Mid-market Business Technology Trends and the ERP Vendor Response

Posted by James on October 19, 2016 at 10:31 AM
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Deloitte recently published findings from their fourth annual Growth Enterprise Services survey that polled 500 mid-market executives (i.e. executives from companies with annual revenues ranging from $100 million to over $1 billion). The objective of the survey was to investigate the perceived role of technology in this business stratum and gauge how those perceptions influence decisions. You can read a summary of the findings here and even download the nitty-gritty results, but what follows are the highlights and what they might mean for companies in that range looking for an Enterprise Resource Planning solution.

  • Spending on technology is accelerating, with 54% of respondents saying that their companies are expending more on technology this year than last. Twenty-eight percent claim that those expenses are more than five percent of revenue.
  • The top reason prompting these increases in spending is heightened productivity. Broken out, the technology categories seen as most likely to spur gains look like this:
  • Thirty-six percent of responding executives indicate that managing cyber-security and information risk is their top priority when it comes to technology, and 61% say implementation of new security processes is the most important aspect of cyber-security spending.

In summary, mid-market companies working hard to stay relevant are growing more sophisticated about technology. As a result, they are looking for value in mobile marketing strategies, data analytics tools, Cloud computing solutions, and, perhaps above all, Enterprise Resource Planning systems that have attained a new plateau of maturity.

Or well...at least some of them have reached that level.

As diginomica's Jon Reed pointed out a few weeks back in his analysis of the Acumatica 6 launch event, "Hosted pseudo-cloud solutions and lipstick-on-an-architectural-pig releases are the norm" in the ERP world. In other words, numerous, longtime ERP manufacturers keep trying to "modernize" their legacy offerings with fancy, browser-look-a-like user interfaces while leaving their inner-workings essentially unchanged. In a moment when integration into the larger technological ecosystem seems paramount for growth, this lack of genuine adaptability only serves to further saddle mid-market businesses with a landscape of siloed systems. Instead, pioneering ERP software requires dynamic, open architecture which facilitates broad, vertical integration. Unfortunately, most of the manufacturers that are making legitimate such advances under the hood, like Netsuite and SAP, also have their sights set on big business and have all but abandoned the mid-market sector by pricing themselves out of an affordable range.

Given this backdrop, strategies that support technologies aimed at mid-market businesses become all the more relevant. Interestingly, Acumatica's principles for growing together with mid-market companies, as outlined by Reed, meshes well with the ERP-related needs expressed in Deloitte's survey.

  • Mid-market demand for ERP solutions is accelerating as more businesses join the field looking for ways to gain a competitive edge.
  • Mid-market companies are more complex today, and they require increasingly sophisticated solutions.
  • Businesses need to interact with not one cloud but many interrelated clouds. Any cloud-based technology that can’t easily integrate with other vendors’ clouds compromises value.
  • Companies need a hub around which all other tech-entities orbit, and a forward-thinking ERP system should be equipped to serve as that central system-of-record.
  • The days of one giant, horizontal ERP application are over. Mid-market companies need to harness vertical solutions in order to remain nimble in the marketplace.

The launch of Acumatica 6 furnishes proof that the company is taking strides towards enhancing mid-market business technology. New features in this version include:

  • Outlook Add-in for Acumatica CRM: From within Microsoft Outlook, you can now look up a given sender in your CRM database without having to leave the email application. Moreover, you can view any history that you’ve had with this particular sender. If the system can’t find your contact in CRM, you can mark it as a lead, opportunity, or create them as a contact. All of these capabilities allow productivity to be less hindered than ever.
  • Flexible Dashboards with Enhanced Analytics: Acumatica has offered a sophisticated business intelligence toolset for some time now. These data interpretation features empower companies to work efficiently and reach objectives across the organization. Now, the self-service dashboards and integration to pivot tables lifts data manipulation and analysis to the next level.
  • REST API with Web Services: The ability to integrate in the most friendly manner possible is, perhaps, Acumatica's greatest strength. As additional cloud systems float up over the horizon, Acumatica has put the functionality in place to allow rapid building of interconnectivity. Adaptability is the future of cloud computing, and Acumatica remains at the forefront of those efforts for mid-market companies.

If you're a mid-market company, leave us a comment and let us know if the Deloitte survey reflects your technology needs. And if you see the emergence of cloud computing as something your company needs to address, contact us and let us know how we can help.

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Topics: Cloud ERP, Business Technology

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