Acumatica’s SVP, Americas, Sean Chatterjee, discusses the partner ecosystem, the Acumatica story, and how the ERP market has changed over the past decade.
Q: Tell us about your career journey and what led you to Acumatica.
A: I have spent most of my career working in ERP focused on supporting small to midsized businesses. I spent almost a decade at Everest Software, which was co-founded by Acumatica’s Chief Product Officer, Ali Jani. At Everest, I worked in presales and sales, and I was the Director of New Business, Sales. I got a lot of hands-on experience working with prospects at the ground level, and I became very, very passionate about how an ERP product can truly bring efficiency to a small business and allow it to compete against the big boys. It’s just a very thrilling thing to watch.
I have been at Acumatica almost from its inception. Our first commercial product was sold in 2010, and, when I joined in 2012, Acumatica was virtually a startup. Since then, I’ve been very deeply involved with the Channel, with the recruitment process, with the enablement process—and with managing partners day to day as SVP, Americas. Working and building long-term relationships with partners is a very rewarding experience.
Q: Tell us how you and your team work with current customers and businesses interested in Acumatica. How do you support our partner ecosystem in connecting with these prospects and bringing them into the Acumatica Community?
A: My team manages Acumatica’s relationships with its partners, and that involves guiding partners toward successfully managing customer and prospect relationships, working with the right prospects, and doing implementations in the field. We provide any and all support they need—whether that’s pre-sales, sales, or post-sales.
Over the last ten years, I have watched some of our partners evolve and grow three to four times in size. Our focus is on managing partner relationships to help them expand their businesses over time.
Q: What changes have you seen in the ERP industry during your time at Acumatica?
A: Over the last ten or eleven years, the idea of “the cloud” and cloud-based ERP solutions has become the norm. That is the number one change. Fifteen years ago, prospects were still wary of the cloud. They had questions about security and wondered if they were better off caring for a physical server. That fear has completely gone away. I would even say the pendulum has swung the other direction. When today’s prospects look for an ERP solution, they are looking for cloud-based software from the start.
Second, a few players dominate the cloud ERP space, and Acumatica is at the forefront of that change. Other players are still struggling with their cloud stories. A lot of legacy ERP players are struggling for survival today. If I were to extrapolate that into the next five or ten years, I would say there will be a massive movement of customers from legacy ERP solutions to the cloud.
Another significant change has been in the buyer profile. Today’s customers are much more knowledgeable about what they’re looking for and not looking for in a solution. For instance, on the G2 customer survey website, there are many testimonials from real-life users sharing their experiences with different ERP systems. When prospects visit sites like these, they become very aware of the players in the market and their pros and cons. Today’s ERP customers come to vendors with a level of at least basic, and often advanced, information. They come with very specific questions to solve. Buyers have become much more knowledgeable and research-oriented—looking deeply into vendor websites and relying on impartial reviews from other users.
The other shift I’ve seen is in the nature of business. Businesses have become more multidimensional. Some used to be pure distributors. Others were pure manufacturers. Now, they’re adding new dimensions. They do manufacturing and retail. They do distribution and manufacturing. Acumatica really shines in complex situations—at the crossover between different industries and the intersections of different circles.
Q: What is different about Acumatica in the competitive ERP market?
A: Our platform was born in the cloud, while some of our competitors’ legacy products are more than 25 years old. We are the disrupter, and we are becoming the chosen solution.
The way we go to market is also very modern. Our consumption-based licensing is the way the world is going, and we are a pioneer. With Acumatica, you pay for what you use. It’s not user-based licensing. As you grow, your license grows. If, God forbid, you shrink, your license shrinks. That’s beautiful for businesses that are scaling.
We’re also customer friendly. We don’t squeeze customers for short-term gain. We believe that, if our customers are happy, good things will happen. Our competitors have short-term visions for squeezing dollars out of customers—but they lose a lot of customers who are unhappy. Acumatica takes a long-term view, and we make sure our customers are always happy.
Q: What do you tell customers who are afraid to switch from their old systems or are hesitant about moving to the cloud?
A: I often tell prospects that there is always a price to pay for not doing anything. Sometimes change is hard, but to grow and evolve in today’s market, you have to make changes. And companies who don’t want to change, or who fear change, always face costs somewhere else. To be competitive in the marketplace, it is absolutely imperative for a business to embrace change.
Q: How can Acumatica help customers navigate ERP research challenges and determine when they’re ready to take the next step on their technology journey?
A: Acumatica helps customers gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and the cloud is a must have. However, each customer or prospect has their own journey. We work with them to make sure that they have the resources they need to implement Acumatica and that the time is right for their businesses.
Read more Acumatica executive profiles here.