When people talk about industry-focused solutions, what do they mean? A basic product with a couple modifications or a truly customized solution? The ERP market has evolved and it’s no longer an either-or dilemma—you can find a solution for your unique niche even from products that didn’t set out with your industry as the only focus.
How the market evolved
Considering the sheer age of the software landscape—solutions designed to control finance and operational processes have been around for the past half-century—the design and delivery of products has evolved. Calculating machines of the 1940s gave way to Material Requirements Planning (MRP) in the 1970s, MRP-II in the 80s, and initial ERP applications in the 90s.
The move from function-oriented to all-inclusive creates niche products
Looking at this history, you’ll notice that initial solutions were designed for a specific process. MRP did what it needed to do, using the technology of the time to complete a specific function. Time passed, processing power increased, and products became more centralized.
The rise of consolidated suite-based solutions in the 90s also created a market for niche products—while generic ERP suites offered generalized functionality, medium and large businesses could find industry- and niche-specific products. Designed with a specific business user in mind, these provided depth in specific areas and the companies who sold these products spoke the language of the industry.
The move from niche to postmodern ERP
The market again evolved, due in part to technological advancements and industry consolidations. By the mid-2000s, companies were able to provide better, more focused versions of generic ERP, and by the early 2010s, the concept of “postmodern ERP” came into play. These products are easier to integrate and customize for the unique needs of an industry, reducing the reliance on the traditional niche vendors.
Today’s products: More customizable and integrated than ever
While many niche ERP vendors still exist, they no longer hold the same allure as today’s cloud solutions. Flexible, customizable, and ready to work with a variety of third-party solutions, postmodern ERP solutions are deconstructed into personalized sets of integrated business functions.
Like the best-in-breed approach, the goal is to use the best applications possible in each area of a business. However, like the modern suite-approach, the applications must integrate with each other, as tightly or loosely as necessary, to preserve data integrity. This flexible approach allows for quick, easy customization of their cloud ERP system.
Added to this, thanks to vendors’ channel partners, customers still get the depth, experience, and expertise from people who speak the industry lingo and know how to make the product work for a specific company.
Acumatica Cloud ERP: ‘Building blocks’ make industry-specific products easier than ever
One of the top solutions used by businesses today for the exact reasons mentioned above is Acumatica Cloud ERP. Not only is it designed as a powerful solution that can ‘do it all’ for businesses, the company improves its products with industry editions that allow you to get a product ready for your unique niche. This is done in four ways:
Acumatica starts with a strong core. However, the thing that makes Acumatica unique is the unique industry editions. In this, Acumatica’s flexibility extends beyond the adaptability of the functionality and deployment, into deciding what suites of Acumatica ERP to license.
Industry editions are a starting point for the rest of the product, allowing businesses to choose one of six suites from which the product is customized. Each of these—General business, distribution, manufacturing, construction, commerce, and field service—offer core functionality included in the suite but allow for the addition of nearly any other module for another.
For example, a distribution company can start with Acumatica Distribution Edition, but could just as easily add commerce integrations or warehouse management from the outset or whenever they need to add it. Learn how Acumatica can be tailored to your unique business needs here.
While industry editions provide a great starting point, there are likely scenarios in which you may need to use a product you already have or a solution you may want to use. Through their marketplace, Acumatica Extensions, companies interested in out of the box solutions can find the connectors and integrations they need.
Maybe the industry editions and the marketplace aren’t enough; Acumatica is ready for that as well. Acumatica empowers its developer network by providing them with the tools and code base to create integrations as tight or as loose as your business needs. Need a Salesforce-Acumatica integration? Not a problem. Acumatica Partners have the skills to build the products you need.
The right partner
While all of this may sound great, many may still be on the fence on leaving an industry-specific ERP for one reason—the knowledge. Companies who focus on industry-specific ERP specialize in that market, and you may think that your average VAR can’t match it. Not true.
With the exclusively channel-based partner model, you can rest assured that they put a great deal of effort into making the program a success. With this vast, diverse network of focused partners, you are easily able to find the right partner to deliver your software, who has the skills, size, and experience to get the job done.
When you work with an Acumatica Partner, you work with a company who puts your needs first, who gets to know your business inside and out so that they can deliver a customized product that matches your needs.
NexTec knows how to help you and has the skills to work with your business—no matter how unique your needs. Get to know more about the work we do and contact us for a free consultation.