With 5,000 new customers in just over a decade of operation, Acumatica has continued to deliver innovation for its customers and prospects.
Whether that’s in user-requested functionality or by looking at new ways to push the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market with things users didn’t even know they needed, Acumatica has worked hard to avoid the complacency that comes with success, according to a recent report from ERP analyst Mint Jutras.
Following our recent blogs highlighting what the company has done: enhancements and innovations delivered in Acumatica 2019 R1 and the announcement of the company’s Alexa for Business skill that gives users the power to check inventory, look up and approve expenses, and even update CRM, we would today like to look at how they approach innovation.
Collaborate, innovate, accelerate: A different approach to innovation
Since the advent of cloud business applications two decades ago, the competition moved from ‘doing things well’ to ‘doing things better.’ Offering a centralized hosting environment for customers, vendors could update software more easily. Rather than offering one or two updates throughout the life of a product’s license, early entrants like Salesforce created a new way of delivering innovation.
Acumatica, who launched in 2007, followed along in this light, delivering twice-yearly updates to their ERP product while continuing to make their product more viable on their path to market leadership. However, this alone wasn’t what made the company more innovative than competitors—nearly all cloud vendors deliver updates two or more times per year.
What truly allowed the company to deliver, according to Mint Jutras, was their ability to remain forward-thinking while being aggressively customer focused. Due in part to their unique 100% partner model, the company can put seventy-four percent of their staff into their research and development department. This gives them more flexibility to deliver on many levels, not only responding to requests but planning for what’s next.
The “ideas” site
The basic expectation of any software vendor is its ability to listen to customers. Whether this comes in the form of support requests or an “Ideas” website, the company keeps an ear to the ground on ways they can improve the product. However, this is a strategy employed by a variety of providers—what really matters is the engagement that exists on such a platform and the vendor’s ability to react.
Focus groups and face to face discussions
While nearly three-quarters of Acumatica’s staff is focused on developing enhancements, they also take steps to see what customers want in person. Mint Jutras notes in their report that Acumatica is known to conduct focus groups and send top level executives and developers to see how customers use their product.
This is the first area in which the company looks to go above and beyond—a tactic that has led to many innovations including the Acumatica CRM Plugin for Microsoft Outlook, a seemingly simple feature that saves a surprising amount of time transferring information from email to CRM.
Meetings like this often highlight ways to make the product more intuitive. For example, the “side panel” delivered another profoundly intelligent enhancement. This allowed a user to check information without having to close navigate away from what he or she was working on to open another window.
Relying on partners
One of the biggest problems with the software landscape—and one largely fixed by Acumatica’s partner model— is competition of partners. However, with no worry that the vendor will “steal a sale,” VARs, ISVs, and OEMs have found a place and felt more comfortable delivering innovations and updates to improve the product and provide the company insight into making Acumatica better. In fact, NexTec works with a variety of ISV partners known for making Acumatica even better.
Asking “what’s next?”
Few companies can thrive by being reactive, delivering on what customers need and failing to plan for the next steps. Imagine Apple without Siri. As noted in the report, “customers never asked Apple for natural language processing and machine learning. […] Nobody said, ‘I’m not buying an iPhone unless I can talk to it.”
The key to any innovation is determining what’s going to be indispensable in the future and offering it before it’s necessary. New technologies, like machine learning, are already making their way into applications, and it’s on a software provider, like Acumatica, to offer it early so that they can refine the product before it becomes the status quo.
This is where Acumatica is delivering, looking at the next levels of AI and ML technologies to develop products with zero-touch automation, interactive assistance, and intelligent advisor technology.
Getting what you need, finding what you want: Acumatica innovation, NexTec service
Acumatica is constantly focused on delivering not only what current customers need but finding out what potential customers want in the coming months or years. However, before you can leverage advancements in ERP technology, you need to find the right partner who can take you there.
NexTec Group has an established history working with Acumatica to deliver a customized, tailored product that improves your business decisions and allows you to understand what’s next for your company. Get to know more about Acumatica’s path to innovation by downloading the Mint Jutras report, The Push and Pull of Acumatica’s Cloud ERP Innovation, read about the work we do for customers like you, and contact us for a consultation.