Welcome to another AUG Blog Audio Post located at augforums.com that A-U-G-F-O-R-U-M-S dot com. You can find this specific audio post at augforums.com/episode2. That’s audio post and the number two.
This is your host, Tim Rodman, coming to you live on Thursday November 7th, 2019, from Columbus, Ohio, where it was pretty rainy today and expecting snow tonight. In this audio post, we are going to be talking about the Acumatica 2019 R2 launch series.
I actually attended the final event in Columbus, Ohio, right here in town, which took place earlier today, here on November 7th. All total, there were 11 events across the country. They started off in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 11th. Then Philadelphia; Dallas; Bellevue, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Anaheim, California; Atlanta; Orlando, Florida; Chicago; New York; and finishing off here in Columbus. Now I heard that actually the Columbus event was supposed to be last Thursday on October 31st, but I think the parents complained that they wanted to be trick-or-treating with their kids, so I think that’s why they postponed it a week and we finished up here today on November 7th.
So what I saw in the Columbus event today: First of all, we got a Jon Roskill appearance, which is pretty cool. Of course, Jon Roskill is the CEO of Acumatica. And he doesn’t go to all of these events, so I thought it was pretty cool that we got him here in Columbus. And I think it probably helps that Acumatica has an office here, so he got to visit that office, I’m sure, while he was in town. And he kicked off the presentation, just said a few words. One thing he mentioned that caught my attention was that there were over 2,000 people across all the launch events across the country. Now, what I didn’t catch is if he said 2,000 attendees, or specifically 2,000 customers and prospects. I don’t remember for sure, but we know at least 2,000 people across the country. And then he handed it off to Todd Kuhns, who runs the Columbus, Ohio office.
What I like to do during these types of presentations is I will take pictures of every slide and jot down some notes. And, for whatever reason, it’s easiest for me to do it on Twitter. So I just take it on my phone, tweet the picture with a little note about the picture, and then afterwards I roll it up into a blog post, just putting all the tweets together. And that way, if something catches your attention – you want to click in and see the screenshot – then you can do that. So I’ll put a link to that blog post in the notes for this audio post.
But just to walk you through some of the things that stood out to me: First of all, there was a slide showing that Acumatica has 5,200+ customers. Now that was the same number we saw back in January, at the Summit. But they also did an animated video slide that had business cards or company logos. And they just kept landing on the screen very quickly, and eventually there was this big pile. So they were actually real Acumatica customer logos that were on those pictures. And who knows how many there were, it was hard to tell, it went on for quite a while, but there were a lot of cards. So it’ll be interesting to see… You know, my guess would be that they update the official customer account number for us at the Summit event coming up in Las Vegas.
Another slide I like is the Customer Bill of Rights. I think this has resonated with a lot of people. It’s one thing to talk about next generation software, it’s another thing to talk about how you treat your customers. And I think it’s a well done slide worth taking a look at. There’s one thing on there that always makes me chuckle, and that is there’s a maximum of 3% price increase. And, you know, if it was up to me, I’d probably want that number to be zero. But I guess, with other vendors, maybe it’s over 3%. So it’s worth pointing that out.
Next, there was a slide on the various Acumatica offices. One thing I thought was cool here was that the Columbus, Ohio office right here in town started with two people six years ago and they’re now up to 17 people. I actually used to work out of that office, the old office, they just moved into a new office space earlier this year, to accommodate their growth. And already they’re having to expand out of that office space. I thought that was a great sign that things continue to grow there. And then other offices across the world – of course, Seattle, Washington is the headquarters – there’s now a Portland, Oregon office, which I believe is a lot of the old Sage Timberline people who are now at Acumatica working on the Construction Edition. Of course, Timberline was headquartered out of that area. Then there’s a Mexico City office, which I believe at least originally started with the Field Service team of developers. Not sure where that’s at now, but they definitely have an office there in Mexico City. There’s also Montreal, Canada, where they run Montreal Labs. I think it’s primarily developers doing various things, including working on ISV certifications. And then there’s McLean, Virginia, the Washington DC area. That was actually the original office. Also an office in South Africa. Of course, Moscow, Russia, where my guess is the majority of Acumatica employees are developers in that office. And then finally Singapore. So a nice global list of offices. I’m sure with the recent acquisition this past summer you’re just gonna see that number continue to grow. I keep hearing things about Acumatica being able to utilize some of that IFS office space from their new sister company, IFS, out of Sweden.
Alright, a couple more things. I thought this was an interesting comment. I don’t think this had dawned on me, but Todd Kuhns mentioned that the R1 release, which comes out around the Summit (so we had 2019 R1 earlier this year), that release tends to be more OEM and more “visionary” (this is my terminology) kind of features, like enhancements to the platform and cool new low-code, no-code type of stuff; more of that kind of feature getting introduced. And then R2 (that was the event today, 2019 R2), that second release of the year, tends to be more specifically requested features from customers and partners. And that’s all primarily driven through the feedback.acumatica.com website. So I thought that was an interesting difference between – a very general difference of course – but between R1 and R2.
And speaking of the releases, I can’t remember who said this, but someone commented that there were over 600 pages of release notes, and not sure where that number came from because when I look at the release notes (I’ll put a link on the post here to the release notes so you can count yourself) I count 183 pages. So I’m not sure where the 600 came from, but still, 183 is pretty darn good. And I think with most people, including myself, in the Acumatica community, we just struggle to keep up with each new release. There’s just so many new features that continue to get introduced.
Now, I will say that it was an interesting experience for me this time. This was my third roadshow or launch event, this fall series, that I personally have been to. And I used to get really, really excited about all the new features. And I don’t know what it is, if I’m just getting numb to it, or I’m just expecting there to be a lot… I guess it’s good and bad. On the one hand, it’s not as exciting anymore. You’re kind of numb to all the new stuff. But I think it’s also good. You know, I was trying to think of an analogy. It sort of feels to me, like, when you’re getting in shape. You know, back in high school, I ran cross country. And in the summertime, that’s when you have to put in all your training. And at first, it’s hard just to run a couple miles. But eventually, the more you do it, the more you get in shape. And I feel like it’s that way with Acumatica a little bit. Especially when you’re coming from a legacy product, you’re just used to a much slower pace of the product evolving. It’s a much faster pace with Acumatica, and at first, it’s overwhelming. I’ve heard the term “feature fatigue” (my friend, Shawn Slavin used that phrase). You know that it’s easy to get exhausted by all the new features. But you know, on the other hand, I think the more you hang around, the more you hang in there, you start to get used to it, in a good way. And I think it’s kind of like getting in shape, you just get used to a new pace. And you just come to expect that things that you’re voting for on feedback.acumatica.com are going to get introduced into the product, and you just get more and more accustomed to the pace that Acumatica runs at. So that was an interesting personal experience for me. That was the first time where I felt comfortable at the event like I knew what to expect and I wasn’t completely blown away by the features, even though there continues to be a lot of new features that get released in each new version.
Now I will say my personal favorite feature in 2019 R2 is not a real fancy one at all, but it’s my personal favorite. From a practical standpoint, when Acumatica introduced their modern user interface (which I believe was in 2017 R2) they still kept the old user interface around. You could flip back and forth because they didn’t want to force the new user interface on people. And that wasn’t terrible that you could flip back and forth. Where there was a problem was specifically on the security screens, but really any screen where you had to add something to a menu. It was really confusing because it was a completely different structure with what they call the Classic User Interface. In 2019 R2, they finally completely eliminated the Classic User Interface. So for me personally, from a practical standpoint, it was so confusing when you had someone really only seeing the Modern User Interface on the front end, but then still having to learn the Classic User Interface behind the scenes, especially in the area of security. So from a practical standpoint, I like that feature the most. It’s completely gone now, and there’s just one User Interface. It’s got the Workspaces on the left hand side, and you see that same structure throughout the system.
We saw a demo with a bunch of new features, and some slides where they tried to cram as many features as they could on a slide. There’s just too many, you really have to go through the release notes to see them all.
And then we wrapped up the event with a Customer Fireside Chat. Jon Roskill got back on the stage and he moderated a little chat with three customers. It was interesting to hear their perspective on various questions, especially about what their experience was like going through their implementation and getting onto Acumatica.
So just to wrap it up, some overall impressions. Even though you’re blown away with these new features, release after release, I think you start to get used to it after a couple years. And I think one thing that helps is there’s a consistent cadence. We know we’ve got an R1 coming in January/February and an R2 coming in September/October. And at least it’s a consistent cycle, including the events themselves. I like that the Summit has consistently being at the end of January. These “Roadshows” or “Launch Events” (depending on what you like to call them) consistently come in the Fall, and I like that. You know, some software vendors keep moving around their events or keep changing the names of their conferences. And I like this consistent cadence of events with the Acumatica Summit at the end of January, then smaller Roadshow / Launch Events in the Fall.
Also, I continue to get an impression of steady growth with Acumatica. It doesn’t seem to be like a mushroom cloud – it’s definitely not stagnant – but just keeps building, they keep investing in the product, and the Acumatica product keeps growing. Lastly, that feedback.acumatica.com site got a couple of mentions by Todd Kuhns, and I’m really liking that we’re seeing Acumatica pay more and more attention to that. Of course, as the community grows, you have more people contributing suggestions, voting on suggestions, leaving comments, and there’s a lot of conversations happening there now, and we’re really seeing it drive the new features. So we can actually see now, especially in these R2 releases, that they are features that were specifically requested there on feedback.acumatica.com.
Alright, so it was a great event today, but I think for this audio post that’ll do it. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you on the next AUG Blog Audio Post. Take care.