Epicor: Architecting a Partner Strategy to Help Customers Brace for Business Transformation

Craig McCollum, EVP, Americas, Epicor Software
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Craig McCollum, EVP, Americas, Epicor Software

The technology landscape—both Manufacturing and IT as a whole—is witnessing dramatic change the world over, driven by factors that are social, cultural, and technical in nature. The sheer velocity of change that is causing extensive disruption in the business world. Some are eagerly embracing the change, some are not; and then there are others who are just plain confused.

Current Trends in the Technology Industry

The technology industry is witnessing a huge generational transformation; a good portion of the workforce is in its 20s and naturally their ideas, thoughts, and expectations are different from those of older generations. People working in IT expect greater flexibility to enjoy the freedom of working anytime, from anywhere. They seek to utilize all the readily available resources to the fullest. To this end, analytics is another area they rely on for the purpose of effective decision making.

The Manufacturing and Distribution industries are under significant pressure. Their functions have largely been transactional in nature while today customer experience is absolutely critical. Deploying IT in connection with distribution with the motive of improving customer service is needed. On the whole, leveraging technology in areas other than operations would do the industry good. While the change is certainly underway, the pace needs to accelerate.

Business Challenges Plaguing the Industry Today

The loss of jobs in the last 15-20 years for various reasons has been a huge concern for the manufacturing industry. While some attribute this to technology, others point to off-shoring. It is very essential to view this problem through the prism of social transformation that the industry is currently witnessing. Businesses can no longer avoid this reality, they must embrace it. The business impact must be analyzed and the outcomes forecasted more thoroughly. There is an estimated workforce requirement of over 450,000 to 500,000 in the manufacturing sector over the next 10 years. Attracting such large numbers of young people is challenging. It is essential to understand what inspires and attracts the workforce to the industry while also determining what technology components can be exploited for workforce empowerment and business advantage.

  ‚ÄčThe core component of partner strategy is to look for companies with a shared vision of success, the right domain expertise, and solid technology.  

On the IT front, not all clients seek similar solutions. While some are willing to embrace advanced technologies such as the cloud, others continue to seek the traditional on-premises solutions. The cloud holds much promise and is experiencing tremendous growth today. At Epicor, we are working very hard to ensure the availability of such solutions to our clients. However, to stay true to our core business principle of customer focus, we also want to support with the needs of more conservative customers. At Epicor our approach is to work with our customers to decide what cloud transition timing best suits them. In many cases, we have resorted to a hybrid mode of deployment with a combination of on-premises and cloud based solutions. At the end of the day, companies must be prepared to offer what the customer thinks is best, and also be able to articulate the value of moving to advanced technologies when they feel the timing warrants.

Cloud Computing is More Important Today than Ever

A good many IT resources that we consume today are in the cloud. Epicor witnessed a 70 percent growth in cloud based business solutions last year. With the flexibility of the cloud, Epicor has seen many of its small to midmarket customers expand to support operations that are global in nature.

While we believe the move to the cloud will continue to be a big trend in 2017, the bottom-line is companies need to be sensitive to the needs of the markets they cater to and the trends that are currently in vogue. This demands comprehending a wide range of considerations unique to both industry verticals and customer segments. The demands and challenges faced by the customers need to be understood thoroughly. This helps in analyzing the actual problems and responding to them efficiently by leveraging all the available resources.

Having a Partnership Strategy is Crucial

It is crucial to identify channel partners with synergistic domain expertise to gain access to resources that could help in delivering solutions that provide added customer value and fast time-to-market. The core component of partner strategy is to look for companies with a shared vision of success, the right domain expertise, and technology, while bringing holistic value to the business relationship.

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