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One of the famous lines from the movie City Slickers is when Curly talks about the secret of life being to stick to one thing.
I like Acumatica’s approach to ERP. In my opinion, they are focusing on one thing: delivering a strong core ERP product that can be extended by their strong partner channel. Acumatica isn’t trying to be all things to all companies. They are focusing on building a strong core ERP toolset that can be leveraged by their partner channel to build industry-specific and company-specific solutions.
Acumatica isn’t even monopolizing the deployment of their software. Whereas other SaaS-only products have to juggle developing the application and managing the network that their application is deployed on, Acumatica gives you deployment options (click here). This allows them to focus on the core of their ERP product.
The Importance of “One Thing”
This week I was reminded about the importance of doing “one thing” well as I listened to my wife tell me about how slow Quickbooks Online is in the evening for her.
My wife does accounting for clients part time using Quickbooks Online. In the evening, after the kids go to bed, is the only time during the day that she can really sit down and focus on her work. But it’s difficult to get anything done when it takes 10 seconds after a click for the page to refresh. For some reason, for the past couple of weeks, this is just the way it is with Quickbooks Online. Other websites work fine so we know that it isn’t a problem with our internet connection. She is using a very fast computer so that can’t be the problem. The problem seems to be with Quickbooks Online itself.
Blackout vs Brownout
I remember being fascinated as a kid when my dad taught me about brownouts. I knew what a blackout was because it’s obvious when all the lights go off in your house. But a brownout is less obvious. However, my dad taught me that a brownout is actually worse than a blackout when you’re dealing with electric motors. A brownout can ruin a motor, whether it’s a big machine motor or something as simple as a fan in your room.
A “brownout” can also be deadly for a SaaS product because it’s not obvious where the problem lies. Why is it slow for some customers but not others? Is the problem really something wrong with the application or is it something wrong with the customer’s computer or network connection? Is the slowness limited to certain parts of the world or is it randomly scattered throughout? Can it be consistently reproduced or does the problem come and go? All these are questions that make troubleshooting nagging brownout problems difficult.
Personally, I would rather completely lose service and experience “blackout” with a SaaS product rather than have “brownout”. Then at least it’s obvious that there is a problem and you know when it’s fixed. A brownout is more malicious though. The software company, like Quickbooks Online, might only frustrate their customers further by trying to troubleshoot the problem because it seems that they can’t figure it out. They might frustrate their customers even more though by doing nothing. So it’s a lose/lose situation.
Remodeling a House vs Building a New House
Oftentimes, it can actually cost more money to remodel a house than it would cost to build a brand new house.
It’s the same with some ERP features. If there are too many ERP features available in your ERP product, you might spend more time “tearing down” functionality than you would if you could just “build up” some functionality in a simpler base product.
Acumatica has a lot of features, but the most impressive to me is the core functionality and the ease with which you can extend the functionality to fit a customer’s specific needs.
Acumatica makes “building a house” very easy.
Features vs Speed and Reliability
Personally, I value a product that works well and does what it says it does well.
That’s why I still have an iPhone instead of an Android phone. The iPhone doesn’t have as many features, but it’s more stable and more reliable.
Reliability is even more important when it comes to ERP. A SaaS blackout or brownout can cripple a company’s ability to meet the needs of its customers. With Acumatica, it’s nice to know that, if needed, you can control the entire environment, including things like: when backups are performed, how fast the internet connection is, when to upgrade, etc. This gives a company the ability to “fine tune” Acumatica so that the features utilized don’t impact the speed and efficiency of the product.
And it allows Acumatica to concentrate their efforts on a strong core ERP product.
That’s the power of one thing.