I spend a lot of time hand waving about the joys of SaaS accounting, I thought it’d be an idea to write some stories of successful implementations – kind of a case-study-lite type series. If you’re a vendor with a story to tell (or even better and end user with a story to tell) drop me a line.
First off the block is Acumatica. I reviewed Acumatica back in November – they launched at the Microsoft PDC and were one of a handful of products that Microsoft used to show off the power of Azure. It seemed sensible now, after a few months out in the open, to talk to some VARs involved in deploying Acumatic to see how the process went for them.
First up Acumatica CEO Ezequiel Steiner expressed his happiness at the progress that Acumatica has made since it released at PDC, this progress has proven particularly strong in the US and Canada and it was the VAR involved in a Canadian deployment that I spoke to. As some background, Acumatica enjoyed 4* growth in the 4th quarter, a strong pipeline and an amazing 50/50 mix of on-premise and cloud conversions (originally Acumatica banked on a 25% cloud adoption rate).
Anyway, getting back to this particular implementation. The VAR, BrainSell, comes from a history of ERP success – they were the recipient of Sage’s President’s Club Award, Chairman’s Club and Million Dollar Club awards. They’ve also been the top 10 reseller for Sage over the last 6 years. Coming off this sort of history it’s a real endorsement of Acumatica that Brainsell are putting energy into their relationship.
The business in question is a logistics and transportation company out of Canada. They’re also a subsidiary of one of the largest Canadian organizations – the subsidiary itself is a USD30-70million business. When talking with the parties concerned, it was interesting to learn of one of the collateral benefits of a SaaS application, the ability to change workflows and processes is generally easier than with on-premises software – Fred Wright, the CTO of BrainSell was very particular to point out the ease at which mid-deployment changes can be made. A few examples that BrainSell ran into with this particular implementation were:
- Forgetting to build an inventory in transit process may lead to oversupply and excess inventory.
- Classifying a sales order which contains both product sales and consulting sales as a single type of revenue could lead to reporting errors and revenue recognition errors.
- Building reports without taking advantage of sub-accounts may make adding new departments, new products, new subsidiaries, and other things very difficult because all reports must be modified.
- Implementing a single valuation method (LIFO, average cost, etc.) for all inventory items may lead to incorrect tax reporting.
- Building approval processes linked to an individual instead of a “team” could lead to problems when the individual leaves the company.
Of course this points to a real need for a robust needs analysis prior to implementation but we always new that was the case. SaaS hasn’t changed that requirement (other than arguably making changes easier on the fly).
I quizzed Acumatica about ROI seen by the client. It was difficult to get hard numbers out of them but they did tell me that the customer was using an Oracle solution as part of its larger parent company and prior to the split out of its division. The new division found the same kind of features and benefits in the Acumatica platform at roughly 10% of the cost of Oracle.