It’s tempting to get caught up in the hype and enthusiasm when being exposed to a young, energetic and enthusiastic software company. Since I was involved in the technical track of the Acumatica Partner Summit, I will do my best to avoid that and stick to the technical issues. (This coming from a pioneer of the Great Plains Dynamics days with many of the 1990’s scars to show for it.)
My top 5 technical takeaways from the two days of ‘awareness’ and three days of intense product training are as follows:
- User Interface: This product has a number of innovative features as far as the User Interface (UI) is concerned. My favorite is being able to move or suppress fields in grids throughout the system. Each user is able to choose which fields (columns) they want to see — and in which order. With the newest release (4.1) the user can sort and filter by multiple columns easily. From a sales standpoint, showing this to any Dynamics GP user or prospect could pretty much clinch the deal.
- Custom Report design This part of the Report Designer program is extremely robust and fairly intuitive for any consultants or users with Crystal Reports, SQL Reporting Services or other common reporting tool expertise.
- Setup and Configuration Acumatica ERP setup and configuration offers many options in each of the functional modules, as well as in system-wide setup areas. In one of the early sessions, they did actually apologize and promise to streamline setups. But after being immersed in this product for a live client, I would caution them not to err too much in the streamline direction.
- Acumatica Customization: I’ll just own up to being on the consulting team at KTL and not the development team. Having said that, I can see a great deal of flexibility and benefit by being able to use their customization tool to get many things accomplished for clients — including form rearranging and adding fields with an easy link to the database. Their customization model also includes Web Services, providing a fast, reliable, and convenient way of exposing business functionality and data managed by an Acumatica application, for integration with any external business and operation support system.
- Acumatica’s Analytical Reports Good luck converting any previous FRx users with any complex needs for generating reports broken out by departments or divisions (Trees in FRx and Unit Sets in Acumatica). After struggling with this recently, I was thrilled to see the ISV product “Renovofyi” — that has much of the functionality of FRx and also provides conversion of FRx reports in many instances.
Despite my love for the partners and Acumatica team members and their enthusiastic and innovative spirit, I do have to caution that moving or selling new clients to Acumatica may not be for the faint of heart. This product, while maturing at a fast pace, is still a work in progress in a number of ways. This was evidenced by the furious pace of service packs and product releases (or maybe that’s not a bad thing). Also, the documentation can be a bit thin in some areas. Overall, I look forward to many years (or at least what I have left until retirement) of Acumatica evangelism. The Mid-Market ERP space needs a little life and a lot more innovation — and these folks are the ones to provide it.