In case you missed it, Scanco WMS is no longer an ISV vendor for Acumatica. There is a lesson to be learned here.
Back at Acumatica Summit 2019 in Houston, Texas, Doug Johnson from Acumatica did a demo of Acumatica’s new WMS solution that runs natively in the Acumatica Mobile App, including on a barcode scanner that runs iOS or Android.
What I remember most from the demo was leaving the keynote hall and walking out to the WMS ISV solution vendor booths in the exhibition booth area. They looked shell-shocked. Talking to them, I learned that they found out about the new WMS solution at the same time as the rest of us, during the demo. That was cold, very cold.
Later that year, in December 2019, I got this email that Scanco was dropping Acumatica:
What’s the lesson? The lesson is that Acumatica is not a slow legacy ERP vendor that struggles to introduce 3-5 new features per year. Acumatica is an engineering company that develops the product at a very fast pace. If you are an ISV vendor that is thinking about partnering with Acumatica, just be ready to get on a fast-moving treadmill and be ready to get a good workout trying to keep pace with Acumatica to avoid the treadmill throwing you to the floor.
When potential ISVs who are thinking about partnering with Acumatica contact me, I always caution them about this.
Acumatica likes to partner with as many ISVs as possible. They get to collect ISV fees from them. But, more importantly, Acumatica gets to learn from these ISVs. If an ISV has a great idea that can be coded fairly easily, Acumatica will incorporate that feature into the Acumatica product. And the treadmill starts to move.
Acumatica thinks a lot like Amazon. Amazon used to use UPS and FedEx. Now they use their own fleet. Amazon leans on their partners until they can build the solution on their own because they think like an engineering company. Acumatica thinks the same way.
If an ISV develops something natively in the Acumatica Framework, then it’s easier for Acumatica to copy their stuff. If the ISV succeeds in building something substantial like JAAS Systems did with the Acumatica Manufacturing Edition, then their only reasonable exit is to sell to Acumatica, with Acumatica driving the negotiations. Not a great bargaining position to be in.
If an ISV keeps their code outside of Acumatica, then they are more protected and in a better position (in my opinion). But Acumatica will still learn about the ISV product from their joint customers, what works well and what doesn’t work well. The industry knowledge is difficult to acquire. There are a lot of tricks that ISVs develop over the years. Acumatica gets to shortcut that process and suck the knowledge out of their ISVs like a vampire 🙂
All of this is great for the customer. Back to Amazon, I love using Amazon. I use it all the time. But working for Amazon or partnering with Amazon is another story.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming an ISV, I’m not saying not to do it. I’m just saying that you need to know what you’re getting into. This is not Sage or another legacy system that had very little development muscle and, as a result, respected the “turf” of the ISV ecosystem. Acumatica loves to build stuff, they love to take ideas and incorporate them into the core Acumatica product, and they won’t think twice about doing it.
Just be careful that you don’t wind up like Scanco, essentially watching your solution demoed in the Acumatica core product along with everyone else during a keynote 🙂