The Plex Systems team was in town recently. TEC’s P.J. Jakovljevic and I took the opportunity to sit down with the new Plex CEO, Jason Blessing, as well as V.P. of Corporate Strategy Jim Shepherd, and V.P. of Marketing Patrick Fetterman.
TEC is quite well acquainted with Plex, as you can see from our multiple articles about the company on the TEC blog:
Still, with Mr. Blessing fresh on board, several other relatively recent changes on the management team, and a fresh influx of cash from ACCEL Partners, we had an engaging and wide-ranging discussion with the Plex team.
We sense a reenergized Plex with a new focus on several areas identified as critical for future success. Getting a new CEO and $30M of cash will do that for you. There is an opportunity in the market now for SaaS-based and -focused ERP vendors, and Plex is poised as well as any of the vendors in this space to take advantage. As has been pointed out by TEC and others, branding and visibility are key. The Plex team, and Jason in particular, understands this, and Plex will likely direct more investment to these areas.
Even more critical, of course, are sales “feet on the street”. Plex is planning to make some solid investments in sales and marketing; the executive team is still sorting out what this means for any changes to the mix of selling resources or sales execution strategy. With these things in play, Plex seems very focused on pulling together several strategy pieces, and executing on these, with any further talk of an IPO likely at least a couple of years down the road.
On the product front, while end-user driven innovation will always continue to be part of Plex’s DNA, we heard suggestions of a more formal product strategy guiding Plex's continuous product release strategy. I asked specifically about Plex’s supply chain strategy, where, plainly, Plex does not try to be all things to all customers. Plex feels that end-users are not looking for a supply chain suite in Plex, and that end-users are more accustomed now to selecting niche vendors for specific supply chain needs. Jim Shepherd (with whom I worked for 12+ years at AMR Research) says that this does not really come up very often in conversations with end-users. Neither is Plex interested in being thought of as a “Tier 2” ERP play, where the Tier 2 vendor is often relied upon to deliver more domain-specific capability to complement a broader Tier 1 ERP vendor. Fair enough. Jason Blessing brings some very strong SaaS pedigree to Plex, obviously with the idea that the management team now has more of a critical balance of experience and capabilities. These are exciting times in the cloud ERP space, with Plex Systems one of the key players to watch.