I didn’t get a chance to write a review of Acumatica Summit 2018, but
I felt similarly after both the Summit last year and the Summit this year.
So here is my review for both Acumatica Summit 2018 and Acumatica Summit 2019.
When I was attending the world’s first Power BI User Group back in 2013 (click here), at one point Rob Collie called me “the skeptic” when I was responding to one of his questions.
Rob’s a sharp guy. It only took him a couple of meetings to figure out that I’m a skeptic. We all know how successful Power BI has turned out to be, yet I was still skeptical in the beginning.
So I’m not the kind of person to get that impressed by an event with all of the fluff and hoopla. I’m always skeptical.
It was easy to see at Acumatica Summit 2019 that things continue to get bigger and nicer and more expensive. The budget for the event is obviously growing, but that kind of thing doesn’t impress me that much.
But what impressed me the most about Acumatica Summit 2018 and Acumatica Summit 2019 was the “steady as she goes” approach on display. It seems to be the same approach that Acumatica as a company has been taking since they began in 2008.
If you think about it, it has really only been in the last 2-3 years that Acumatica has become embraced by the mainstream Midmarket ERP community. Before that, there was a lot of waiting to see whether Acumatica would survive.
It’s obvious to me that the waiting is over. Now the questions are, “how fast will Acumatica continue to grow” and “how big will Acumatica get”?
You could see that optimism on display at both Acumatica Summit 2018 in Nashville and Acumatica Summit 2019 in Houston.
But it’s the “steady as she goes” approach that I appreciate the most.
Evidence of that approach is the nice balance between being consistent and still continuing to impress with new things.
The format has been consistent. The Acumatica Summit is the last week in January. Monday and Tuesday mornings are the big keynotes. The Monday keynote is where most of the announcements are and the Tuesday keynote is where most of the demos are. Monday night is the big party.
The breakout sessions continue to provide a lot of substantive product content, mostly provided by Acumatica employees. By the way, my impression is that Acumatica brings over 50% of their employees to the summits every year. I could be wrong on the percentage, it’s just a guess, but it’s definitely a lot of people. That must be very expensive, but it’s a big reason why the summits have been so impressive.
I like having a consistent structure to the event, at the same time every year, and with the same overall schedule.
Compare the consistent Acumatica Summit approach which sees attendance continue to increase every year with the “roller coaster” Sage Summit approach which is wildly unpredictable from year to year.
But there are also a lot of new things.
It’s nice to attend an event that doesn’t feel stale. Within the “steady as she goes” framework is a flurry of exciting announcements and software demonstrations that could only come out of a product-focused company like Acumatica. It’s not “hot air”, but substantive “seeing is believing” features.
The new head of HR for Acumatica was interviewed on the Enterprise Software Podcast Episode 96 (click here). She points out that Acumatica gives the impression of being much larger than their 250 employee headcount. I completely agree. It just goes to show how hard those employees work and how much they are willing to push the envelope.
You can see that hard work on display during the keynotes with the new feature demos and in the breakout sessions. You can’t attend all the breakout sessions because they are simultaneous, but I’ve learned to go through the slide decks that are posted afterwards. There’s a lot of good content there.
We’re not just talking about ideas here. We’re talking about Acumatica product features that you didn’t even know existed because there are simply too many to cover in any reasonable amount of time.
The end of the Day 2 keynote with Ajoy is always interesting. Two years ago it was showcasing how Amazon Alexa can interface with Acumatica for voice-enabled ERP. Last year it was examples of machine learning being used by a current Acumatica customer to detect fraud. This year it was a flying drone onstage that performed warehouse physical counts and fed data into Acumatica.
So Acumatica continues to impress with new things. That’s for sure.
But what’s even more amazing is that there is only one product. This is a sentiment that I’ve heard from almost every new Acumatica partner, regardless of which partner channel they are coming from (Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Infor, Epicor, Macola, etc.). They keep having to pinch themselves to realize that, yes, there is only one Acumatica product.
You don’t have to wonder whether something being shown is available for “your” Acumatica product. That’s because everything is built in the same Acumatica Framework. There is no acquired technology with crappy integration points on display. Neither is there a competing set of disparate ERP products in a constant battle for R&D dollars. There is only one Acumatica product.
A great illustration of this was the demo that Doug Johnson gave (wearing a cowboy hat) of the new WMS functionality in the Acumatica mobile app. The Acumatica mobile app is not a separate application. It runs within the Acumatica Framework. Anything that you build within the Acumatica Framework (including the regular Acumatica product) can be enabled for the mobile app with some light WSDL code. Mobile is not a separate coding effort with Acumatica. So the new WMS functionality is not a separate thing. It’s part of the standard Acumatica mobile app.
I can’t really say that I’m “looking forward” to the Summit next year. I’m still trying to digest what I saw this year and put it to use in the real world.
Acumatica announced that they are now at 5,200 customers. It seems that they’ve added 1,000 customers every year the past few years.
Does the pace need to increase? Not as far as I’m concerned. I’d love to just see Acumatica continue to execute on existing commitments. I’m not sure I could handle a faster pace without getting completely dizzy.
So, looking forward, I’m expecting to continue to see the “steady as she goes” approach. Organic growth, execution on demoed prototype features, and an “always growing” annual Summit that continues to showcase the hottest Midmarket ERP product on the planet.