Why Milestone Chose Acumatica ERP
As a software reseller or Valued Added Reseller (VAR) of Acumatica ERP we consult and use the software as a tool to help businesses grow. Often we assist or consult companies through the selection process of a new Accounting or ERP software journey. However, the story is never told about the process the VAR went through to select and represent a particular ERP software solution. All resellers have a different evaluation process that they go through, similar to a client’s ERP evaluation process. Let’s discuss our process, and the journey Milestone went through back in 2014 when we were looking for a new software solution, and why we chose Acumatica ERP.
The Beginning of the Journey
Our goal was to find an ERP or Accounting solution that could take our company into the future. We set out to find a product that was not only a good fit for us as a VAR organization, but that would be a good next generation fit for our mid-market client base (8M-500M) as well. As we set out on this mission, we were recruited by a lot of vendors to sell and support their products. As we reviewed all of the different software solutions and vendors that were flooding us with information, requesting that Milestone represent their product, it was decided that some criteria should be set to evaluate each solution.
First, we wanted to look at the software’s functionality, with our customer base in mind. We didn’t want to select a product where we started from scratch, abandoning our existing customer base that have been loyal to us over the years. The solution needed to be better than the existing software that we were offering. We didn’t want to take a step back. It had to have customization abilities. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we have not seen implementation in years that was just flat out of the box.
Back in the old days, when Milestone was founded, 28-some years ago, people were just happy to be automated, so they’d accept anything. They’d define their processes based on how the software worked. Those days are long gone. Today, you have to look at your business processes and select your software based on how its functionality matches your best practices. No software engineer will think of every functional possibility, but if they check most of the boxes, offer a configurable solution and can provide you with a detailed future roadmap, then it’s a product to consider.
As a solution provider, it was imperative to have the ability to customize the software. It was equally important to us that the program had flexible reporting and allowed us to query the data in ways that would provide our clients meaningful information about their businesses. In many of our ERP implementations we find that the customer requires a field or task that is not native to the software. Having never been a proponent of customizing software in a way that disrupts the integrity of the program, we desired a platform that would allow us to customize utilizing standard web technology and development language. It was also important to us to find a solution that would allow us to integrate with other applications in a seamless way. It was critical that we would be able to develop bi-directional integrations with SQL and .NET and web-based applications. Overall, a modern technological architecture was imperative to our ERP selection.
Having worked with traditional “on-premise” ERP programs since the start of our business, it was important that we select a modern web or cloud-based solution. Something that we didn’t have to maintain on every desktop, and expensive servers. One that the company could deploy in several different ways. Acumatica ERP had three options; companies that had strict government or data sovereignty concerns could still implement on their own server and get all the benefits of a cloud-based solution. If a company already had an existing cloud license, they could deploy on that infrastructure and maintain it themselves. Finally, if a company had limited IT resources, or the technology team didn’t want to the hassle of managing servers, Acumatica offered the SaaS (Software as a Service) option. Regardless of the deployment selection, the software is always deployed in a web browser. Acuamtica was the only ERP software company in the SMB space that allowed customers this deployment flexibility.
Is the vendor easy to work with?
Another important criteria was to find a company that would be easy to work with. One that was available when needed, transparent with product development and roadmap, and provided excellent support to VAR’s and customers. About 20 years ago ERP organizations began acquiring a large portfolio of products and the acquisitions have continued throughout the years. This consolidates the ERP market into about a dozen well known companies, each supporting a multitude of products. The problem is, when a company has to provide continued development and support to so many products, some products suffer. With Acumatica, we have one software developer committed to the development of one excellent product. Working with a software developer who we could form a relationship with and have access to when needed was important to us. We know if that company is easy for us to work with, they likely care about their customers, and that level of service will translate to the end-user.
Is it a mid-market solution?
In our process of selecting a new ERP solution we needed to find a program that would be a good fit for our wide range of customers. It needed to be a true mid-market solution. The definition of mid-market can be all over the board. Sometimes the mid-market is defined as companies from 10 to 500 employees, sometimes it’s defined as companies with revenue from 20 million to 3 billion. That’s a wide range. What we saw for several years now is, a lot of the software vendors started to invest in software built for what they saw as a lucrative market, focusing on those companies in the 500 million to 1 billion range. That’s not our customer. It wouldn’t be beneficial for our clients to try to utilize software built for a company doing 1 billion in revenue. Their requirements are different. We wanted to find a company and product that fit the mid-market and was committed to providing a great solution for the mid-market.
Is it a product we could believe in?
Finally, we needed to get something we believe in. We always tell people, we come to this business as consultants, not necessarily as software people or salespeople. We’re consultants first. When we present a solution, when we work with a company, we have to believe in that solution. We’ve got to think that we’re going to solve most of, if not all of their problems. Because we’re going to have a relationship with you for a long time, we are not an organization that’s going to come in, sell you software, and never talk to you again. We have seen multiple clients through 2-3 software implementations over the last 28 plus years. If the software doesn’t work, or there’s a problem, we have to answer directly to the customer and solve the problem. It was imperative that we believed in the solution we would be selling, implementing and supporting.
Taking the long road
We didn’t just dive into the decision to select Acumatica as our next generation ERP offering; this was a process that took us a few years to research and test many different products. We looked at and evaluated all of our options, weighing our requirements list against each for a long time to find the perfect solution. We kicked the tires and looked under the hood of a ton of different products from the big guys to the little guys and everything in between. Time and time again, Acumatica ERP checked all the boxes. Once we spent some time with the Acumatica team, and began working in the software, it was apparent that this is the solution that will take our clients and our company into the future.
Why did we choose Acumatica ERP? The first thing we talked about was functionality, and it had the functionality that would be able to replace both our existing system offerings. Furthermore, we quickly learned that Acumatica invests 70% of it’s revenues back into the software, and offers two major feature releases every year. With Acumatica, we could scale the program using the Small Business version to some of our smaller clients, but it is robust enough to meet the needs of our larger customers. It’s unlimited user license structure was a bonus that many of our clients have been able to take advantage of, adding users that never would have had access to the “per-user” fee based ERP systems they had before.
We weren’t alone. After we selected Acumatica, PC Magazine, selected them as their Editor’s Choice Award, which is the top ERP software in their market. Also, the Software and Information Industry Association (IIA) announced the CODiE Awards as the best cloud ERP Solution. The CODIE awards to the software industry are like getting an Oscar in the film industry. The IIA is a group of software and information technology professionals that’s been around for decades, and they recognize Acumatica and it’s strengths. The more we researched, and the more we read industry analyst reports, the praise continued for Acumatica.
Acumatica ERP Reporting tools
Customization ability was another big reason why we chose Acumatica. Acumatica’s xRP Platform allows us to customize the software using industry leading tools. We appreciate that customizations can be “published” and “unpublished,” allowing us to maintain the integrity of the software. For reporting, we have a built-in report writer that is as strong as Crystal Reports, the former “de facto” report writer. However, Acumatica’s report writer is built-in and part of the application. The financial reporting tool is the best one we have seen since FRx, and again, it’s built into the application – no need to use an outside reporting system. They support O-data, a technology for moving data around the web, and moving data from one application to another. We use O-data to do additional reporting in programs like Power BI and Excel.
Acumatica’s Robust Framework
Acumatica ERP also has a very robust application framework that we can build on, that we can tie into, and it’s not like a specific language that we have to use. However, it’s a bonus it’s written in .NET, a language we have been working with for a number of years. Another bonus, but it wasn’t the cherry on top. Because of the application framework, and the use of technologies like SOAP and Rest, you can tie other applications into this program quickly. It’s easily customizable, and also has excellent import and export capabilities.
The architecture is HTML 5, which is a big deal. When we first looked at early web applications, they weren’t straightforward to use. They also had performance issues. For instance, every day tasks like opening a look-up, or populating a field, the system would have to go back to the server and grab the data. It was very slow and cumbersome. HTML 5 solved these issues. With Acumatica Cloud ERP, the architecture was designed with HTML 5 in mind, and it solved a lot of those user problems. The usability of it now is similar or better than a desktop application.
Acumatica ERP knows it’s market
Acumatica dedicates itself to the mid-market. They aren’t trying to be something to everybody. They were very transparent with us when we first met, with the CEO talking about other software developers and the “mid-market abandonment.” They identified that the SMB market is where they fit and they want to provide the best ERP solution to the mid-market. They’re a forward-thinking company. They’ve jumped on utilizing new technology much quicker than their competition. Early on we saw that with the early adoption of O-data, which is an industry-standard now. Today they are using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to continue to build their product making it by far, the most technologically advanced ERP product in the mid-market.
We believe In Acumatica
This was our journey and our extensive evaluation process and why, in the end, we chose Acumatica Cloud ERP over a lot of different vendors as a software solution and tool that we felt best represented the mid-market and the clients we serve. We’ve been working with Acumatica since 2015 and have never looked back. We continue to believe in this product and this company, and we’re thrilled about the Milestone and Acumatica partnership.
Are you researching ERP, accounting, or inventory management software?
Give us a call 360-734-3387 if you’re researching software to manage your business. We want to help you through the process, of research, selection and implementation.