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Acumatica Summit focuses on cloud ERP and growth

Acumatica touted growth and new integrations with Adobe and Microsoft at its annual summit. Analysts like the ERP vendor's innovations and customer-centric approach.

Acumatica focused on growth and new integrations in the Acumatica ERP system at Acumatica Summit 2021.

The hybrid event for Acumatica customers and business partners drew 2,500 attendees to Las Vegas, as well as several thousand who viewed streaming content, according to the company.

Acumatica is a cloud native ERP designed for small to midsize organizations. Acumatica ERP is available in a general business edition, as well as editions for retail and commerce, distribution, manufacturing and construction.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based vendor reported that more than 8,000 customers are running Acumatica ERP, a growth rate of about 20% in the past year. Acumatica captured about 4.8 billion transactions across the cloud ERP in the last year.

The company's partner program also grew, as around 40 independent software vendors have joined the Acumatica ISV program this year. That brings the total number in the program to more than 240, according to Acumatica.

Feature updates to Acumatica 2021 R2, the latest version of Acumatica ERP, focused on integrations aimed at improving users' experiences and ability to collaborate.

One integration with Adobe Document Cloud allows users to work on PDF documents -- including annotating, highlighting, commenting on and saving changes -- without leaving Acumatica ERP. Another integration, with Microsoft Teams, allows users to activate Teams functions from within Acumatica.

Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill speaks on stage at Acumatica Summit 2021
Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill speaks at the Acumatica Summit 2021 conference.

The aim is to provide better ways for Acumatica customers to collaborate and work more seamlessly with different applications, which is particularly important given the changes in the way people work, said Acumatica CEO John Roskill.

"You can only expect the unexpected -- not just COVID, but the Texas power grid, the boat in the Suez Canal," Roskill said. "We said a year ago that people weren't anticipating a need to rely on remote work the way they do today. So we worked with Microsoft for nine months and now have Microsoft Teams inside the Acumatica environment -- you've got presence, you can see who's online, you can start a chat session or a video session, and you also now have Adobe PDF markup within the Acumatica environment."

No legacy burden

Because Acumatica has always been a cloud ERP company, it does not face the challenges that other ERP vendors face in moving customers from legacy on-premises systems to modern cloud-based ERPs, Roskill said.

Much of Acumatica's customers are companies that are moving off on-premises systems from Sage, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Epicor and Infor systems, Roskill said.

Customers are also attracted to Acumatica's licensing and pricing model, which charges for the amount of transactions a customer consumes, rather than the number of users, allowing for much more flexibility, he said.

"A lot of ERP vendors have historically had a bad reputation around business practices in the way they treat customers around things like licensing and pricing," Roskill said. "Some of the cloud vendors went after their customers very aggressively as they were struggling to move to remote work scenarios, and tried to charge them for additional user licenses for those people that suddenly had to work in a remote scenario."

Practical innovation

The customer-centric focus and pragmatic approach to innovation is what sets Acumatica apart in the cloud ERP market, said Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner at SMB Group, an enterprise computing research and consulting firm in Boston.

The Adobe Document Cloud and Microsoft Teams integrations may not seem like major innovations, but they are very helpful for businesses, she said -- particularly in the SMB market that Acumatica serves.

Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner, SMB GroupLaurie McCabe

"The bottom line is that you can see the pragmatism in these functions," McCabe said. "Even when they're talking about AI or machine learning, which are a little out there for a lot of small and medium businesses, Acumatica gets right down to how you can use it to improve reporting, get predictive capabilities, or to identify anomalies and patterns. People right away see that's valuable."

Acumatica's pricing model, which charges customers by the volume of transactions rather than the number of users, also helps against its competitors, including Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics GP and SAP's Business One and Business ByDesign.

"This is also very important for the SMB market, because there are some other vendors that do not have a good reputation for being able to have a natural relationship with SMBs, and Acumatica has gone out of its way to do that," McCabe said. "They also have this white hat persona, because they're very transparent in what they're doing and they're very accessible, so people just like them."

Customer-centric focus fuels growth

Acumatica's practical approach to innovation does set it apart, agreed Cindy Jutras, president of Mint Jutras, an enterprise systems research and advisory firm in Windham, N.H.

"It's more of the same types of things that they've been doing all along, which actually isn't bad because they've been doing some good things in terms of innovation, and sometimes they do small things that have a really big impact on customers," Jutras said. "It looks like everyone's concentrating on the same things -- cloud, AI, automation and digital transformation. With some vendors you scratch the surface and you get more surface; with Acumatica, the more you scratch the surface, the better it looks. They've delivered fairly practical innovation, but they've also humanized it."

Cindy Jutras, president, MintJutrasCindy Jutras

Acumatica's "good guy" reputation is also helping to fuel growth, she said.

"There are a couple of things that are different now than they were a year or so ago -- one is their brand awareness; more people know about them. Part of that is momentum -- they have over 8,000 customers now and a lot of their selling is still done by referrals," Jutras said. "That's a lot of people, and they've got high satisfaction rates, so 8,000 satisfied customers generate some buzz and a lot of referral business."

Rapid growth presents new challenges, although these are not necessarily unique to Acumatica, McCabe said.

"For one, while their partner network is growing, it's very hard to have enough really strong partners right now," she said. "With COVID, there's a backlog of projects that companies need to do, and a lot of these vendors don't have enough partners, and that's true for Acumatica."

Jim O'Donnell is a TechTarget news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for SearchSAP and SearchERP.

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