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The Tech Take

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After attending the Acumatica partner conference earlier this week I’d like to take the time today to give my take on who they are as a company, where they fit in to the world of cloud ERP and their future.

Many of you may not have even heard of the company or know much about them, and to be fair they’ve only been in the market a few years and the name itself doesn’t say much about what they do. But make no mistake, they are going to make a good run at being a leader – or at least a strong player – in the world of midmarket ERP and will use the word “cloud” where possible to help them get there. They’re also going to use a growing number of partners – primarily those of the VARs, ISVs and OEM variety – to the best of their ability.

As to who Acumatica is, in short, they’re a platform and a flexible one at that. The company is, and has been, building technology that – unlike much of its competition – can deployed on premises, hosted, SaaS (sorry PaaS, really) or a hybrid with the “cloud” part being delivered (for now) on Microsoft Azure.

They’re also very open to, and actively pursuing, companies that can “white label” the product to get it out there as seen it its relationships with  Oslo-based accounting, tax, payroll and ERP software maker Visma and Australia-based accounting software maker MYOB.

The white label approach is a pretty good plan to get some market reach, one I know we’ll see more of from Acumatica and one its competitors aren’t really doing much of.

Another advantage Acumatica may have, at least from a partner perspective, is its commitment to being 100-percent (or predominantly) partner sold -- again, something its competitors cannot really claim. In fact, chief marketing officer Stijn Hendrikse went on record at the recent partner conference stating, “There is no way we are going to sell out this company to a direct model.” This of course is accounting for not really knowing what the future will bring, but safe to say it is simply not Acumatica’s intent to have any direct sales for the foreseeable future.

Another telling thing Hendrikse said was about Acumatica being a “cloud company.” As I raised in my column a few weeks ago, the whole idea of what cloud computing is has become very much a religious debate and for Acumatica, Hendrikse even admitted “we call ourselves cloud ERP, it gets us in certain RFPs, but we’re really a flexible platform to help grow businesses.”

I have to agree with him there.

To reiterate, there’s many opposing views on what cloud is. You have your cloud purists, meaning those who have built their products from “the ground up” to be deployed on the Web, not hosted on anyone’s server but rather on series of ridiculously secure server farms. For others, cloud is simply having the ability to open a Web browser and access the program or data and not really caring much about where it’s sent from, or multi-tenancy or any of that.

Acumatica fits pretty well in the middle of that debate and for those midmarket companies who still have some reticence about the whole concept of cloud, where data is and so forth, it may be a viable option in a relatively crowded field. It’s also something that allows its partners to build on and get vertical and so forth.

The company also appears to be pretty open about its policies, being a partner and where it sees itself fitting in – at least that was my impression after attending their largest partner conference.

As the company gets larger that may be more of a challenge, but that is to be expected.

Partners seem to be doing fairly well, but it’s still very early days since Acumatica only formalized a partner program a year ago and has only been signing them on for the past three to four years.

Right now the company claims its top five partners average 13 deals per year, while its Gold partners average around three per year. Deal sizes are also on the way up and average $51,012 compared to $23,400 two years ago.

I should also note that as of now Acumatica would very much like to garner the attention of accountants and CPAs, but has no formal program or plan to do so here in the U.S. – not yet anyway. It would also like to get more of the country’s top resellers.

For partners, it has a few of the VAR 100 signed on – notably SBS Group, Crestwood Associates, SVA Consulting and Accountnet. The common theme here is they all represent Microsoft Dynamics products and they do represent a strong contingent of Acumatica’s channel, though some SAP and Sage partners are also in their ranks as well.

As for where the company needs to go from here, it’s very much all about awareness and that means getting out to more conferences, into the press, signing on more “named” or top partners and – in my view – getting in front of more CPAs. As most experienced accounting and ERP software companies know, having the attention of a company’s trusted advisor is paramount to not only getting in the door but, quite possibly, the future of this company in particular.

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