Expanded Market Opportunities, Strategic Partnerships and New Mobile Offerings to Inspire Customers to Realize the Full Potential of Technology Investments
EPICOR INSIGHTS 2013 (NASHVILLE, Tenn.,) --
Epicor Software kicked-off its annual user conference Insights 2013
on a high note from Music City, USA, with nearly 4,000 in attendance spanning the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries. Epicor CEO and President Pervez Qureshi delivered the opening keynote as Epicor customers and partners came together to get inspired by innovation, new technology and dynamic user experiences that will take their businesses to the next level.
Epicor software solutions drive the companies that are innovating business today, with a modern approach to architecture, mobility, embedded analytics and built-in business process management. Epicor solutions are designed to help customers derive the most value from their technology investments. “We want our products and new technologies to inspire customers to think about their business from a fresh perspective, and enable them to deliver more value to their customers,” said Qureshi. “Our solutions help customers automate and streamline core business functions, at the same time providing a flexible and agile platform to leverage social, mobile and cloud innovations—designed for the way people work today, anywhere, anytime and from any device."
“Insights 2013 brings together customers representing the industries we serve and the Epicor product offerings tailored to their business,” Qureshi continued. “During the conference they gain knowledge to help them realize the full potential of the Epicor product they are using today, and learn about what we are doing to expand their opportunities to leverage extended offerings and latest technology innovations.”
Expanded Market Opportunities
Through strategic acquisitions
Epicor has enhanced and strengthened offerings in key vertical industries such as lumber and building materials, automotive, food and beverage, and print and packaging, and added best–in-class manufacturing execution systems (MES) and processing manufacturing offerings to its solution portfolio. These offerings are gaining momentum and creating new opportunities for Epicor customers, like the new version of Epicor CMS (see news release
) which delivers expanded features and functionality for the automotive industry. The Honda Approved Epicor CMS solution is designed for intensive supply chains, and helps eliminate shipping errors, tighten inventory accuracy, and strengthen enterprise-wide control and supplier management.
Strengthening its presence in Asia Pacific, Epicor recently opened a new Technology Center based in Guangzhou, China. The Technology Center was established to strengthen Epicor service and support to clients and partners in China, and throughout the Asia Pacific region, and to support localized technology innovation for Epicor enterprise business software solutions and applications. Recognizing the distinct characteristics and requirements of the Asia Pacific market, the new Technology Center will focus on localization optimization and provide first-hand technical support for clients.
Enterprise Mobility Continues to Evolve
According to a recent report by Gartner, Inc., “The adoption of mobility is driven in part by consumerization and will continue to drive investments in mobile applications by an increased use of smartphones and tablets, and will be an area of growth for SMBs, which are using mobility as a business strategy, realizing that the technology brings with it agility and efficiency.”(1)
Epicor provides mobile offerings that enable manufacturers, distributors, retailers and services organization alike to transform user and customer experiences, improve operational efficiency, increase productivity, and enable real-time well informed business decision making to gain competitive advantage. Among the newest Epicor mobile offerings available to customers today are:
- The newest release of Epicor Eagle business management software for independent retailers, announced during Insights, which previewed Eagle Loyalty and Eagle Tablet POS which are expected to be available later this quarter;
- Announced at Insights 2013, Epicor Payment Exchange Mobile (EPX Mobile) is a free, downloadable app that runs on mobile devices and allows Epicor customers to accept credit card payments wherever their consumer is located;
- Epicor brought mobile to the latest version of its human capital management solution with Epicor HCM Mobile Connect, which provides access to users for daily tasks via Apple® iPad®, iPhone® or Android® devices (see news release);and,
- Epicor Distribution customers now have access to Epicor Mobile Business Analyzer, a new mobile business solution to support executive-level decision making for wholesale distributors (see news release).
Innovation Drives Productivity for Epicor Customers
Extending the value and investment that customers make in the solutions that run their businesses is a key focus for Epicor, by delivering enabling technologies and innovations to help customer drive productivity, efficiency and promote growth.
Epicor announced a partnership with Magento®, owned by eBay Inc. (see news release), which brings an integrated offering to Epicor retail customers that supports rich omni-channel retailing. As well, Epicor introduced its new Epicor Retail Cross-Commerce offering, a flexible, advanced eCommerce platform that enables retailers to personalize the shopping experience across channels, to support increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Epicor continues to deliver unprecedented choice and flexibility with its next-generation Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, which customers can deploy on-premise, as a managed service or in the cloud. Built on the Epicor ICE Business Architecture, the innovative ERP offering enhances collaboration, facilitates end-to-end business processes, and improves operational effectiveness.
Epicor ERP deployments have accelerated worldwide as the company announced surpassing the milestone of over 1,000 customers now live on the solution (see news release). The momentum continues as more businesses are choosing put the power of the next-generation Epicor ERP platform to work to support business innovation, process improvements and a truly integrated view of the business and value chain.
Likewise, the Epicor ERP cloud offering is gaining traction -- available today in Australia, Canada, China, Mexico and the United States, the growing list of Epicor ERP cloud customers include companies like Plastiglide Manufacturing, Corp, Samscreen Inc. and Mayekawa Manufacturing Company (see news release).
On the manufacturing execution systems front, customer momentum is growing among manufacturing organizations worldwide for Epicor Mattec. The company’s full-featured, best-in-class MES standalone solution, and is creating new opportunities for Epicor as an integrated solution with its next-generation ERP (see news release).
For a closer look at what’s happening at Insights 2013, visit the EpicorInsights channel on YouTube.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
(1)Source: Gartner, Inc. “Market Insight: Technology Opens Up Opportunities in SMB Vertical Markets,” by Christine Arcaris, Jeffrey Roster (September 6, 2012)
Inbound Logistics selected the Top 100 logistics and supply chain technology vendors – and Epicor made the list! This year’s best in class winners are recognized for breaking new ground and leading the market. Inbound Logistics’ editors placed value on choosing providers whose solutions are central to solving transportation, logistics and supply chain challenges, and whose customer successes are well-proven.
To accompany this list, Inbound Logistics reveals the latest logistics technology trends influencing the supply chain sector based on findings from their Logistics Technology Market Research Report. Among them is Big Data. Other trends include function- and vertical-specific logistics technologies, the collective power of social media and cloud computing, and a continued emphasis on cost reduction.
So how are technology vendors responding to these market trends with respect to the global supply chain? Inbound Logistics’ research and analysis provides perspective on how technology companies are approaching the market, where they’re investing and the challenges they see through their customers.
Here is a glimpse of their findings. Go here to read the full report.
Industries Logistics IT Providers Serve
Solutions Logistics IT Providers Offer
Logistics IT Buyers' Top Challenges
Source: Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Providers Survey
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
As the world continues its conversation about big data and its implications, let’s revisit the seminal report that first brought the topic to a high level of visibility. In May 2011, the McKinsey Global Institute published “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity”; the rest is, as they say, history. McKinsey’s observations have unfolded across the globe, and the report has become one of the world’s most cited sources on the topic.
The report defines big data as follows:
“’Big data’ refers to datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage and analyze. This definition is intentionally subjective and incorporates a moving definition of how big a dataset needs to be in order to be considered big data—i.e., we don’t define big data in terms of being larger than a certain number of terabytes (thousands of gigabytes). We assume that, as technology advances over time, the size of datasets that qualify as big data will increase. Also note that the definition can vary by sector, depending on what kinds of software tools are common in a particular industry. With those caveats, big data in many sectors today will range from a few dozen terabytes to multiple petabytes (thousands of terabytes).”
Seven Major Points About Big Data:
- Data has swept into every industry and business function and is now an important part of production.
- Big data creates value in numerous ways:
a. Creates transparency.
b. Enables experimentation to discover needs, expose variability, and improve performance.
c. Segments populations to customize actions.
d. Replaces/supports human decision making with automated algorithms.
e.Innovates new business models, products, and services.
- Use of big data will become a key basis of competition and growth for individual firms.
- The use of big data will underpin new waves of productivity growth and consumer surplus.
- While the use of big data will matter across sectors, some sectors are poised for greater gains.
a. Computer and electronic products and information sectors, traded globally, stand out as sectors that will benefit substantially from the use of big data.
b. Two services sectors—finance and insurance and government—are positioned to benefit very strongly from big data.
- There will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data.
- A number of issues will have to be addressed to capture the full potential of big data:
a. Data policies
b. Technology and techniques
c. Organizational change and talent
d. Access to data
e. Industry structure
Clearly, the economic impact of big data will be profound. In a post on the Harvard Business Review blog network, David Court makes the case for organizations crafting a big data plan. He notes a growing consensus among executives that the returns from big data are real, but notes as well that moving forward is challenging. In terms of costs and commitment, the investment can be large. He posts a basic approach:
“The answer, simply put, is to develop a plan. It may sound obvious, but in our experience, most companies fail to put in the time required to create a simple plan for how data, analytics, front-line tools, and people can come together to create business value. The power of a plan is that it provides a common language that allows senior executives, technology professionals, data scientists, and managers to talk through where the greatest returns will come from, and more importantly, select the two or three places to get started.”
Court draws a parallel between big data planning and strategic planning, noting how the beginnings of the latter by a few companies in the 1970s has now become standard operating procedure for virtually all companies. Sooner rather than later, big data planning is likely to become commonplace as well.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
Everyone knows you’re supposed to read manuals that accompany products and services you buy, but of course, often we just blaze ahead, unpack, and put whatever object we just bought to immediate use based on our intuition of how it should be used. That works sometimes (a new pot or pan), is less successful other times (a new outdoor tent), and outright fails other times (a new BBQ from a kit). But even in that case of a relatively simple object, like a new kitchen pan, you can glean new information from the accompanying documentation. In my case, last week I bought a wok, read through the pamphlet and found out you are actually supposed to preheat the wok to the temperature you want to cook at before ever adding butter or oil. Who knew?
With software, the payoff from reading the documentation can be substantial. While we all appreciate a user interface to be intuitive as possible, even a basically intuitive device like the modern smart phone has “secrets” that are unlocked by using the documentation, both the vendor’s official documentation and the other ancillary unofficial documentation we can find on the Internet in the form of user reviews, tips or demonstration videos. I’m always amazed by and appreciate the number of people willing to post and share solutions on the Internet. Being a technical writer, I have something of a reputation among my colleagues as being a “technical” technical writer. I’m often asked where I learned this or that technology. More often than not, the answer is by reading the official documentation and using an Internet search engine to find the unofficial documentation that fills any gaps.
How can you encourage that official documentation plus additional non-vendor documentation model with your enterprise software? One challenge is that generally you probably don’t want your proprietary use of a product out on the Internet. That means everything I’m suggesting here is for your company intranet.
Key steps to maximizing your enterprise documentation:
- The obvious one – make sure you have the official documentation from your vendor installed and updated at all times. Don’t frustrate your users with an incomplete help install that results in broken links from the application.
- Leverage a mechanism to post your employee-generated tips and how-to articles alongside and/or accessible from the vendor documentation. Within an Epicor help installation, this is simple. Any .html file you add to the help folders (or add to a new folder you create at the same level) will automatically be indexed and appear in search results from the help search. Epicor also has other mechanisms to integrate custom additions to help such as the annotations feature that allows extended comments (which could be links to URLs) to be added to help topics.
- Guide collaboration software like Microsoft SharePoint to create searchable forums, document repositories, and video libraries to host your supplemental material.
If you take these steps, your employees can help each other even when they are not in the office. A set of self-generated documentation that supplements vendor documentation is not immune to the demands of official documentation, such as what version does it apply to, spelling/grammar errors and technical accuracy. Depending on your tolerance for those items you can implement review boards and/or individuals who supervise documentation additions. I’m personally on the side of more documentation with less oversight than making a process in which few are motivated to participate. Taking small steps such as making your own documentation templates (that includes information such as version) goes a long way in making useful supplementary documentation.
If you set up an infrastructure where supplementary documentation additions are simple and accessible from vendor documentation, use common templates and have a searchable interface, the value of your enterprise documentation can really increase overall.
Posted by Charlie Lloyd, Senior Manager, Epicor University
In the last blog, the investment in learning for organization was discussed, while this blog takes a different turn to look at the workforce today for this investment. Consider some revealing statistics of the world today:
- Over 50% of the world’s population is under 50
- 34% of marketers have generated leads on Twitter
- 210,000 years of music have been played on Facebook
- 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook
- #2 Search Engine in the world is YouTube
- Kindle eBooks now outsell hardcover books
- Khan Academy has delivered over 4,000 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics
Peter Drucker stated “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes”. This quote comes to life with two college aged children that bring to perspective the evolving workforce of Generation Y/Millennial who by the year 2015 will outnumber Gen X and Baby Boomers. This generation grew up during times of financial boom and rely on quick gratification. They are very comfortable with multi-tasking, which so clearly explains observing our college-age daughter talking to us about graduation and completing a text at the same time. Gen Y are tech-savvy and embrace new emerging technologies.
So how does this relate to knowledge today? It illustrates, that for the first time ever we have four generations in the workforce to educate all with different characteristics:
- Traditionalists – 1922 – 1945 – dedicated to hard work, the era of living without, and not comfortable with change and uncertainty
- Baby Boomers – 1946 – 1965 – team driven, grew up in improved economic times, live to work, strong work ethic and desire for recognition
- Generation X – 1965 – 1978 – independent, embrace diversity and change, grew up in times of economic challenges
- Generation Y/Millennial – 1979 – 1997 – optimistic and goal-driven, enjoy collaboration and multi-tasking, appreciate meaningful work
With the multi-generation workforce today, we are faced with the proper fit for education content and delivery – with no single solution easy to apply to each generation. Corporate education today is challenged with the transition from heavily focused formal education to informal education. Education programs of all types from skills to product need to be flexible enough while still maintaining a balance between traditional methods and emerging informal methods. The goal is not to impede learning, but rather to improve knowledge transfer. And, all of this requires matching content with delivery for the workforce – a balancing act that can be achieved.
Look forward to the next blog on Knowledge Trends – Part 2 for ideas on what types of content and which types of delivery to embrace.
Posted by Louise Keppel, Vice President Epicor University
A recent post on logisticsviewpoints.com discusses a number of points from a Deloitte survey of manufacturing and retail executives on supply chain risk. This one jumped off the screen: “Lack of acceptable cross-functional collaboration was the greatest challenge to effectively manage supply chain risk. In other words, since collaboration is at the heart of building stronger relationships, it is also at the heart of effectively managing supply chain risk.” In today’s increasingly complex, networked global markets, perhaps the greatest risk is posed by ignoring the strategic role of collaboration.
The SupplyChainStandard.com blog points out that despite the current focus on supply chain collaboration, an understanding of that role is lagging in some sectors. They point to a recent survey by consultants, Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) that shows only one of five CFOs view their company’s suppliers as strategic partners. Who let out the dinosaurs in those boardrooms?
Given today’s business environment, lack of collaboration across the supply chain is a significant barrier to success. When groups and individuals are “siloed” by systems that fail to communicate, the flow of information and data across the supply chain breaks, resulting in fractured decision making and greater risk. By synchronizing the activities of suppliers, partners, and customers, collaboration maximizes supply chain performance while driving down risk. Fortunately, technologies that enable greater collaboration are becoming increasingly accessible and prevalent.
Cited by Supply Chain Standard, Gartner indicates that 70 percent of high-performing companies will manage their business processes using real-time predictive analytics or extreme collaboration by 2016. "Human or automated actions can be initiated for proper decision making to achieve the desired business outcomes,” says Jim Sinur, vice president, research at Gartner. “If the situation dictates, knowledge workers can collaborate in and around the process, case, or instance to decide on and effect change.” In markets where accelerating change and volatile demand is increasingly the norm, having this ability is a key advantage.
Increasingly, it is clear that supply chain collaboration will be a central practice of those companies that do have solid programs in place.
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
As we move towards the end of the year’s opening quarter, the general consensus is that the distribution market will mirror manufacturing and continue steady if unspectacular growth. In a Wall Street Journal article, economists surveyed by the publication expected the economy to grow by 2.4 percent, the same figure they expected when predicting last year’s growth. While the Commerce Department pegged 2012 growth at 1.5 percent, experts see more supporting strength to this year’s economy.
"We're definitely in a better place now than at this time last year," said Arun Raha of Eaton Corp., who the Journal says was the most accurate individual forecaster last year. Among the reasons he cites for the improved position: domestically, strong auto sales and recovery in the housing market; internationally, renewed vigor in the Chinese economy and signs of Europe moving out of recession.
In Logistics Management, contributing editor Josh Bond agrees that modest growth is likely, but notes lower expectations among respondents to an update of McGladrey’s “Manufacturing and Distributor Monitor”: “While most executives expect some upward movement in key metrics such as net revenue and domestic sales, the percentage of executives expecting increases—and the size of their projected increases—across all key performance indicators tracked by the survey are down significantly.”
Harris Williams & Co.’s “Specialty Distribution Industry Update” calls 2013’s distribution outlook “optimistic.” They cite a PwC report that analyzes the 2013 industrial distribution outlook. According to the PwC report, 83 percent of manufacturers are forecasting revenue growth this year, a strong indicator of returning strength in the sector. “Overall sentiment among U.S. industrial manufacturers regarding the prospects for the domestic economy rose in the fourth quarter along with company growth projections, which trended higher as well,” said Bobby Bono, U.S. industrial manufacturing leader for PwC.
Elsewhere, a Global Purchasing article says that the economic climate has left distributors focused on executing existing market strategies: “Many indicate their intention to stay focused on core competencies in 2013 in the hope that a return to higher growth rates is on tap for the second half of the year. An air of uncertainty still hung in the balance as 2012 came to a close, with global economic and political climates leaving little certainty about where markets were headed.”
In the electronics sector, distributors agree that the industry’s long-term outlook is positive, due to the steady pace of research, development, and design as well as the overall increase in electronic content in all kinds of consumer goods. “Everyone has a different opinion on what’s going to happen in 2013,” says Lindsley Ruth, executive vice president of Future Electronics, to Global Purchasing. ”There’s so much global uncertainty and political uncertainty that it’s tough to predict; but we’re in an investment mode right now on a worldwide basis. Regardless of what happens in the market, we believe we can grow.”
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
Watching Super Bowl XLVII last weekend, or rather watching the sports anchors desperately trying to fill the 34 minute gap caused by the power blackout reminded me of how dependent we are on electricity and energy in general. It’s there, we expect it to work when we need it and we know it costs money (and more everyday as the news keep reminding us), but beyond that the majority of us never think about it and how we use it. However the smarter businesses are realising that there is a distinct strategic advantage in really taking an interest in their Energy, how and where they use it and the significant cost savings they can make.
Rising energy costs, increased price volatility, tighter energy and carbon regulations, and increased stakeholder awareness of sustainability has elevated the commercial importance of energy management within firms. The problem is most companies don’t know where to begin with these initiatives other than knowing they want to use less & save money. Strategic energy management is aided by board-level involvement, widespread technology upgrades, and procurement decisions at the corporate level and accurate energy data. In order to make that a reality there are four steps organizations can take to move towards strategic energy management:
Assign Responsibilities across the organization
Define an energy strategy and KPIs that match the organizational strategy
Build the business case to invest in infrastructure to help manage energy
Translate the business benefits into sustainability and financial metrics
Organizations should map out those individuals responsible for energy management within their organization. For most organizations, there will be a management deficit that needs to be addressed by placing responsibility for energy at the senior or executive level.
Organizations need to align their energy management strategy with their organizational strategy. For retailers for example, strategic energy management will equate to operational cost reduction, which in turn will feed higher operating margins.
Armed with the appropriate data and tools, it is possible to calculate the ROI of an enterprise-wide upgrade in energy infrastructure; information that the board will demand before allocating budget to a project. Energy management software applications can help facilitate the business case calculations by tapping into new and existing infrastructure, collecting the relevant data points, and performing the analytics that feed business cases.<
It is important to recognize the value of strategic energy management in terms of both financial gains, as well as contributing to wider sustainability metrics. Organizations such as Intel closely link financial reporting with sustainability and energy reporting to enhance their reputation with customers and to appeal to a wider audience of sustainability minded business stakeholders, including shareholders and financial institutions
So whilst on February 3, 2013, Super Bowl XLVII was overshadowed (no pun intended) by a power outage at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It should also be remembered because of the Baltimore Ravens narrow 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and Beyonce’s half time show. Energy is important, managing it more so, but it is at its best when it’s an integral unnoticeable part of what your business does best-- putting on the greatest show on earth.
Posted by Chris Purcell, Product Marketing Manager at Epicor
When Steven Covey wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he probably never imagined that years later people would still be looking to this guide for direction. But how do you really put those practices into place when our lives are so crazy?
I vowed never to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I made one for me. I call it my “30-minutes to Sanity.” I have spent the last 15 years traveling a grueling schedule, meetings all day, sometimes with hundreds of people in the room all at once. Noise, and lots of it. Airports, traffic, conference calls. So, I decided that 2013 was my year to do one thing for myself each day. One quiet thing. While it doesn’t always work out that way because sometimes life, work or whatever gets in the way, it still remains a commitment. So put it on your calendar. Why do it? It gives our brains a rest. And with laptops, mobile devices and trying to keep up with social media . . .our brains (and bodies) never really get a chance to rest. You might do it in the morning before work, over lunch or to end your evening. It doesn’t matter when, it just matters that you do it. Here are some things that I do to take advantage of a 30-minute sanity check:
- Play with the dog: Studies show that the simple act of playing with your dog can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and calm nerves. And, it’s good for Fido, too.
- Step outside: Sunshine, fresh air and flowers provide sensory stimulation that help calm the body. (Unless it’s winter, then you’re burning calories to keep warm so it’s a cardio exercise!)
- Make a cup of tea: The British already grasped this idea years ago. The simple act of getting up from your desk, brewing a cup of tea and sipping it quietly can be rejuvenating.
- Organize something: Being just a little OCD, messes make me crazy. So sometimes, my 30 minutes is cleaning out a drawer, organizing my suitcase for my next trip or simply scanning documents so there is not so much paper on my desk.
You get the idea. And to make it even more fun, buy yourself a fun, funky kitchen timer. Set it, forget it and go relax. Thirty minutes from now, you’ll feel better. Thirty years from now, you’ll be so glad you did.
Posted by Diana Van Blaricom, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM
Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week? According to a survey by Menlo Park-based Accountemps, nearly half of executives surveyed said employees reach their zenith performance on Tuesday. Followed by Wednesday, Thursday, and then Monday - not surprisingly – Friday is the least productive day.
Are you a morning or afternoon person? If you combine your personal work energy peaks with the high energy workdays, you'll get more done, conquer difficult tasks with ease and have a greater sense of accomplishment. It's true! (Well, it must be true because I saw it on the internet!)
But seriously, the research has proven it. So how will you rearrange your tasks to be more productive, make a bigger contribution and have a greater sense of satisfaction come Friday?
Posted by Diana Van Blaricom, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM