Grape Escape 2014—2 Tech Companies Include News Items with Key Benefits to U.S. Landscape

During the information technology (IT) vendor presentations of this summer’s Grape Escape Analyst Event (held each year by JRocket Marketing), two tech companies included news about specific initiatives aimed at U.S. companies, workers, and/or veteran population. First, let’s address Apparancy, with its application dedicated to streamlining veteran affairs (managed by the U.S. Veteran Administration department or VA) and then SYSPRO, with its offering directed at American manufacturers.

Apparancy to Provide Support to Veteran Claims (Q4 2014)

With its product VetApprove, Apparancy is using its business process management (BPM) platform to help address the needs of more than 22 million U.S. veterans, define eligibility, identify appropriate programs, etc. Specifically, via Apparancy, veterans can readily retrieve and more easily populate the appropriate forms for these programs, with significantly less hassle and without endless chains of phone calls. The vendor seems to be quite committed to its undertaking to help American veterans, as it is currently in the process of moving its headquarters to D.C. to have firsthand information from the Department of Veteran Affairs, as it advances its solution.

The notorious VA scandal—leading to VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation in May of this year—shows that there is a need for automation to support veterans claiming their entitled benefits. Former Naval Aviator and currently chief executive officer (CEO) of Hunter-Wimberly Group, Ned Hunter, discussed during the Grape Escape client press conference how he attempted to take on the untenable bureaucracy, which currently renders the benefits claiming process as nearly impossible for veterans.

Together with a fellow veteran, Hunter built TurboVet, a solution first aimed at solving the problem in the state of Virginia. It employed a form of logic that relied on actual questions that veterans needed to be asked and questions that needed to be answered to achieve their personal solution and the corresponding correct forms. However, Hunter’s innovative solution did not make it in an immature—web 1.0—technological environment and faced political hurdles as well.

Today, the VA response to technology is slowly changing, at a point when software has advanced tremendously and when the web 3.0 software market has a lot to offer. The Department of Veteran Affairs is now compelled to embrace technology, as a majority of veterans and their family members of all generations are more comfortable using technology to claim their benefits using an intelligent online claims management system.

VetApprove by Apparancy comes at the right time into the picture and brings to the table vital functionality to handle the many rules and exceptions that veterans run into for their benefit claims. Thanks to Apparancy’s expertise in BPM technology, VetApprove can take advantage of process automation, which includes modeling, analysis, and ongoing beneficiary feedback—allowing for appropriate configuration settings. Furthermore, VetApprove’s flexibility allows for quick adaptation to changing compliance rules.

SYSPRO Helps U.S. Manufacturers “Do More with Less”

SYSPRO released the results of a survey investigating the mid-market American manufacturing and distribution industry, in an effort to identify, align with, and more closely support the needs of U.S. manufacturers and distributors. The survey was conducted on a sample of 100 respondents from within the SYSPRO reseller and implementation partner and customer community. The analysis of the survey data shows a possible connection between manufacturers’ interest in investing in equipment while simultaneously investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other supporting technologies.  

One of the questions asked interviewees was whether they prefer making a more basic or recurring technology investment improvement (such as an ERP release upgrade, new computers or mobile devices, etc.) or purchasing a key new piece of manufacturing equipment. SYSPRO’s initial assumptions here had an interesting outcome: the survey results show that 9% of the respondents say they fairly regularly choose to undertake both projects at the same time and almost half (48%) say that this is a decision they’ve undertaken a least once or twice already.

Benefiting from the latest software capabilities is indeed essential for mid-market manufacturers and distributors. The survey results also show that 85% of respondents stated that thanks to SYSPRO’s technology and service they were able to “do more with less” resources; 90% indicated that SYSPRO helped them improve go-to-market strategies; and 85% said that they achieve better business process thanks to SYSPRO.

As we attempted to understand what “do more with less” better go-to-market strategies or improved business process means at a more granular level, the client press conference came with the answers. SYSPRO’s clients attending the event from Rochester Electronics and stated it clearly:

  • Flexibility and scalability—SYSPRO can sustain growth for its clients, and if the client’s business is in a make-to-order rather than make-to-stockroom operational mode, SYSPRO ERP is able to handle a very large number of diverse transactions. Furthermore, as stated by Michael Murray, Enterprise Applications Manager at Rochester Electronics, SYSPRO ERP’s flexibility goes as far as being able to accommodate single or small production of many thousands of different items.
  • Customization capabilities—these come in handy if a manufacturer or distributor likes to extend and append the solution in whichever way best fits its needs. Thanks to the .Net framework that SYSPRO is using, anyone who knows the language can produce a piece of software that complements SYSPRO ERP.
  • Analytics—making sense of data—whether from operations or sales, etc., is a SYSPRO advantage for profit-building and sales-growing purposes. For example, weekly analysis of operational data helps manufacturers understand buyer behavior. Also, sales teams can base their strategies on reports that show cancelations, sales rep or supplier activity, product or marketing campaign performance, etc. Resources can be reviewed, measured, and altered as well to improve margins.
  • Trust—SYSPRO is recognized for providing great customer support as well as delivering on its roadmap promises. Kim Pedersen, CEO & Founder, asserts: “I like to say about SYPSRO that when we cry, they cry; when we laugh, they laugh. They make it very clear to their customers that they love helping us to be successful.” In other words, with SYSPRO it is not about the money.


The JRocket Marketing Grape Escape is a great analyst event to discover news on emerging enterprise software vendors, thanks to Judith Rothrock and her team, who focus on continuously underlining the benefits of adopting business technology. At more than 12 years old, this event has built a successful long-term reputation as a useful platform for both analysts and vendors of all kinds. This summer in Chicago we were able to get the inside scoop on enterprise software from the BPM vendor Apparancy and ERP vendor SYSPRO—two software vendors committed to providing best-in-class solutions for the U.S., and in SYSPRO’s case, the global landscape as well.
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