PJ: How has IQMS been thriving in a still tough economy?
GN: I think the pricing model of our system (scalable and modular) has a lot to do with keeping our pricing competitive. We are interested in getting each client what they need when they need it, and they understand the following: while they may want everything, realistically they can buy only what they will use now, with the option to add more modules as they grow and implement them then.
Additionally, we strive to foster continued relationships with our clients. We saw many clients start to pull out of the economic slump and reinvest in their company (through increased headcount or additional software functionality).
PJ: What regions, industries, company sizes, etc. have been performing well (and which are still sluggish)? Is it about gaining brand new customers or up-selling new modules to existing customers?
GN: We continue to be strongest in the mid-market range. Consumer goods and automotive sectors, which were slower before, have picked up for many of our clients, which is a good sign for recovery. The medical devices market has continued to be strong for us. Some new clients helped us expand into areas such as manufactured flooring, metal fasteners, and beverage dispensing.
PJ: How many employees and offices do you have now?
GN: We are still pretty lean with about 100 employees across the globe. We are in a hiring mode right now and are hiring almost 20 people to start first of March. We still have our corporate office here in California, and direct offices in Illinois and England, with partners serving other regions (e.g., Asia).
PJ: What are your recent new enhancements/modules since we last spoke? Are there any capabilities that are selling like hot cakes?
GN: We have added the RealTime Process Monitoring module since we last spoke (see the related PR). This capability has been very well received by our clients. Another newer application is the mobile ERP capability that is currently available on the BlackBerry phone. We are working on it now for the Google Droid device and have plans to also work on an Apple iPhone and iPad mobile shop floor application.
Unlike other mobile ERP applications we took more than just contact management and included shop floor machine monitoring, capable to promise (CTP), inventory, and other areas of importance. This is quickly growing to be the most asked about capability in recent months.
PJ: Who are the competitors that you've been facing? Has there been any changes in customers' views towards software as a service (SaaS)/on-demand, or you are still happy to remain implemented on-premises?
GN: We still see Epicor, SYSPRO, Plex Systems, and the other “usual suspect” companies in the mid-market. We are still happy with our on-premises approach because of the stability in our product. Because we offer variations of the on-premise package, we have found out that we still compete (and win) against the SaaS-only models.
PJ: Given that Plex Online is thriving too (see my recent article), would you say that the economy is doing better or you are still taking business away from other vendors?
GN: I think it is a combination of both. The economy is picking up and those who previously put projects on hold are back to evaluate and purchase for real. We have won accounts where we were up not only against an upgrade of their previous legacy system, but also as a complete ERP system replacement.
PJ: What do you mean by "variations of your on-premise product"?
GN: The variations we offer include a purchased server on premises (our standard offering) and our Managed Service offering, whereby the server is on the client site, but is managed and maintained by us. The benefits we see for the SaaS model is that clients don't want to incur the expense to maintain the system or purchase hardware. With our Managed Service offering we adeptly cover both of those issues, and because data is stored locally, possible Internet connectivity and security issues are eliminated.