At the Acumatica 2019 R2 Launch event in Columbus, Ohio, three Acumatica customers were interviewed. These three organizations were in different industries, in various stages of implementation, and had different experiences.
Leslie Alt, Senior Software Support Specialist from Fidelux Lighting, a Connecticut based distribution company (and CAL Business Solutions client).
Jesse Ramsel, head of IT at Global Incorporated, a nuclear battleship manufacturing company located in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
Cindy Brass with Geotechnical Consultants, an engineering, construction, monitoring, testing, service-oriented firm located in Columbus.
Based on a recording of the event, these are the insights they shared with the audience, along with simplified questions to add context.
Question 1: Talk a little bit about where you were as a business and how you transitioned to Acumatica. How do you use Acumatica as a tool to help accelerate the business?
Leslie: “We've been on Acumatica for about two and a half years. We were on QuickBooks before. We needed a program that would allow us to essentially dissect our inventory and identify the very specific costs, which we were not able to do in QuickBooks. We also needed an external commission module and that ended up being a customization that Acumatica helped us with and (our Partner) CAL Business Solutions as well. We have a lot of representatives that sell on our behalf, and we needed a way to track that at the sales order level integrated with banking. So it's just helped us be a lot more efficient. Everything from start to finish is in the same place.”
Jesse: “Global installed Macola, I was not on board at that point in time. We actually now integrated with Acumatica as of Monday, so bear with me. I'm still dealing with implementing….. But I can tell you right now the problem is that there is no competition between the ancient model that is Macola versus Acumatica. I mean, for somebody who grew up with computers, it's very easy to switch and a very easy choice for me to switch to Acumatica. And the opportunities that it presents to us are honestly innumerable.”
“As a government business and everything being confidential, we actually had to go with an on-premises solution. Now that doesn't mean that would detract from the cloud solution, in fact, I'd really prefer it. It would be a lot easier for us. But I have a set of security staff, actually on staff, and that helps us to have everything on-premises. That has given us a lot better control. It has been close to the chest and makes sure that everything is… almost as secure as in the cloud.”
Cindy: “We used Solomon from back in the DOS days and had been with Solomon until earlier this year. We felt that it was just not being supported. Going forward we didn't think we were going to get the support we needed and we really looked to our Partner, to kind of advise us where to go and he steered us toward Acumatica.”
Question 2: Implementing a new ERP system, in any business, is a complex effort and there are going to be bumps in the road. If anyone tells you there aren't going to be some bumps along the way, they are lying to you. And that's really when you find out how good your partner is and how good your publisher is. What lessons have you learned from your Acumatica implementation? What advice would you give others?
Leslie: “I have a little bit of an IT background, a lot of finance background, so I kind of got dragged in when things were already in progress. But CAL Business Solutions, our reseller, was instrumental in our (implementation). Not from the standpoint that they took the reins and went with it, but they allowed me to do what I could do. They didn't push to say, no, we're going to do that or you can't do it, you don't know how to do it. They said, okay, go ahead and take the lead, we're here to support you. So I would say, for one thing, rely on your partner, they're there to help you. And because of Acumatica being the firm that it is, you have that ability to use import scenarios and things on your own that you can build and import the data yourself, not having to rely on your Partner as much.
Of course, they will absolutely support you…. But just use your own resources as much as possible because it is really an intuitive system. There is nothing that is rocket science about it. It's amazing. You would think it was so hard, but it's a lot more user-friendly than you would think.”
Jesse: “So I'm going to have to reiterate on the value of the consulting groups - Albert and Mary, guys I'm giving you a wave. I would not be here if it wasn't for you guys, you guys are awesome. One, make the plan and stick to the plan. But also, make sure you talk to the end-users. Make sure everyone's on the same page…. It is very easy to get into, difficult to master, but it's a lot less abstract than you think. The way they make these things work on the screen guarantees every single one of you can handle it. Just give it enough practice.”
Cindy: “To kind of piggyback on what both of them said... Just really focusing on what your needs are. We were going from, a web tool with Solomon (Dynamics SL), for our time cards. That's a big thing, we've got about 100 employees and they're all entering their own time cards and we bill through it. It's really important that all of the data is entered correctly because we have nightmares in billing if they don't use the right codes. So we wanted to try to make it as similar to what they were used to using as possible, with the same job numbers, the same cost codes. We couldn't make it marry exactly right. But we had it pretty darn close. And our end users, not all, but most, like the ability to use the app and use the computer, and enter their data in different places.
We're only two months in so we're still learning a lot. But, if there's something that you're not sure how it works or you want to try and make it work, talk to your Partners and say "Hey, what about this, what about this, what about this?" I mean we'd been going back and forth, back and forth, for months. And another good thing is if you're not ready to go live - don't - just wait. In January of last year, we were all so gung-ho and our goal was to go live in April, and we went live in August. So don't beat yourself up if you're not ready. I think you're better off waiting until you're ready, another couple months isn't going to kill anything.”
Question 3: What new features have you seen in the new Acumatica 2019 R2 release that you are particularly excited about?
Jesse: “The rights and roles. My goodness….the newer user interface makes it so much cleaner, so much easier for your IT people to have to manage. And frankly, I'm drooling at the sight of it. And the color coding and the actual additional formatting. I'm usually staring at the Excel-like screens, and everything being a blank, one color. It was honestly a little bit daunting at times, but being able to add a little bit of flair, a little bit of urgency to the screen I think is a wonderful change and I'm very looking forward to it.”
Cindy: “We had issues with over-time, and I heard that that's something improved with R2, we're excited about that.”
Leslie: “We've been sandboxing…I just passed it off to my team to start testing R2 for the last month or so. So I've taken a deeper dive than we even looked at today, I went through the big old release notes. Yes, I did! I identified the things that applied to us. One thing that was not brought up today were the pop-up notes on records. So if you add a pop-up note to a customer record and then you add a sales order and you add that sales order on the screen, it's going to give you a pop-up. “Hey, remember that these costs... it's free to lab…” something like that. So that every time you enter a record for that customer, it's going to give you that reminder.”