In a recent issue of The Brief, its bi-monthly publication on best practices, technology, and other critical business issues, ChainLink Research gives high praise to Epicor’s performance over the past year subsequent to its merger with Activant. In an article titled “Epicor’s Epic Journey,” ChainLink president Ann Grackin provided insights from Epicor’s Customer Conference 2012. She poses and answers the question, “why the grandiose title of ‘epic journey’?”
The successful merger of two companies within one year is no small feat. Preserving and elevating what is best about both companies, keeping employees secure and motivated through these changes, and avoiding the “we/them” elements in these situations is critical. In addition, the new Epicor has implemented radical changes in how they work, the processes they use, the metrics they use to measure, and the technology products they sell. I think that is epic. I have seen some pretty good mergers in the software world over the years, but this is outstanding.
Among the important strategic and technological points made at the conference, Grackin cites:
- Epicor’s overarching strategy of protecting, extending, and converging their software products. The key to extending and convergence is ICE, the Internet Component Environment architecture, a service-oriented architecture that allows older applications to access other modules and newer solutions.
- Epicor’s emphasis on process for product definition, development, and easier implementation for its customers. The six-sigma culture of Activant and the use of agile development tools is the core to this approach.
- “Consumerizing ERP.” This is a phrase used by Paul Farrell, vice president, Worldwide Research and Development, at Epicor, that Grackin sees as meaning “adopting the ease of use and openness of consumer applications such as touch user interface, social, and search.” These have applicability and practicality in the enterprise domain.
- Searching everything everywhere: having the ability to bypass traditional navigation methods and specific user views and role definitions to access features and data, to browse, and to find and define reports using the search paradigm. This is seen as critical to today’s business. Epicor’s multiple search index allows users to build an index (just like with databases) on the fly, creating multiple indices, filters, and search retention for later use.
- Mobile application support, including analytics, described by Kevin Roach, executive vice president and general manager at Epicor, as “real-time BI on mobile.” Epicor offers multiple versions of their analytics, from modest basic reporting to powerhouse “create your own data warehouse” environments with cross-functional and cross-application environments.
- Epicor Social Enterprise: the heart of the collaborative elements of Epicor 9, the major ERP product from Epicor. This will be rolled out to other ERPs from Epicor as well. Besides basic subscriber/chat-type functions that consumers are used to seeing in social networking, the Epicor social enterprise supports search, business process management, security, and monitoring functions.
Epicor plans to leverage Azure from Microsoft to provide on-demand ERP. According to Grackin, Azure is a bonus for service providers and end users looking for elasticity in a business solution, removing the issues related to planning and sizing data. ICE 3.0 will provide platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings using Windows Azure.
software, but changes in the process that allow customers to implement more easily, more quickly, and with a better engagement process,” says Grackin. “Almost anyone can write software, but to tackle implementability is where the action is these days. Epicor is not just focusing on the process. They are hiring many new consultants to address the project challenges, providing rich online help within the software and on-demand training. All this helps the customer to stand on their own faster, reducing the time to value, increasing customer loyalty, and reducing total cost of ownership.”
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team