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In Uncertain Times, Value Matters Most

Geoff Ashley | November 11, 2020

Acumatica VARs and SMBs are in the fight of their lives as they struggle to ensure business continuity during the pandemic. Acumatica’s Geoff Ashely says it will take guts…and an understanding of value.

Over the past two months, I have witnessed an amazing amount of “glass half empty” cultures as well as “risk averse” approaches to business. When you consider that the cloud ERP publisher space is really a mirror into virtually hundreds of industries of all shapes and sizes, the current pandemic has been an amazing petri dish for all kinds of interesting new perspectives, realities and “strategies”.

Whether it is the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) partner community or the small-to-medium business within a specific industry sector, it is interesting to see if businesses are planning, preparing, and embracing a new way to work or waiting for this pandemic to end.

It is very enlightening to see how aggressive and agile some businesses are…and I’ve discovered that most businesses aren’t.

Acumatica’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

When this pandemic hit, I was incredibly proud of the way the Acumatica cloud ERP senior leadership team responded. We came up with a business continuity plan, just like many other companies. But we also came up with several different scenarios (worst case, probable, and best case). We looked at everything and everyone. We made a commitment, as a team, to do everything we could to protect our customers and our employees, which included not only our employees’ health, but their jobs. Layoffs and/or eliminations must be the last resort as these decisions actually harm the company—now and in the future.

We moved quickly to not only list the obvious things we are doing (like every other company), but we also moved very quickly to make tangible decisions and announcements to our partners and customers. We immediately:

  • Stopped any planned pricing increases
  • Put in place a formal process for customers that needed some considerations with regard to their monthly or yearly subscription renewals
  • Worked with our partners in order to help protect their employees and families

We took a very serious look at our entire community—which is our culture—in order to see how we could help this community maintain their competitive advantage even during these unprecedented times.

From March 2020 until October 2020 (present time), Acumatica has not laid off a single employee. In fact, we have continued to hire. During this time, we kept all of our corporate priorities including the percentage of profits invested back into the product. We have delivered two releases this year—as we always do. And for the sixth time in a row, ever since we started two releases per year, we have released on time with an incredible amount of functionality.

Even in 2020, Acumatica customers have received tremendous value. So, what is the point?

Find value even in uncertain times

I was speaking with an Acumatica partner who had a prospect that had already selected Acumatica when the pandemic hit. This prospective customer owned a chain of movie theatres. I think we can all agree, this is an industry that was impacted tremendously! Tough to succeed when you are forced to close your doors.

I asked the partner what they were doing to help their prospect survive. Remember, this is not a customer yet. Silence on the phone. I told the partner “stop selling ERP software. Help your prospect sell seats!” If you help them sell seats, they will purchase cloud ERP software.

How might this partner help the theatre sell seats in a time of restrictions and fear?

I suggested to this partner that they call the prospect and ask them if they had contacted the local school board. Maybe they could “rent” seats to the schools so that they could get children back into a classroom. What is a theatre after all? It is a perfect classroom! You can socially distance the students, and you can provide a podium for the teacher. I can’t imagine a better audio/visual platform. We could get thousands of additional students into the classroom rather than layoff teachers and putting students on some kind of every other day routine.

My point here is this… even in an industry that has been decimated by COVID, there are opportunities for disruption. What happens if the theatre industry never comes back? Do they just close their doors, fire their employees, impact tens of thousands of family members…or do they find another way? There has to be another way. Maybe my idea doesn’t work. I admit I don’t know all of the issues facing this kind of movement. But you have to do something!

Thinking outside the box. Being disruptive. Expanding when others contract. Finding the value of cloud ERP even in uncertain times.

Why is it that Best Buy can survive when Circuit City cannot? But now we have to worry that even Best Buy will survive. Were they really that different? It is going to be very strange to live in a world without Sears, Macy’s, Hertz, and the hundreds of other organizations that could not survive in times of change. They become like all the others (US Steel and Bethlehem Steel, Pan Am, Blockbuster, Polaroid & Kodak. Unfortunately, the list goes on).

This pandemic, while terrible, is only an accelerator of change. It is not the creator of change. And like all the change that has come before, it requires a different way of thinking and a different way of responding. It’s not rocket science.

As I tell my partners every day, stop selling ERP software. Instead, help your prospect sell “seats”, or “food”, or “doors” or whatever it is that they do! In 2020, one of those areas is commerce. Helping your prospects or customers educate their customers and sell virtually. Creating an experience where the prospect or customer can make an EASY and informed decision with one stop. Commerce, commerce, commerce. Everyone needs it, and even those that have a portal today need to rethink how they use it.

It has always been about the value of cloud ERP, but right now in uncertain times, delivering value has become paramount. Our very survival depends on it!

Do you have questions about what I’ve shared with you today and about Acumatica’s cloud-based ERP solution? Would you like to join the hundreds of Acumatica VARs  already making a difference in the lives of businesses and their employees around the world? Contact us today.

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Former Vice President, Partner Strategy & Programs at Acumatica
Categories: Partners

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