Top Takeaways: 2018 Acumatica Summit
Acumatica celebrated it’s 10th anniversary with 1,100 of its best friends, customers and partners at the 2018 Acumatica Summit in Nashville, TN. CEO Jon Roskill and other Acumatica executives provided us with an update on 2017 performance, and a glimpse into the company’s future directions.
2017: A Banner Year
Buyers have many choices for cloud ERP deployment, including software-as-a-service (SaaS) public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud model. But Acumatica’s story—modern, connected ERP, with flexible deployment options and a consumption-based pricing model—is playing well in its target market of companies with 50-1000 employees.
In 2017, Acumatica enjoyed 144% revenue growth, and increased its Net Promoter score by 21 points. The company now serves over 4,000 customers who logged on more than 62 million times and conducted over 100 million ERP transactions in 2017—with 99.99% uptime. Continued investments in its command center and in compliance resiliency capabilities helped Acumatica to do this with zero—nada, zilch—crypto currency and ransomware attacks.
The company also gained momentum with partners, adding 61 new VAR partners, to bring its worldwide partner count up to well over 350. Developer ranks grew to 130, with new partners, including SAP Concur, Adobe, Docusign, Smartsheet and Microsoft Flow signing on in 2017 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Acumatica Developer Partners
In addition, it has integrated UPS Worldship and Fedex Ship Manager with Acumatica Smart Shipment, and delivered a new WordPress integration to connect WordPress websites to Acumatica inventory.
On the product front, Acumatica re-emphasized the 2017 introductions of their vertical editions for Field Services, Commerce and Manufacturing (Figure 2). Acumatica 2017 Release 2 (Acumatica provides two major upgrades per year) delivered a redesigned, more flexible user interface to improve productivity, and product enhancements across modules and vertical editions, such as:
- Workspaces UI, which provides more personalization capabilities and less clicks. • to help users get things done faster.
- Improved search capabilities to make all transactions searchable.
- Built in document management.
Figure 2: Acumatica 2017 Recap
2018: Continuing the Momentum
The drumbeat continues in 2018. Acumatica has already added a new Construction Edition to its industry-specific solution lineup, announced an expanded integration with Salesforce, and opened a new office in Mexico City. The company has also outlined ambitious roadmaps for its applications as and platform, (Figure 3). Some of the other priorities that caught my attention included plans to add business process management (BPM) functionality, and new GPS capabilities to “marry the phone with ERP” to track the location of people in real-time.
Figure 3: 2018 Acumatica Application and Platform Priorities
Acumatica will continue to take advantage of technologies (REST, Open API/Swagger.io, Webhooks, business event triggers, etc.) and partnerships with the Linux Foundation and Open API Initiative to further its connected cloud strategy. The company also has initiatives in the works to bring new technologies into its platform and solutions (Figure 4). For instance:
- Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) from Kensium and Azure Machine Learning to develop recommendation engines and fraud detection solutions for retailers.
- Extending the value of IoT by bringing IoT data into the ERP system so customers can use it for additional analysis and business decision-making.
- Using RFID and working with Impinj to improve inventory management and shipping efficiencies.
- Partnering with AWS, Intel and HyperLedger Sawtooth to use blockchain technology to confirm product authenticity and fight counterfeit goods.
- Extending voice interface functionality with Amazon Alexa to authenticate user voices and map them to authorizations to access information.
Acumatica also plans to work with Google on similar capabilities.
Figure 4: Acumatica Technology Directions
Acumatica is doing a lot of things right:
- Providing innovative, pragmatic technology to SMBs in a digestible way. As we note in SMB Group’s 2018 Top 10 SMB Technology Trends, “the cloud is the platform for SMB innovation”. Acumatica is embedding new technologies—from natural language processing to AI/ML to IoT to blockchain and more—into its platform. By surfacing new capabilities to users in intuitive, practical ways, Acumatica can provide them with more value and fewer headaches.
- Offering relief for subscription fatigue. Acumatica’s consumption-based pricing is refreshing. Instead of charging per user, per month fees, Acumatica bases pricing on commercial transactions (e.g. new sales, purchase orders, payments, etc.). This means that all employees in a company—as well as their partners and employees—can use the solution. Customers move up to higher tier pricing as transactions and their businesses grow.
- Deepening its industry focus. Acumatica has rolled out four new industry solutions within a year. This approach will continue to pay off, as SMBs can deploy and get value from industry-specific solutions more quickly and easily than from horizontal ones.
- Dedication to openness in a multi-cloud world. Acumatica’s APIs have been open since day one, and the vendor continues to invest to make it easier for partners to connect to and integrate with Acumatica. As discussed in 2018 Top 10 SMB Technology Trends, SMBs want to focus on growth, not grind. They want to integrate applications, automate routine workflows and focus on activities that help them grow.
- Commitment to a partner-centric model. All of Acumatica’s sales are through partners. Acumatica continues to add new partners—many from the ranks of Sage, Microsoft Dynamics and NetSuite—at a good clip. Acumatica vets VAR applicants with reference checks, and looks for those with industry expertise. Inside telesales focuses on qualifying leads, with a goal to move them to a 1 in 3 chance to close before handing them over to partners. The vendor offers VARs financial, sales marketing and product training, and co-deploys with partners to help them get up to speed, and conducts quarterly review sessions to ensure alignment.
Acumatica has a clearly articulated value proposition for SMBs, a distinctive pricing model, a growing customer base, and an expanding partner and developer ecosystem.
But you can’t buy something you don’t know about. Despite its strong 2017 performance, the Acumatica brand is still an unfamiliar one to many SMBs—not surprising as Acumatica prides itself on being a technology company, with R&D accounting for 74% of its employees.
In this crowded, noisy ERP market, Acumatica needs to up its marketing investment to increase awareness and get into consideration in more deals—and win its fair share of them.