Last year, the Acumatica 2019 R2 Roadshow events took place in 11 cities across the United States. That was the 3rd year in a row that Acumatica did Fall roadshow events across the country.
This year, thanks to COVID, we had 1 Acumatica 2020 R2 Virtual Launch Event Webinar. Not quite the same, but better than nothing. And I appreciate Acumatica doing their best to provide us with some consistency, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Before I get into my notes from this year, I have a few complaints that I would like to register officially on the internet via this meager blog post:
1. I logged into the webinar a few minutes early, but it seemed like the event had already started. Sean Chatterjee was on the screen saying the word “excited” a bunch of times. I thought maybe I put the wrong time on my calendar, but eventually I realized that Sean was just doing a “pre-game” of sorts. A “pre-game” is fine for the Super Bowl because people expect it, but I thought it was weird for a Webinar. Continuing the Super Bowl analogy, it felt a little like a user car commercial, that last “local programming” commercial before the Super Bowl million dollar commercials kick in. It felt weird and left me feeling like I missed something and needed to catch-up.
2. The event seemed like a combination of recorded segments and live segments. I think that because the transitions were choppy. It felt like we were getting handed off from a recorded person to a live person and back to a recorded person. The recorded segments of Jon Roskill giving aviation history lessons would have been cool if the transitions were better. Instead, it felt like I was watching TV with someone who is constantly changing the channel.
3. The five key announcements got buried. Sean barely mentioned the new Acumatica Community website (click here) at the very end of the pre-game and, even then, it was very rushed, crammed in right before the official event started. At the end of the official event, Ali Jani seemed like he was running out of time when he uttered an “and wait, there’s more” line (insert used car commercial analogy again here) as he crammed the 4 big announcements into the last 26 seconds of his last segment. I barely saw the slide with the 4 big announcements and had no time to digest what he had just said before someone “changed the channel” back to the History Channel with Jon Roskill 🙂
I’m mainly jotting down my complaints in case Acumatica Summit 2021 winds up being virtual as well and lessons can be learned from this Acumatica 2020 R2 Virtual Launch Event Webinar. If anyone from Acumatica is reading this, please don’t combine live and recorded content in the future. It was weird. At least that’s my opinion.
Overall, I would love to see more interactivity in the next virtual event. As Jon Reed puts it, interactivity > entertainment (click here).
To be fair, COVID has left everyone scrambling for a new sense of normal. Props to everyone at Acumatica for giving it their best shot rather than giving up and canceling the event altogether.
The Big Announcements
I’m reproducing Ali Jani’s big announcements here in text and with a screenshot of the slide here so you can have time to digest it:
1. Electronic Bank and Credit Card Transaction Feeds. Easily connect your bank accounts to Acumatica! Over 11,000 financial institutions supported.
2. Advanced Expense Management. Automate Expense Receipt creation from bank feeds when corporate credit cards are used.
3. Acumatica Point of Sale. Manage over-the-counter retail sales for all your retail locations in real-time!
4. Quality Management. Drive higher customer satisfaction by delivering higher quality products, all while meeting compliance standards.
The Unmentioned Announcements
If this was an event for another ERP product, these things would have made it into the official event. But Acumatica just has too many cool new things to talk about so these things didn’t make the cut.
First, I already mentioned the new Acumatica Community website (click here) above, but I’m mentioning it again here. It looks pretty good, but we’ll see how committed Acumatica stays to it over the long term (they already killed off AcumaticaUserGroup.com which they mentioned at Summit 2020).
Click here to read about the differences between the new Acumatica Community website and our independent community here on AUGForums.com
Second, for me personally, the biggest news about Acumatica 2020 R2 is the fact that Construction and Manufacturing are now fully within the Acumatica core product (no more Customization Projects). This announcement got buried. I guess I’m also burying it at the end of this blog post (now I can sympathize with Sean Chatterjee and Ali Jani).
Even in the Acumatica 2020 R2 Release Notes (click here), this HUGE piece of news is buried on page 12 and page 37:
Construction was always owned by Acumatica, but it was developed by a separate team in Portland, OR, and that team developed the solution in Customization Projects, just like any other custom solution is built in Acumatica.
Since Customization Projects are first-class citizens in the Acumatica framework, the end user doesn’t know the difference, but this Construction approach mattered from a sustainability standpoint because Acumatica essentially “forked” the code. The longer you let “forked” code run, the harder it is to bring it into the core.
Any other ERP company wouldn’t care about “forked” code. They are accustomed to dealing with disparate products because that’s all they know. But Acumatica is a product engineering company. So they took the time to do the right thing and bring Construction into the core.
Similar story with Manufacturing, except that Acumatica just acquired Manufacturing in January, the weekend before Summit 2020. For Manufacturing to already be included in the core Acumatica product, 8 months after it was acquired, is downright incredible.
Contrast this approach with Sage. When Sage acquires a product, it lives “in orbit” forever. It never gets combined into the other Sage products in the code. It only gets integrated into the Sage brand in marketing campaigns.
That Construction and Manufacturing are now included in core Acumatica 2020 R2 code is HUGE to me. It’s the biggest news of 2020 R2 in my opinion. Now all I need to do is check a box to turn on the functionality. I don’t have to worry about customized reports getting wiped out by upgrades. I don’t have to deal with separate release cadences. I love it!
My Notes from the Event
I took my notes on Twitter as usual which was a lot easier to do using a computer rather than sitting on the front row using my phone like I normally do. Still, I would prefer an in-person event over the comfort of my home office any day. Hopefully we get to do an in-person event safely in the not-too-distant future.
I have collected all of my tweets from the event together here: