The first part of Mint Jutras' 3-part series, "Can Next Generation ERP Awaken the Force", which Ray Rebello discussed last week, sought to define the next generation of ERP in terms of new features, functionality and capabilities. How the functionality of next generation ERP software is consumed certainly relates to the ease of use of such software, and its acceptance by users at all levels within an organization.
However, equally important are changes in how new features and functionality are delivered to ERP clients, which Cindy Jutras discusses in Part 2 of this series. Businesses today exist in a universe where the only constant is change. New customer engagement methods (mobile devices), new market channels (think Amazon and Alibaba), are not only new competitive threats, but they require fundamental changes to business planning and execution processes in order to survive and, ideally, thrive. Companies' ERP software must be capable of incorporating changes to existing business process functionality and the addition of new capabilities at a pace at which change is occurring around them.
In the on-premise galaxy, traditional ERP vendors would provide software upgrades every 12-18 months. These upgrades would often involve significant functional changes to the software, necessitating a virtual "re-implementation" of the ERP software. Such projects were costly and disruptive to business operations. In fact, the "2015 Enterprise Solutions Study" conducted by Mint Jutras indicated that while 43% of survey respondents upgrade their software on a regular basis, 30% skip releases, and 11% prefer never to upgrade at all! Failure to regularly adopt new functionality or capabilities provided by new software releases can seriously degrade a company's ability to retain existing customers, engage new ones, or respond to competitive threats.
Cloud technology provides new deployment options, which in turn provides new options for the delivery and consumption of new software upgrades. In fact, those companies which choose a cloud SaaS deployment model are able to apply new ERP software releases more rapidly, and at reduced effort and cost. This is particularly important for mid-market businesses, which often lack sufficient in-house IT expertise and resources.
Acumatica's ERP and CRM solutions are built for cloud computing environments. We share our xRP platform and development tools with our global network of partners. This allows them to develop software extensions to meet the unique needs of local markets, or specialized industries, and which interact seamlessly with our core product suite.
Acumatica 5.3 release, announced just a few weeks ago, represented a significant increase of functionality across our entire product line. As noted in Mint Justras' ”The Force Was Strong at Acumatica Summit 2016”, we are already working on Acumatica 6.0. While it is our goal to deliver software upgrades on a quarterly basis, we are also moving to a continuous improvement model for certain functionality to exploit the innate advantages of cloud SaaS deployment models.
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