Seven weeks ago I started working for Acumatica. During the past seven weeks, I have been considering whether or not to continue posting on this blog.
I have a lot of ideas for posts (some written down, some in my head), but I wanted to see how the first seven weeks would go as an Acumatica employee before deciding whether or not to continue blogging here.
Here is what my Evernote blog post ideas document looks like at the moment:
- Power BI Top 5 Customers by Revenue
- Creating a data source based on ARTran
- Connecting to Power BI and adding a monthly bucket column, hardcoding the revenue account filter
- Add monthly filter and drilldown to item
- Top 5 mobile
- Add an alert if top 5 are more than 50% of total
- Power Update Introduction
- Mainly needed if you want a simple way to “mashup” with on-prem data sources
- Tableau Public map visualization of sales by state connected to OData
- Power Query Intro in Power BI Desktop
- Add custom calculated column -> PT/PC
- Data shaping (more than just rows and columns) – IT tools vs new Business tool called Power Query
- Doug Johnson SQL View vs Power Query
- Link to Miguel Escobar training course
- Power Pivot Intro and link to Rob course
- Chandoo dashboard stuff
- Why ERP summary tables are obsolete
- Talk about the experience with a CFO where he was using a report based on summary tables and they didn’t have enough detail when he wanted to slice and dice
- Power BI lets you filter or pivot on anything you want. You don’t get handcuffed. You are free to ask whatever questions you want about your data.
- Talk about pivoting with Power Query, basically on-the-fly summary tables
- What lurks behind CSV?
- What is CSV and why does it exist?
- Rob Collie’s comment that most of his engagements are sourced from legacy CSV files
- ERP (French) and Excel (Chinese)
- Until now, you had to hire a translator named CSV
- Acumatica decided to go out and learn how to speak Chinese (OData)
- Acumatica Reporting – Where to Start?
- Graphic with Report Designer logo and arrows to “no options”
- Graphic with Excel logo and arrows to Power BI, Office 365, Power Update, Report Designer
- Excel is the best prototyping tool and many times good enough for the end user
- Acumatica and Microsoft are a winning combination
- I noted a while back that Acumatica is aligned with Microsoft while NetSuite is aligned with Oracle.
- Since Satya took over the reigns at Microsoft, they have sped ahead with their technology. So much so that NetSuite recently ditched Amazon for Microsoft Azure.
- Of course, it pays to go with Acumatica which allows you to deploy with SaaS or on Azure, Amazon, 3rd party hosting, or on-premise.
- Simple, low-powered devices that display location-relevant KPI metrics throughout an office:
- Steve Jobs design of Apple headquarters intentionally to help people run into each other and interact
- The importance of collaborative working space and displaying relevant information throughout a three dimensional environment, not just on a screen in a cubicle
- The danger of the all-in-one remote or the cell phone screen that does too many things
- The reliability of the digital stadium scoreboard being due to it’s fixed geographical location and that it only delivers one piece of information and delivers it well (without the interruption of commercials like on the jumbotron)
- The human brain’s ability to remember things based on their geographical context
- Binary vs Analog
- Human beings will always be analog
- Implementing ERP is more about the analog side of things than the binary side of things
- FRx and multiple data source reporting
- Remodeling vs building from scratch
- Building up vs tearing down
- There are two philosophies: fit your business to the ERP software or fit the ERP software to your business
- Pick a product that can meet your current needs or pick a product that can conform to your current and future needs
- Acumatica and the SSRS Rumor
- Bye bye paper
- Paper separates Gen X from Millennials
- Living Information vs Information Corpses
- Almost want to replace the word Report with the phrase “Information Delivery Vehicle” (IDV)
- Organic, biological, static, inorganic, DNA
- The unchangeable trust factor: why paper lives on
- Paper is illicit, like cash to a drug dealer
- I still use paper occasionally, not because I’m old but because I’m human. Human beings are analog, not digital, beings.
- Democrats vs Republicans and Domo vs Excel
- Are we destined for 50/50?
- Does this same debate apply to Hosted vs On-Premise
- Waterfall Income Statement
- A Pivot Table Income Statement
- My Story (Part 1)
- Started at Deloitte and Touche in audit. Clients always had trouble pulling information from their systems to give to us in a usable format.
- Serendipitously landed in ERP in 2005 where I learned SQL and how to pull whatever information I wanted out of the system. A dream come true!
- I eventually was introduced to the world of Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, and Data Discovery tools. So much better than Crystal reports!
- My Story (Part 2)
- From “focus on tools” to “focus on people”. The real Business Intelligence is people. Reports don’t make decisions, people make decisions.
- From working with reporting tools that were like “working with concrete” to those that were like “working with clay”
- From focusing on “how to” geeky technical nuances to philosophical musings which is how we got to where we are today with this website
- The importance of numbers
- The numbers themselves tell a story: Height, Weight, Age, Grade Point Average, Batting Average, Salary, Annual Revenue, Headcount, Outside Temperature. All of these numbers paint a picture and tell a story.
- Data viz is the cherry on top, not the ice cream sundae.
- The importance of data visualization
- The importance of infographics
- Trust – The foundation of enterprise reporting
- A number queried directly from the ERP system versus a number from the Excel spreadsheet on a VP’s laptop. The VP’s laptop will always win because there is a greater level of trust.
- Report Designer MICR
- Dynamically splitting the GL segment using Power Query in Excel
- Integrating Power BI tiles into Acumatica screens
- Building ERP-specific visualizations with D3 and the Power BI open framework
- Why Power BI makes sense for Mid-market ERP consulting firms
- Zero price barrier to entry for clients
- Allows you to have a conversation with EVERY SINGLE ONE of your clients, not just the big spenders
- Easy to prove massive value in a short amount of time
- Most clients are already reporting in Excel, the BI Trojan Horse (at least to some extent).
So, ya, have a lot of ideas for future blog posts.
However, after a lot of careful consideration, I have decided to hit the pause button.
Things are much busier at Acumatica than they were at my last job and I just don’t have the time or energy at the moment to continue blogging. I really want to, but I’m just not able to at this time.
When I started work at Acumatica, I also started going to the gym again (it’s been a while), in the morning before work, and I LOVE it. If I were to continue late night blogging, it would kill my morning gym time and I’m just not willing to give it up.
In order to hit the gym in the morning, I have to go to bed at a reasonable time (10ish to 10:30ish). Basically I get home, play with the kids for a little bit, help put them to bed (a long process), and then it’s time for me to go to bed.
So, that’s it. Things will go quiet here on the blog.
I might pick it up again at some point in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s a shame because there are many, many exciting things going on with Power BI and I would have loved to tie them in with Acumatica and the world of ERP. I firmly believe that paper-based reports will continue to give way to reports on your laptop screen, on your phone, or on the tv monitor in the conference room. Power BI is in a great position to deliver these kinds of reports and Acumatica is in a great position to feed Power BI with the kind of ERP data it needs to be valuable.
Blogging was a very fun hobby for me and I have enjoyed it very much. Regarding hobbies, I have always liked Mark Twain’s explanation of a hobby in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:
If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.
If I were a wealthy gentleman in England, then I would probably continue blogging about Acumatica and Power BI.
But, I’m not.
I will focus instead on hitting the gym in the morning, keeping up with my new job responsibilities, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by over the last two years.
It’s been fun.
Tomorrow, September 17th, I will become an employee of Acumatica, filling the ERP Solutions Consultant position in the Columbus, OH office.
Acumatica has been a fun side project / hobby for me since April 30th, 2013. But I’m happy that I will now be working with it full-time. Of course, I’m also happy that I will now be getting paid too 🙂
Am I Excited?
I had a great time on vacation in Southern California the past two weeks.
We visited my side of the family in San Diego, then we stayed in San Diego for a few more days for my brother-in-law’s wedding. The wedding was in Mission Beach so we rented a beach house right on the boardwalk and stayed with my wife’s siblings and their kids. We had 8 adults and 8 kids in the house and it was a blast. Here we are eating dinner in the living room with the extended family:
No post this week. We’re back home in Southern California for a wedding and to visit family.
I’m looking forward to see what news comes out of the annual Acumatica Partner Summit which takes place this week in Denver, Colorado.
Acumatica has taken a very aggressive marketing approach over the past couple of years with some crazy stunts, but I guess that’s what you do when you are a small company looking for recognition. Last week at Sage Summit, the annual Sage conference in the US, Acumatica once again took an “in your face” approach by offering free coffee at the event.
This time, however, Sage fought back. Here is the news as told by Bob Scott:
I was planning to do a post this week on the email features in Acumatica, but the announcement by Lebron James last Friday was such HUGE news here in Cleveland that I thought this post would be better. I’ll pickup the email features post next week. [Read more…]
Personally, I don’t like what Larry Flynt stands for and I don’t think that the empire he built is anything to be proud of. But, he does have a recognizable name and I thought it was interesting that his company appears to be using Acumatica. At least that’s what I gather from the job that was posted today on Indeed.com.
The first part of the job description makes it clear that it’s a position at Flynt Management Group:
Bob Scott recently released his 2014 Top 100 VARs. This is an annual listing of the top mid-market ERP resellers (based on annual revenue) which gives you a very good idea of which mid-market ERP products are the most popular.
Regarding the top 100 VARs, the cloud products aren’t yet dominating the list, but they are definitely gaining traction: [Read more…]
Sergey reminds us that Acumatica supports the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server (2014). This is the kind of stuff that you get when you go with a modern ERP platform like Acumatica. They support other modern tools like the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server. For those who don’t know what Microsoft SQL Server is, it’s the engine that powers most of the mid-market ERP systems. SAP and Oracle (the top ERP systems) have their own database engines, but most everyone else uses Microsoft SQL Server to store their data.
I’m trying out a new WordPress Theme here on the blog which will hopefully make things look a little nicer both on computers and on mobile devices.
A few months ago, Christian Lindberg posted about Acumatica and the Millennial Generation (formerly known as Generation Y).
It reminded me of the Esurance commercials, “born on the web, raised by technology” (click here). I like his point that “Acumatica’s technology was built from scratch in the millennial years.” Acumatica is not an older product getting a Facelift or a Botox injection.
Acumatica was born less than 10 years ago: it’s brand new. Yes, that means it isn’t as mature as the older ERP products out there, but it does have the strength and vigor of youth, born in an age where computer applications are built for web browsers, not for operating systems.
I barely squeaked into the millennial generation (I was born in 1981). So, I’m old enough to have had early childhood years full of playing outside (year-round since I grew up in San Diego). We rode bikes and roller blades, played roller hockey and football in the street, and played baseball in an old neighborhood dirt lot using a ball made of old socks and duct tape. We went camping, fishing, played in the sand at the beach during the Summer, played in the snow in the mountains during the Winter, and generally went around without wearing any socks or shoes. [Read more…]
Sergey has a new post up about how to reuse a project lookup field. I don’t really understand all the code, but I do understand that he is adding a project lookup field to a screen that didn’t have a project lookup field. And, in order to do this, he is taking the code from an existing screen. Also, there is something about this being possible in the latest version of Acumatica (version 4.2). Again, I don’t completely understand what is going on here, but it’s encouraging to see that you can add a project lookup field to a screen that didn’t have one before. I would LOVE to be able to do this in Sage 500 ERP, but, alas, it’s not possible unless we were to pay tens of thousands of dollars to buy the source code. It’s definitely much simpler in Acumatica.
I’m pretty much done going through the archives on Zaletskyy’s blog (click here). Going forward though, I’d like to continue to highlight interesting posts as he makes them available. Here is a recent one regarding Acumatica and Microsoft Visual Studio. Personally, I prefer to focus on the power user features rather than the super geeky technical stuff, but there is definitely the need to “open the hood” if you need to do some serious customization and that’s what Microsoft Visual Studio offers you. The nice thing about Microsoft Visual Studio is that it’s a very popular development tool which a lot of developers are already familiar with. This is a further illustration of the Microsoft Stack point that I’ve mentioned before (click here).
Christian Lindberg has a new post up about the Acumatica Cloud XRP platform. I’m not really sure if this is anything new or if it is just a new marketing way of describing the Acumatica platform that has always existed. This press release seems to indicate that it is indeed something new, but I’m still not sure. It will be interesting to hear more about this as time goes on.
This post is just a random thought about Acumatica and a historical event that I remember learning about as a kid. I remember learning about the “Golden Spike” in my American history class when I was in high school. The “Golden Spike” is the ceremonial final spike which was driven to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869 in the Utah Territory (click here for the Wikipedia article).
There are a few things about this historical event that stand out to me: [Read more…]
Continuing my stroll through Zaletskyy’s archives (click here), here is another interesting post. I live in the United States, so the payment module for a Ukrainian bank isn’t going to be that useful to me, but what caught my attention is that Zaletskyy is posting free code! This really is consistent with the kind of collaborative atmosphere that Acumatica has fostered by creating an open platform and encouraging developers to do interesting things with it. This is contrary to the exclusive closed door private club experience that NetSuite offers. With Acumatica it’s more like an open door party with free drinks in the fridge, a barbecue out back by the pool, and an inviting “welcome” mat at the front door.
Continuing my stroll through Zaletskyy’s archives (click here), here is another cool post about Active Directory integration in Acumatica. Active Directory is the Microsoft feature that allows an application to know who you are so you don’t have to setup a separate login with yet another password that you have to remember. If you setup Active Directory integration in Acumatica, all you have to do is login to your computer in the morning and you’re good to go. When you go to use Acumatica, you don’t have to login because it already knows who you are!
I recently discovered Yuriy Zaletskyy’s blog (click here). He is a developer and writes about Acumatica from a technical perspective. I took some time and skimmed through all of his posts. For the next few weeks I’m going to highlight the ones that I found interesting.
For this week, here is a post about how to create a brand new screen in Acumatica. This is over my head right now, but I hope to come back to this post in the future and get comfortable with it so I can create my own screens in Acumatica when the situation calls for it. Anyways, check out the post:
Sergey has a great post up about Acumatica branch security. Branches are a part of the multi-company setup configuration strategy in Acumatica (click here). The nice thing about branches is that they aren’t just accounting buckets because they also carry security along with them. So you can have multiple locations or business units and you can keep your users from seeing things outside of their respective location or business unit. It seems to me that situations which used to required you to setup multiple companies in older ERP applications only require you to setup multiple branches in Acumatica which allows you to keep things nicely organized in one company.
Sergey also touches on Multitenancy. I only learned recently that the SaaS version of Acumatica supports Multitenancy (click here). If you’re like I was when I first heard this, you’re probably saying, “what’s Multitenancy?” I think it’s a pretty new word because my spell checker doesn’t even recognize it (maybe I need to add a dash?). If you want to know more, this Wikipedia article on Multitenancy is helpful to get you up to speed (click here). As I see it, you have to be pretty confident about your security setup if you’re going to offer customers Multitenancy. Acumatica must be confident!
Anyways, click below for Sergey’s post:
Jean Gea has a new post up on the Acumatica blog with a nice simple overview of how multi-company works in Acumatica. I blogged about this last year after taking the F300 Inter-Company Accounting (V3.0) course (cilck here). It looks like what they used to call companies, they are now calling entities. Acumatica is definitely in a good position to appeal to companies with multiple distinct business units because of how easy it is to deploy web-based technology and because of the strong multi-language support that Acumatica offers.
Sergey gives us a tip on how to overcome the basic authentication error that you get when you try to refresh an exported Excel file over a connection that is not using SSL. This is a common occurrence when you are giving a demonstration of Acumatica because there is a high likelihood that you won’t be using a secure server for the demo.
Sergey’s post interests me because it’s related to the Excel Export feature in Acumatica. I have also been interested in this feature recently and have been trying to find a better way (click here) to pipe Acumatica data into Excel. While Sergey’s post doesn’t solve my current problem, it does comfort me to know that others are interested in this feature too.
Acumatica has a new blog post up. I really like this post because I didn’t know that such a matrix ranking even existed for mid-market ERP products. This is good stuff! I downloaded the entire 13 page report and read it very carefully. The report includes a write-up on each vendor included in the matrix.
A few of my random thoughts:
Sergey has a new post up about how to access your Acumatica database from outside your network. This is interesting to me because I’m currently experimenting with making Excel reports that point directly to the Acumatica database (click here). Sergey’s trick would be needed if these kinds of reports were to be implemented in a production environment.
Richard Duffy put together a nice video about how to publish your implementation of Acumatica as a Google Chrome App. This isn’t anything fancy from a technology standpoint, but I think that it provides a nice user experience and has the “cool factor” which is very important.
I personally am a big fan of using Google Chromebooks (click here) for internal training. It’s very easy to bring a stack of ten Google Chromebooks into a conference room, setup a projector for sharing your screen, and conduct a simple one hour training session. It makes it easy to have training sessions on a regular (maybe weekly) basis. If you had to carry in ten computers, ten computer monitors, ten keyboards, and ten computer mice then you would be much less likely to conduct regular training sessions. The other advantage is the cost. I just checked Amazon.com and they are selling Google Chromebooks for $250 (click here) which is very reasonable.
Google Chromebooks make it easy for you to conduct simple regular training sessions in your organization and regular training sessions are very important to ensuring a successful Acumatica implementation.
Here is the video from Richard:
I discovered yet another Acumatica blog out there. This is great for the Acumatica community.
Zaletskyy has a great post about what the screen IDs mean in Acumatica. I did a post a while ago about how great screen IDs are (click here), but I didn’t realize that there was a method to the numbering.
Acumatica has a blog post up about what differentiates Acumatica from the other cloud ERP options out there:
It has been almost a year since I started this blog and I wanted to revisit what I mean and what I don’t mean by the PAL acronym (Perpetual Acumatica Learner).
My first post on the topic of PAL (I called it APAL at the time) was mainly to describe the difference between a learner and an expert.
However, recently I was feeling pressure from the word “perpetual” because I haven’t been spending enough time to learn Acumatica. I was beginning to think that I shouldn’t call myself a Perpetual Acumatica Learner anymore if I wasn’t spending every waking hour on Acumatica learning.
But, it’s just not possible to be learning Acumatica all the time. My wife and I have two kids, a mortgage, and a car payment. I also have a full-time job during the day. So, it’s just not possible to be learning Acumatica all the time.
What is possible is to always approach Acumatica as a learner. That I can do.
So, I am comfortable to call myself a Perpetual Acumatica Learner. When you are a learner, there are no such things as stupid questions or dumb ideas. Every time I sit down at my computer to spend time with Acumatica, my goal is simply to come away having learned something new.
It doesn’t matter to me where I am in the learning process and it doesn’t matter how fast I am learning. Others may pickup things faster than me and require less time to learn a new thing like Acumatica. But, when I spend time to learn Acumatica, I am simply content to have learned something new.
I am determined to take the approach of a tortoise.
So what about you?
If you are also learning Acumatica, I hope that you will also take the way of a Perpetual Acumatica Learner.
Even if you somehow reach a point where you know everything there is to know about Acumatica, there will always be different ways to apply that knowledge because every company is different. That is what makes the ERP world so interesting.
There is no such thing as a standard cookie-cutter implementation. Every company has unique requirements and many times those unique requirements are what give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
You may find yourself in a company that is implementing Acumatica and you are afraid of all the changes that are taking place. Don’t be afraid, just do your best to make progress, one step at a time.
You can ignore all the fast-talkers and those who try to make it seem like they know everything even when they don’t.
Just keep your head up and know that you are not the only one on this Acumatica learning journey. There are others out there and there will be more and more as Acumatica gains popularity.
I still have a lot to learn about Acumatica and I hope that will never change. No matter how much I learn, I will always realize that there is more to learn.
So, it’s time to settle into a nice long marathon pace and continue on as a Perpetual Acumatica Learner. Who’s with me?
Sergei has a nice post up on geeky hardware recommendations. This is especially useful if you are running Acumatica on-premise.
Here is a good article pointing out that the cloud hype hasn’t reached the ERP world yet and maybe never will. Acumatica is positioned for this by allowing their customers to buy and host Acumatica on-premise. NetSuite, on the other hand, only allows the SaaS option.
This reminds me of the Western Digital commercial that I posted a link to a few months ago:
Sergey has a nice post up about creating separate numbering sequences for data that is being imported from other systems like Oracle, etc.
Jon Roskill, the new CEO at Acumatica, posted something on the Acumatica website:
There are two things that he said which stood out to me that I completely agree with and have noticed about Acumatica since I have been following it for about a year now: [Read more…]
This week I put together a document called Case For Ending Sage 500 Maintenance (click the link to see the PDF document). My company currently pays a very sizable sum of money every year to Sage for the privilege of upgrading to the latest version of Sage 500 ERP. In recent years, however, it has become apparent that this money would be better spent on other things.
In contrast, each new version of Acumatica is providing substantial new features. Even the upcoming release of the lowly version 4.11 is full of many new features (the number of the version suggests that version 4.11 is supposed to be only slightly better than the current version 4.1 and significantly less “cool” than version 5.0 which is due this Summer).
I would gladly recommend that my company pay maintenance on Sage 500 ERP if it continued to deliver substantial new features like Acumatica.
It looks like Acumatica will be adding a customer portal:
This is good news. Customers will now have access to Acumatica University which has become a great repository of Acumatica learning material.
Also, this is another logical step in the direction of Acumatica becoming an ERP provider that is here to stay.
One of my favorite features in Sage 500 is Business Insights Explorer. Recently though, I was pleased to discover that Acumatica has a similar feature.
Each module in Acumatica has an Explore section in the Work Area area. For example, in the Accounts Payable module, there are five menu options available in the Explore section: Vendor Summary, Vendor Details, Bills Pending Payments, Checking Pending Printing, and 1099 Year Summary.
However, you have the option to add your own menu options using the Generic Inquiry feature located at System -> Customization -> Manage -> Generic Inquiry.
Just create a title for your inquiry and fill out the tabs on the bottom. I’m going to create a simply list of vendor invoices by filling out the following information in the Generic Inquiry screen:
As long as you fill out the Site Map Location and Site Map Title fields, your new custom inquiry should be available on the Acumatica menu like this (after you save it of course):
In my Vendor Invoices inquiry, you can now just input a beginning and ending invoice date, then click the Refresh icon, and the list of invoices will appear in the grid below. Since Acumatica knows what each field is, it makes the file attachment and record note icons available for each record in the grid. It also gives you a hyperlink on the Reference Nbr. and Vendor fields which allows you to click the link and automatically be taken to the actual invoice or vendor screens.
In conclusion, this is a very flexible and powerful feature that allows you to create data inquiry screens on the Acumatica menu that are customized to fit your company’s specific business needs.
It seems like everything that we hear about these days in the IT arena is focused on the cloud. Of course, Acumatica can be run in the cloud and even was the first ERP application to be available for the Windows Azure cloud.
However, I think that we will see the cloud burst at some point, or at least have a hole punched in it. Why?
- People still own houses and cars. We don’t all rent and we don’t all lease our cars. If you have a long-term view, there is an economic advantage to owning a house or a car. I think that there is also an advantage to owning your own digital real estate. Now, of course, the cloud makes sense if you have a smaller scale need, but there are economies of scale associated with technology, just like with anything else.
- The cloud bubble has to burst or at least have a hole poked in it at some point. The dot com bubble and the recent housing bubble are good examples of bubbles that burst. I also think that our society is increasingly susceptible to bubbles because of the flash mob mentality related to trends. The news cycle has shortened, the “what’s cool in school” fads are more short lived, and the well-thought-out research paper gets passed over for the 60 second sound bite. All this creates more frenzy around bubbles.
Eventually, when the cloud hype begins to wane and people return to common sense, Acumatica will still be positioned to accommodate them. You can start in the cloud, but bring Acumatica on-premise when you become large enough. Then, if your company downsizes or your business unit breaks off on its own and you’re small again, you can take Acumatica back into the cloud. Bottom line, it’s nice to have both options.
One of the reasons that I like posting videos that are zoomed in (rather than showing my entire computer monitor) is that I like consuming content on my iPhone while I’m on the go. I like listening to the Tech Tuesday series on the Acumatica University site, but I don’t like that the video portion is showing the full screen of a computer monitor because it makes it impossible to watch on my iPhone. In the case of Tech Tuesdays, I don’t think there is an alternative because they need to show the entire screen due to the large amount of information being conveyed (it works out though because I can listen on my phone while mowing the lawn without being tempted to watch the video). However, in other cases, it’s nice to be able to view the video on a phone. The point is, learning ERP on a phone is nice. You can learn while at the gym, while driving (audio only of course), taking a walk, mowing the lawn, etc.
This week I discovered two new ways to learn ERP stuff on my phone.
The first is a Podcast from a guy named Rick Nielsen. He has insightful things to say about implementing ERP. The Podcast is called Implement ERP FAST! and it’s available in the Podcast app on the iPhone.
The second thing I discovered is that I can listen to the new book on Data Warehousing that I downloaded to my Kindle app. I always knew that I could read books on the Kindle app, but I didn’t realize that I can listen to them too. The key is to use the iPhone VoiceOver feature by going to Settings -> General Accessibility -> VoiceOver and turning the feature off. In the new iOS 7, you can even make a shortcut to turning this feature on and off by going to Settings -> General Accessibility -> Accessibility Shortcut. When the feature is on, all you have to do is go to your Kindle app and swipe down with two fingers on the iPhone.
I didn’t realize until reading this article today that NetSuite is so aligned with Oracle.
“A pioneer in the SaaS (software as a service) market, NetSuite has Ellison as an investor. Its software has typically run on the Oracle stack including the database.”
I don’t know that much about NetSuite, but this article helped me further differentiate between Acumatica and NetSuite. I already knew the following differences:
- Priced per user (NetSuite) vs. Unlimited users (Acumatica)
- SaaS option only (NetSuite) vs. SaaS and on-premise options (Acumatica)
- Forced upgrades (NetSuite) vs. Upgrade on your own schedule (Acumatica)
But, now I can add a new item to the list:
- Oracle Stack (NetSuite) vs. Microsoft Stack (Acumatica)
I definitely prefer the Microsoft stack. Microsoft knows business applications: SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange, Lync, Word, Excel (with Power BI), PowerPoint, Project, Visio, Access, etc. They may not be the most powerful products in the market, but they are the easiest to use. You will always find an army of Microsoft professionals available because Microsoft understands the people side of software. It’s not just about the software, it’s about people using the software. Oracle has a good database product, but nothing beats Microsoft when it comes to the stack.
Props to Acumatica for going with the Microsoft stack.
I thought I should make a post with short explanation of the term ERP.
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. It is a term that was coined by Lee Wylie at Gartner in 1990 as an extension of the term MRP (Material Requirements Planning). While MRP focusses on inventory ordering and supply chain management, ERP encompases the entire organization.
I use the term ERP to refer to any system that includes the accounting data. So, I even consider Quickbooks to be an ERP system. However, SAP or Acumatica are better examples of ERP. A true ERP system covers a lot more than accounting, such as:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- General Ledger
- Cash Management
- Accounts Payable
- Accounts Receivable
- Internal Accounting
- Overhead Cost Allocation
- Fixed Assets
- Sales Orders
- Purchase Orders
- Bar Coding
- Bills of Material
- Work Orders
- Shop Capacity Scheduling
- Quality Control
- Product Life-Cycle Management
- Human Resources
- Project Management / Contract Management
- Resource Planning
- EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) interfaces with customers and vendors for automatic ordering
- Customer and Vendor self-service portals
I currently work for an engineering/logistics/manufacturing company in Cleveland, OH. We use Sage 500 ERP and I am part of a team of four dedicated to customizing the product, writing reports, analyzing data, etc. Bottom line: I don’t have a working installation of Acumatica.
I was able to connect with A Really Cool VAR (ARCVAR). They are going to help me get the product installed and get me access to the training material. In exchange, I will help produce training documentation for them. I am at a disadvantage since I will be working in a more theoretical environment, but at least I have something to get my hands on.
Props to ARCVAR for going along with my unorthodox proposal. For now I’m going to keep their identity a secret. That way I can write whatever I want without incriminating them.
That said, please note that everything written on this site is from ME ONLY. NOTHING here represents the views of Acumatica or ARCVAR.
An expert (ANEXPERT for short) is a person who has a lot of experience in the ERP arena, but they consider their experience to be a complete body of work. They often begin their introductions by touting their decades of experience. A person might not even realize that they consider themselves to be ANEXPERT. However, you can usually tell by their tone of voice and body language.
The problem with ANEXPERT is not the amount of knowledge that they have. The problem is with their mindset. Their vast amount of knowledge could be helpful if they were a PAL, but, instead, it hinders them because they are not adopting a learner’s mindset.
Every company is unique. When you bring someone in to look at your business, you are hiring a professional learner who will study your unique situation. If you hire ANEXPERT, you risk getting a cookie cutter ERP implementation that is pulled out of that person’s prior project archive and dusted off to look like something new for your company.
So what do I mean by a Perpetual Acumatica Learner (APAL for short)?
Perpetual can be defined as: “never ending or changing”
This blog will approach Acumatica from a learner’s perspective. Currently, I hardly know anything about Acumatica. However, as time goes on and I acquire more and more Acumatica knowledge, I might be tempted to fall into the mindset of ANEXPERT. This is dangerous. Even the most seasoned ERP veterans should always maintain a learner’s mindset.
APAL never arrives, but is always on a journey. It defines a mindset more than defining a person. Be careful, you might be in APAL mindset one minute, but quickly slip into ANEXPERT mindset the next. This blog is an attempt to maintain and promote the mindset of APAL.
So, APAL is a constant reminder to me that I want to remain a perpetual Acumatica learner, never ending, never changing, always hungry for more.