Acumatica Unleashing Its Cloud ERP Potential

Acumatica held its Partner Summit recently, and TEC used the occasion to check in with this growing cloud-based ERP vendor. The list of cloud ERP vendors is growing, and Acumatica is staking its ambitious claim with a rapidly growing channel, a continuing stream of product development, and a strong focus on marketing and execution for the coming year. 2013 has been quite a year for Acumatica, with a headquarters move to the Seattle area (December 2012), 50 new channel partners, and projected revenue growth of 300% for 2013 (to provide some context, Acumatica is about 5 years old and currently has 90 employees). With so many changes for the company in recent months, and lofty goals (company revenue of $1 billion in 10 years, generating $5 billion in revenue for channel partners), Yury Larichev, who took over as CEO in January, issued a call to arms at the Partner Summit, telling Acumatica’s growing community of partners and ISVs that “The Time is Now.”

Recent Announcements
Acumatica had a lot to talk about at the Partner Summit regarding its activities over this past year, including:

  • Yury Larichev’s promotion from COO to CEO (January 2013)

  • Launch of Acumatica 4.0 (March 2013)

  • Agreement with Australasian business software vendor MYOB (July 2013)

  • Release of Acumatica 4.1 (August 2013)

  • Appointment of Sean Chatterjee as new VP, Partner Sales

  • Move of its headquarters from McLean, VA to Kirkland, WA (December 2012)

These developments are important to note, as they largely frame and define what Acumatica is and will be in the near future. As a Microsoft technology-based vendor, Acumatica’s move to the Seattle area was strategic, with the stated intent of being closer to Microsoft and its resources (development remains in Moscow, Russia).

The agreement with MYOB, under which MYOB gains the exclusive right to market Acumatica under its own name, follows a similar agreement with Visma in the Nordic countries. The MYOB deal is actually quite a big deal, as was the Visma partnership, as these two agreements are the anchors of Acumatica’s current strategy, revolving around the channel in general and the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/“white label” specifically. Yuri Larichev would like you to note that that these agreements are both outside of the U.S., evidence of Acumatica’s global ambitions, along with the company’s recent opening of an office in Singapore in May 2013. (For those so inclined, the backstories of Sage having reportedly looked at both Visma and MYOB as acquisitions and the continuing litigation with Archer Capital make for interesting reading.)

Acumatica likes to tout its results, projecting a 300% revenue growth for 2013, following similar reported rates of growth for 2012 and 2011. The company claims to be supporting this growth with a more than doubling in the number of employees. 2013 has seen a rapidly evolving management team, with a number of additions in the partner recruitment and management area.

The partner strategy remains key—and critical—for Acumatica, given’s Acumatica’s lofty ambitions. So, while Acumatica reports 100 new customers this year, and half as many new partners to date, we should expect to see much more activity on the partner front. More recently, Acumatica has appointed Sean Chatterjee as new VP of partner sales, further building up the partner management team to oversee and execute partner program development, tracking, hands-on partner support, and partner marketing.  (For those of you with a keen eye, that now makes at least two people, including Al Jani, from the old Everest Software.)

Acumatica 4.0, 4.1, and 5.0
With the launch of Acumatica 4.0 in March 2013, Acumatica is working to open the doors to the upper midmarket, leading to a greater level of trust, and an average deal size that has grown to more than $50K.

Version 4.0 was a major release, delivering a broad range of features across Acumatica’s financial, distribution, CRM, and project accounting solutions suite, following version 3.0 (which was launched in March 2012).

At the Partner Summit, however, Acumatica talked more about the new features and functions in version 4.1 (available as of the first day of the Summit) and the future version 5.0.

New Features in Acumatica 4.1 include:

  • Drag and drop support for uploading and attaching files

  • Advanced column and parametric filtering

  • Optimized data entry with suggestion and auto-complete capabilities

  • Real-time connectivity with Excel

  • The ability to add and secure specific import scenarios to the menu system

  • Improved layout of reports and printed forms

  • Simplified scheduling for recurring general ledger, accounts payable, and accounts receivable transactions

  • Expanded developer documentation

What seemed to garner the most interest was the real-time Excel connectivity, file drag-and-drop functionality, a customer portal, and a new pricing structure (per server/entity) that promises more scalability up and down the enterprise. Acumatica’s pricing strategy is thought to be unique among cloud ERP vendors; if you want a closer look, Acumatica provides an engine on its Web site that allows you to price your specific scenario.

Looking further out, to version 5.0, Acumatica is talking about new features and functions in the areas of dashboards and KPIs, business intelligence, Office 365 integration, added CRM functionality, a self-service portal, and an app store.

Vertical Focus
Acumatica focuses on the wholesale distribution, software and technology, non-profit, professional services, retail services, and manufacturing industries. The company provides a manufacturing solution developed by Ohio-based ISV JAAS Systems, who has been working with Acumatica since 2010. JAAS’ Advanced Manufacturing Software (JAMS) solutions provide functionality for bills of materials and routing, production management, material requirements planning (MRP), scheduling and capacity, product configuration, quoting and estimating, release accounting, and quality.

Acumatica’s Channel Strategy
Acumatica is 100% committed to the channel, with no plans whatsoever for direct sales. This means that the company’s success is critically tied to its success building, developing, training, supporting, and motivating its channel.

Acumatica announced at the Summit that it had added some 50 partners to its channel this year, which will grow its partners to a total of 221 partner organizations, as part of an initiative, announced in July 2013, to grow its VARS, ISVs, and OEMs. (Acumatica mailed out flip-flops to prospective partners, imprinted with a custom Web site address inviting the prospects to the Partner Summit.)

One guestimate was that perhaps 25% of the partner attendees were attending their first Acumatica event, among an overall event attendance that was perhaps about double last year.

Acumatica thinks the OEM (i.e. Visma, MYOB) strategy shows particular promise, alongside its plan to build up its VARS and ISVs aggressively. While Acumatica would like to see all partners achieve Acumatica’s “silver” status before the end of the year, marketing head Stijn Hendrikse acknowledges that it is tough to predict which partners will become “gold“ partners (which now number 14 out of all of their partners).

Much of Acumatica’s success will hinge on the success of its channel strategy, and the company’s continuing to build out its partner management team more than a month after the Partner Summit is evidence of their continued attention to putting all of the necessary pieces together.

What Does This All Mean?
No one can doubt Acumatica’s ambitions. The company is making assertive efforts on multiple fronts—building and developing its channel, a stated commitment to ramp up its marketing, and a strong focus on product build-out—to execute on lofty goals.

For Acumatica, this all hinges on its channel. Acumatica will be the first to acknowledge that it gets higher marks for usability than functionality, and as a result the company has developed a clear strategy to focus on specific areas, including building, developing, training, and supporting its channel; adding functionality in many product areas; and ramping up marketing.

The 2013 Partner Summit demonstrated that Acumatica knows what is required to build credibility, and how to do it. Yury Larichev’s message to the Acumatica partner community was that with all of the pieces that have been put in place over recent months “The Time is Now” to execute strategies for growth and to compete with NetSuite and Plex, in particular, as well as other ERP vendors. One thing is for sure, Acumatica will not be a quiet competitor.

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