I am not referring to the weather which did reach about 28 degrees C and we did have a few days that looked like the weather in the picture, but we all left with a very warm feeling of confidence.
The thing about an annual conference is that it is a place where the host presents their plans and strategies. After hearing the presentations and seeing the brilliant slides you then have to ask yourself whether this team will deliver on their promises and whether their understanding of the future trends is accurate. As you can tell, we left with the answers of “yes” and “yes” which gives us a very warm feeling indeed.
So why do I say this?
I’m going to start with one of the last presentations of the event from a company individual that doesn’t normally speak at such a gathering. The major shareholder and one of the founders. In this case it is Mr Serguei Beloussov. His commitment and desire to see Acumatica grow into a multi-billion dollar company were impressive particularly when his track record with his other start-ups, Parrallels Inc and Acronis, both providing cloud-based services, are well on their way. What I also found impressive was that it was Mr Beloussov who got into accounting systems because he wanted to change the accounting system he was using for his business in Singapore and thought that he could do a good job of it. He contacted the executives of Solomon in the US and convinced them of his idea and they allowed him to set up a development team in Russia.
The next reason for my confidence was as a result of the presentation by the founder of Solomon which is now owned by Microsoft and called Microsoft dynamics SL. Mr John Howell who seems to have been a mentor to Mr Beloussov who himself confessed that in the beginning when he became a Solomon reseller he had no idea about accounting software or how to sell it. Solomon may not be the prized accounting system in Microsoft’s portfolio but it is acknowledged by most that Solomon is very well designed and I understand that Mr Howell has been a main contributor. So we have a senior American with a wealth of ERP experience and a middle-aged Russian IT entrepreneur who have influenced this new ERP system and it seems to be a very good foundation.
At the start of the conference the other key executives spoke. All very impressive and many had come from senior positions in Microsoft. What was notable right from the start was the variety of accents. First it was Dutch then Russian then Chinese then Danish and eventually American. Although in the US I would not suggest that there is an American accent ! Compared to other Sage and Microsoft annual conferences that I have attended in the past there was not as much hype at this one but more quiet commitment. It was like watching an interview with the tennis player Novak Djokovic.
It was these indirect observations that struck me the most.
Directly, the system is brilliant. A panel of six of the top business partners in the US were asked about their favourite feature and every one of the responses was unique. The Wiki feature to map processes and workflow, the pricing which is not based on user count, the web services integration, the deep security, the screen and process customisation features and finally ease-of-use. Version 4.1 was officially released this week and it has the best Excel integration I have seen and a customer portal on the CRM system.
We also heard from a company called Visma who have used Acumatica and branded it for their business which supplies systems and accounting services in Scandinavian countries. They are a business with close to $1 billion turnover. It is not clear what proportion Acumatica represents but even at 20% it would be huge. What was very impressive was to see how they had customised the Acumatica screens for their purposes.
In a similar vein a further announcement was made about a deal with a big ERP developer for small businesses. MYOB. Many people know of MYOB and this deal is to create a web-based ERP system for the larger MYOB businesses of which there are many particularly in Australia.
It is good to have a warm feeling as the summer ends.
So we prepare for the year ahead with a lot of enthusiasm for our future with Acumatica in the UK.