4 Big Updates You Should Know From Acumatica Summit 2018
At our first Acumatica Summit four years ago, every attendee could crowd around a handful of tables for the main keynote presentation. This year, Acumatica’s attendee number jumped above 1,100, providing Valued Acumatica Reselling partners (VARs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Acumatica customers more opportunities to network, learn, and expand their knowledge on the product.
Throughout our team’s three days at the Acumatica Summit and three days of training, we were able to meet people from countless industries across the Acumatica ecosystem. They shared valuable insights through conversations and opened the door to several new partnerships and opportunities.
We were able to attend several Summit sessions that helped us evaluate our current Acumatica positioning and plan our next steps. Though there were hundreds of tweaks, announcements, and new features unveiled by Summit presenters, we’ve narrowed it down to four of the biggest trends that we see shaping the ERP landscape over the remainder of 2018 (and beyond).
Automation is becoming faster, deeper, and more involved
Between our own experiences with clients’ Acumatica systems and the solutions showcased at the event, it is evident that automation is becoming more of a necessity to keep up with competition across all industries. In the Day 2 Keynote, Acumatica’s CTO, Mike Chtchelkonogov, showcased the ability to coordinate workflows with sales orders at intervals as frequent as every minute. This is just a peek into the advantages that can be derived from these automations.
When you look beyond sales orders and into other aspects, such as fulfillment and warehousing, the ability to automate your processes can be the difference between bringing in another truck to handle shipments and saving on shipping costs. With automated data integration across your ERP, you ensure that everyone using the system has the information they need to perform their role at maximum levels of efficiency.
Many integrations, such as those affecting taxes, payments, and marketing can be connected into this automated workflow with the help of a certified Acumatica partner. Further alterations can also be made to these systems to change the logic behind data transfer, allowing your business to skip the inputs that don’t impact your processes. For example, an unwanted duplicate entry could qualify as something that your system could overlook and discard, saving you time and money that would otherwise be allocated to fulfilling it and then re-allocating assets.
Another area where your business could change the logic directing the automations is manufacturing to inventory. For companies that manufacture items and sell them, this would eliminate the duplicate step of re-entering the item as an inventory item following its completion.
While automated data transfer is already seen in a number of ISV solutions, Acumatica’s ability to broaden its out-of-the-box synchronization capabilities to include between-module synchronization is promising for future users. This type of automation can be the foundation for improved integrations and efficiency for all companies running Acumatica.
AI and machine learning will soon be commonplace
Going beyond logic and automation, enhancements from artificial intelligence will soon be helping eCommerce companies sell more products and increase customer satisfaction.
Up-sell and cross-sell
Kensium demonstrated how Acumatica merchants can create real-time product recommendations based on activity gathered and processed by the Microsoft Azure machine learning engine.
Such integrations connect users to fitting products based on their website activity and purchase history. From Acumatica, the engine pulls order history along with product details — to deliver dynamic recommendations to customers on the web store.
Detect fraud early
Another area that is very useful for merchants in the eCommerce space is fraud detection. These programs scan customer payment methods and activity to confirm the purchase is valid before processing the order. This allows your order processes to operate with fewer chargebacks and fewer wasted resources fulfilling illegitimate orders.
Applications like Apruvd verify orders by decisioning high-difficulty orders, particularly those with contradictory risk indicators, such as: low-risk items delivering to high-risk shipping addresses, high-risk IP addresses associated with low-risk email accounts, etc.
With IP Intelligence, Device Fingerprinting, Behavioral Analytics, and other techniques, these solutions can determine potentially fraudulent orders, which can then be moved to Acumatica’s CRM. From there, reps can access the required information and take actions to follow up on these orders. In Acumatica, they can confirm an order is unauthentic or override Apruvd’s decline for those that are verified.
Employ a talking robot
In homes across the world today, another developing trend has been voice assistants, with some of the most popular being Google Home and Amazon’s Echo. Acumatica’s Ajoy Krishnamoorthy unveiled at last year’s Summit that they were in the developmental stages of making Amazon’s Alexa a new employee for all Acumatica businesses (see video below). He confirmed this year that the project is close to completion and is scheduled for release before the end of 2018. This means hands-free ordering, processing, inventory management, approvals, and more are just mere months away for companies using Acumatica.
Acumatica 2018 R1 improves fulfillment capabilities
Acumatica officially made their move into the eCommerce vertical in 2017 with their announcement of Acumatica Commerce Edition at last year’s Acumatica Summit. In this year’s first product release (Acumatica 2018 R1), Acumatica included several features that help boost the fulfillment operations of companies selling to customers and other businesses.
Some of the most notable new functionalities when it comes to ease of order management include:
- One-click order processing – Finalize orders in Acumatica with a single click.
- PoS integration – Sell products face-to-face and group them with orders from other channels. Automatically create invoices.
- UPS and FedEx integration enhancements – Use the some of the most trusted carriers to fulfill your customer orders.
- Improvements when using printers, scanners, scales – Make preparing products and shipments easier with your own equipment.
- Support for Amazon Prime – Sell your items through Amazon Prime and deliver them on-par with Amazon’s fulfillment standards.
To assist in order fulfillment and customer management in Acumatica, multiple features were released for the CRM module. Overall, the CRM module was been reworked to provide a more robust workflow and easier access to users across the system. Additionally, Acumatica introduced their upgraded Salesforce integration, which tightly couples Acumatica CRM with one of the world’s most popular cloud customer management platforms.
For B2B and hybrid (B2B and B2C) businesses, Acumatica unveiled new quotation functionality, which allows for multiple quotations within the system. This feature is especially helpful for businesses that work with customers who have flexibility in their order requirements, timelines, and budget.
Further commerce complements coming in 2018
To improve the quality of their commerce product, Acumatica has established a number of updates that will have a positive impact on eCommerce Acumatica businesses. They include:
- Support for multiple currencies – Sell your products to more customers and across multiple geographic regions.
- Inter-company finance capabilities – Support all of your company’s financial needs, across different branches of your business.
- Improved eCommerce distribution – View freight options and rates, without any third-party integrations.
- Enhanced warehouse functionality – Automate the processes in your warehouse to improve the speed and accuracy of fulfillment.
- New, detailed CRM workflow – Track customer orders from the time they’re picked to delivery. See exactly when each fulfillment checkpoint was reached (and which employee reached it).
While Acumatica is consistently releasing new features to improve their out-of-the-box product, our team of Acumatica-certified developers is the largest in the world and is known for their expertise in eCommerce customizations and integration.
At the Summit, our CEO, Rahul Gedupudi, and CFO, Richard Grossi, were once again presented the Acumatica Most Valuable Professional Award, which is given annually to recognize the dedication and innovation of those who help Acumatica grow. Additionally, our team was presented with the 2017 Fast Start of the Year Award, and our customer xByte Technologies was given the Acumatica Customer of the Year Award (which was won last year by another of our customers, SHOEBACCA).
If you have an eCommerce idea you’re ready to put into action, contact us to see how we can help.