Perspective on Perspectives 2010 and Beyond: Leaders Focusing on Effectiveness and Efficiency
It’s been a busy several weeks at Epicor with our annual user conference, Perspectives, sandwiched between quarter-end and earnings (wasn’t there also a big election going on?). All I can say is that last month was more hectic than I can remember in a long time—which was a great thing.
Business momentum continued to accelerate for Epicor and we reported very strong growth in all segments and geographies. Because we do business globally, historically Q3 is slower than Q2 given European holidays and other seasonal factors. Not this Q3 however, where we saw strong revenue, particularly in our international markets as more companies are beginning to invest back into their businesses and focus on growth.
The positive activity and great success we are seeing from Epicor 9 and our Retail products was further emphasized at Perspectives 2010 where we hosted some 1,700 attendees in Orlando. We know budgets are still tight around travel and expenses, but the significant increase in attendance over last year’s conference demonstrates that businesses are once again seeing opportunities for growth in their markets and are positioning themselves to take advantage of them. Now, more than ever, companies understand the key role technology is playing in the recovery, and accelerating innovation and driving productivity is clearly back on our customer’s strategic agendas.
We had a lot of industry analysts at Perspectives who both presented and participated in discussions and dialogue around business and technology. One interesting view that came out of a discussion was effectiveness versus efficiency—not just doing the same things better, but doing the right things. It is pretty clear that successful businesses do both. For example, mobility allows you to be more efficient, but does that necessarily mean more effective? (“Really” have to love Microsoft’s new commercial for the Windows 7 phone.)
We can do so much with our smartphone and iPads today, but now the focus is on getting rich, meaningful information and content to mobile users whether as part of the consumer shopping experience, mobile workflow, CRM, or on-device apps and analytics. The strong cross industry popularity for the sessions we held on social computing and collaboration was also telling on how even very traditional companies are open to exploring ways to more closely connect with their customers and markets through social.
While the message from the recent U.S. midterm elections was clear in that there has not been enough improvement around the economy and employment, it was also a clear signal around the speed at which change needs to occur—faster. From where the economy was in 2009 (recall the DJIA was ~6,550 in March ‘09), things are a lot better—but voters sent a clear message that the pace of change is way too slow. We did a lot of real-time polling at Perspectives and the overall outlook from our customers was positive about their businesses and their industries. Certainly there is still caution out there, but businesses understand that like politics, we need things to continue to get better. Right now, however, there is a lot of opportunity and it’s time to be effective – and fast.
Posted by John Hiraoka, EVP & CMO, Epicor