into Acumatica’s backend. Tight integration of these two core components provides businesses with the platform they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences, maximise customer value, and the platform to optimise customer spend.
With the stage set, day two ushered in “digital transformation through innovation” as the primary theme. It’s a well-worn theme, but the difference here is that Acumatica commits it to achieving practical operational effects.
The demonstration of the new 2020 R1 divulged just how, showing off usability, resource management and cross-connected workflow improvements. The ability to personalise – about the biggest buzzword in marketing right now – without the need to write any code establishes it as one of the key differentiators. Customers will also be able to create and edit PDFs directly in Acumatica.
Mobility is being enhanced so people in the organisation you’d typically expect to benefit from it, from salespeople to field service engineers, are getting some top-notch features. For example, they’ll be able to use their smartphone cameras for expense sheets with AI that simplifies the process, too. That’s the kind of small but smart usability enhancement that really drives the benefits home to the operational aspects of our businesses.
The Acumatica Summit very clearly demonstrated the company has stepped up in the ERP industry and there are solid reasons they’re winning so many awards. It’s a cloud ERP solution from the ground up that delivers the kind of specific and relevant solutions that help customers themselves stay relevant in their own industries. This is not a one-size-fits-all, prescriptive behemoth that forces companies to restructure. Nor is it trying to shoehorn a GL-based accounting package with bolt-on functionality into the ERP role. This is a bonafide platform that integrates practical functions into businesses so they can work smarter to overcome the challenges they face daily. And that’s why we partner with them.
About IT, established in 2003, provides agile business solutions for cloud ERP, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and data analytics for small to medium enterprises. These solutions enable customers to safely and securely deploy ERP and advanced dashboard data analytics in on-premise, private, public, and hybrid cloud environment. They benefit from advanced security, improved reliability, highly accessible data, and the economies of scale. About IT’s advanced dashboard data analytics focuses on bringing customers relevant, actionable operational data to deal with immediate business issues, building associations and insights without waiting on pre-programmed reports. The business has seven offices in major centres throughout South Africa.