Juliette Welch: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's webinar. ERP trends and predictions for 2022. Shawn Windle is our speaker for today.
Shawn is the founder and managing principal of ERP Advisors group based in Denver, Colorado. Shawn has over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software industry helping hundreds of clients across many industries with selecting and implementing a wide variety of enterprise solutions.
His podcast the ERP advisor has dozens of episodes with thousands of downloads and is featured on prominent podcast platforms such as Apple and Spotify. On today's call, Shawn will offer his insights on the highs and lows of the ERP market since the beginning of 2021 and share leading indicators for what to expect in 2022. Welcome Sean.
Shawn Windle: Thank you.
Juliette Welch: Hi there, happy New Year.
Shawn Windle: Yeah, you too and to everybody else who's hopefully staying as healthy as possible these days.
Juliette Welch: That's right, that's right. Well, thank you for joining me today. As always, I appreciate it. I think if you're ready, we'll just dive right in.
Shawn Windle: Let's do it, we have a lot to cover.
Juliette Welch: We have a lot to cover for sure, so how would you summarize the ERP market in 2021 and how is it different from 2020?
Shawn Windle: Good question; 2020 was an unusual year I think for pretty much everybody every business, right? Our clients, our landlord, to the folks that maintain cars, to outdoor equipment clients that we've worked with, and all kinds of organizations were impacted adversely in 2020 but a lot were able to get through and really sort of met the challenge.
If you think about 2020, for our business specifically, we were flat, which was a godsend honestly. But we were helping clients get through their implementations that they were mid, that's what we observed was there wasn't a ton of new ERP decisions made.
I think some of the vendors did grow their customer base during that time “Oh my gosh, we got to get onto a cloud app right away.” OK, great, but that's the six month process you know so I do think there were deals that were stalled or slowed down in terms of companies going on to ERP in 2020 for sure.
There was a lot of investment though in FP&A, financial planning analysis software, also called Corporate Performance Management, or even enterprise performance management software solutions. A lot of folks had to do a lot of re-forecasting. We had one client that had to re-forecast every month. Basically, they did 6 re-forecasts starting in March of 2020 and then moving forward into the end of the year was crazy, right? Because the circumstances were changing, they're trying to predict really the unknown. But that was good for that software category for sure.
You know a lot of HR systems, there are people’s main investments in HR systems I think during that time as well, but again, sort of impacted by, “Hey we've got to really get the work from home in, make sure people can work from home successfully and you know keep people healthy and happy at the same time.”
So you know a lot more short-term investment for sure. And like I said, kind of keeping projects going.
Then in 2021 what we saw was like a huge demand that had really been pent-up. I believe part of that was PPP money. That was part of it, but there's also a lot of dollars out there in the market that are looking for strategic investments to grow a business and nonprofits.
We saw a lot of organizations, a lot of private, public, nonprofits, government agencies come in in 2021. To say “OK, we got to get to the cloud now, right? We were able to get to work from home, but we really want to get an app in the cloud, or we want to get some process automation or some transformations”
2021 was a big year, right? We had a lot of selections that we facilitated. We had over 50 projects in 2021 that we were working on, and we were busy.
When I talked to my competitors or other organizations that are similar, same thing right? So, 2021 I think made up a lot for 2020, but there is still sort of this- there's some undercurrents. We'll talk about those more as we go through here, especially as we look forward. But 2021? Like I said it, it was unusual.
But I think fortunately and unfortunately, it's going to become the usual, meaning looking forward, many organizations that we're talking to- I was at this 30-year manufacturer. They were out on their old manufacturing app for decades and decades. Just a couple days ago here in town- And you know, they're like “We have to get onto new software, our current software can't do what we need”.
I'm looking around and I'm like wow, this is a big change for this team, and they hired an advisor, not us, where they ran into some problems and they're working through it like we said, like look, you got to go back to these guys and tell them demand that they give you good service.
But see, people are busy, very busy on the advisory side, on the vendor side, software vendors who sell the software, and the implementation partners are.
You know, there's this huge demand for people, for sure right now. But you know, it's also for technology solutions that are scalable, easy to implement and can meet business processes so.
That, I don't like that, that's too- the pendulum swung way too far over in terms of demand is so high. Well, it is happening though, and I did see this in 2021, which was amazing is that you see some vendors- we’re going to talk about him later, they really stepped up to the plate and said that's it, we're investing in technology. We're investing in our people, and we're going to bring great solutions to the market, so super excited about that, but that’s what I saw between 2020 and 2021.
Yeah, from what we've seen over the past couple of years, 2020, people were needing to pivot, and they were pivoting to do what they needed to do. Come 2021, they needed to make some decisions on how they were going to proceed with their business, right?
They couldn't just pivot, they needed to, you know have software that they could easily access remotely, right? Be able to pull reports what have you the efficiency of it all, and so I think that's what I've seen from my side of it too, right?
Shawn Windle: Yeah, because well- and Juliette you're in an interesting position.
Also, not only do you get to host these calls, but you're also talking to our clients on the back end of the projects too. They're telling you, hopefully, more successes than otherwise and so you hear the real changes that people go through.
You're spot on. I think there was like oh my gosh, how do we run our business in this new- it's not a new economy, or a new world, or a new regime, or a new whatever, no political politics. It's not about that, it's a new way of doing business where suddenly everybody is basically like consultants.
I mean I'm getting way into too much detail, but it's fun, you know our first office was when Juliet was working with Erica and I. You know it wasn't a bedroom, but it was an office in a house, right? We were able to work remotely all the time.
Now we have an office we're going to get a bigger one later this year-I hope that's the right decision in this crazy monkey time. Now everybody must deal with people working from home. How do we stay remote? That's all handled.
The interesting thing is the different mental pattern that people are having to operate their business from, and I think there's good parts to that for sure. I think there's not so good parts also, but at the end of the day you know enterprise software was like, you know we're not- one of my guys, Quentin, you know who's been involved in most of our selections said what he saw was, there's a big push to go to cloud before 2020 for sure.
Then 2020 when AH, right? Now 2020 was like, OK, we're going to cloud like it's almost like it's non-negotiable. Because our models, our business models, our mindsets are changing, and I think a lot of people are talking about that. We've looked at what other folks are saying out there. I do see that that software will continue to be a catalyst for a brand-new way of running a business, which is good if it's done right.
That's the key.
That's right, that's right. Businesses are re-framing how they do business, right? Kind of because they want to, but they're kind of being forced as well, right?
Yeah, and if you're a software vendor or an implementation partner and you're not talking about how your app's going to support that, you're missing the boat, right? These are very strategic decisions, but ultimately what I'm trying to say is I don't think there's going to be these kinds of conditions that all happen at the same time.
Economic, political, health, when you look around the world, all these things came in. There was a lot of uncertainty and now we're you know we're getting through it still on the crowns working its way through.
We have a lot of clients, folks we were just with. People are gone right? The people that work on our car “Oh yeah, we don't have anybody in this shop today because everybody is sick.” Fortunately, it doesn't seem as severe and OK, fine we'll get through it, but it's just a whole new way of operating.
From a software vendor implementation partner, you've got to be talking about those things with your client, because your clients coming to you, our clients, you know our prospective clients are looking like, “I don't know what to do.”
They're never going to say that, but that is kind of what's at the basis of all. This is a whole new way of operating and really, enterprise software is literally right there. It's such a great opportunity to help folks to build the business and continue to grow and operate and expand.
We all want everybody to expand in a way that isn't so cost prohibitive where you have to put in a ton of money upfront, cloud we spread the money over time.
I think it's good.
Yes, well any other surprises that you saw in 2021 with enterprise software as it relates to vendors.
Yeah, I guess I wasn't expecting this, and I probably should have, that there were major software vendors. There are companies that were evaluating putting clients on they got hit with cyber security sort of ransomware issues. Now you know Juliette from talking to James Mcquiggan over at KnowBe4, we love those guys.
Right, they sort of help with the behavioral side of teaching people, emails to click on and not clicking on, what is phishing, and even setting up samples where they send them out and see the issues with it. They don't shame people, but that side of it was interesting to see the vendors because we had a couple clients that also got hit with ransomware, that frankly, we're all on premise solutions.
Well, one of them did really, well because they didn't have the architecture built around their enterprise apps and another one didn't and there were others too. I do feel like with this move to the cloud, with this move to the metaverse- we'll talk about that in a little bit too, that there are some risks that there's one vendor that I think is really, well poised.
I swear to God we don't take any money from anybody. We don't, we never will. I will tell you that Oracle strategy makes a lot of sense to me because they own from the bare ground all the way to the top of the apps and very few vendors have that full stack and that's just going to be more and more important things going into this year.
I was just on a call with another vendor yesterday, I was just on one recently trying to do both here between our call and then another executive. Oh, I'm in a call with another great vendor and you know the investments in data centers and in cyber security even at that level, I think that's what I was surprised at in 2021 to be like “oh my gosh, we put all our clients on and they just got hit by ransomware, they can't get into their data, what have I done?”
Juliette Welch: Right?
Shawn Windle: I need to take more responsibility for that, so I should have been expecting it. But we're ready in 2022 to hammer the heck out of our vendors on, OK, it's not just a SOC1 SOC2 report, penetration testing, and you've hired this firm, no for real what kind of bots are you putting in place? What kind of software do you have to fight off these things?
So anyway, I'm really looking forward in 2022 to evangelizing. I wish I had stock in a cyber security company because it's going to be hot, but practical real solutions are going to be more and more important, not just for clients, but our clients are depending on these vendors who are helping to run their business
Juliette Welch: Right?
Well if you don't experience anxiety, go to our website and listen to the podcast with James McQuiggan and you will have anxiety. Change all your passwords. You will do everything you can to protect what you have and you know our home stuff is one thing, but our businesses and their data, that's a whole other arena, a whole other level.
Without a doubt.
Yes, so well, speaking of specific vendors, can you tell us your thoughts on what to expect with prevalent ERP vendors in 2022.
Shawn Windle: Yeah, and before we do anything, I will definitely say to anybody listening to the call now or if you're listening to this as a recording and we get something wrong, you have to tell us. We've had a couple of vendors that have pushed back and said, “Hey, that’s not right,”
Oh my gosh, you're right.
I mean we have done a great job with building that feedback into our process for sure. The other condition I'll give here is, I'm only going to say the good stuff, just because that's who I am as a person. But there are differences between the apps and it's very easy for me or for my team to see this. It's not like going out and buying a car where you buy a mid-level sedan, or the light duty pickup truck, right? There's three or four or five options, they all basically do the same thing, and maybe they feel a little different.
You know any instance of pick any application SAP, especially big SAP implementation. At one company versus SAP, another even is totally different. The way the software is configured, it's customized, it's bolted on with different apps, it's almost like a person and they're so different. So even though we may have one instance of blah and then another instance of the same app at another company- we're in the middle of just starting a project. Two companies do the exact same thing and the way they've been. They were looking at implementing one of the apps and the way they've implemented it looks totally different.
With all that being said, let's do it.
Juliette Welch: Maybe we could start... Oh sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. Maybe we could start with Acumatica and then move onto Epicor and then go from there. What do you think?
Shawn Windle: OK cool kind of go down the list. I love it and we'll do it in Alphabetical order.
Acumatica, we just had a great call yesterday with their CRO and I can't say what was in the call because I'm under NDA. Just a great product road map. I really see them coming to kind of... fruition, well they've been around for over a decade. They're doing the right kinds of enhancements in the product that make me feel like, “Yeah, these guys are growing.” I even just said that on a call yesterday- No, no, it was at lunch....it was at coffee this morning.
Oh my gosh. Well, I said Acumatica is really coming up. Great price points, implementation partners that are out there, and the road map is really evolving to be able to handle more complex companies. They’re probably one of the newer kids on the block, which does usually mean the depth of their functionality isn’t as rich as maybe somebody who has been around forever. It does mean that, but I see them investing in the right areas and doing the right things and I'm not going share material public information, right?
I'm only going to share what I can share; I'm going to share the good stuff. What I love about Acumatica is they have a partner channel that is clear, it's obvious how you buy from Acumatica and who implements. Acumatica pays partners based on customer satisfaction, not just based on a deal that they closed. So, that's huge for me, right?
Because I get a call- Usually it's not during implementation. We have our people there and we are going to do fine. It's a year later, two years later when they say, “Oh, I don't like this.”. I'm like, oh God, what do we do wrong? Wait, what did they do wrong?
Well, you know, the Acumatica partners are incented to do a good job and continue their job for their customers, and I love that.
Juliette Welch: Yes, that's great. What about Epicor? Let’s move on to Epicor.
Shawn Windle: We're again, you know, if you want the full opinion you have to call us. We've been through a love hate relationship with Epicor. I'm just going to say it, it's been more hate, love, hate love and I'm in the love part for sure. I think there were a lot of struggles with some of their earlier releases- now I'm kind of like a dinosaur and like an elephant with my memory.
But you know Epicor 9, there were some challenges. That app was great, salespeople were great, but the implementations we really struggled with that, over 10 years ago. OK, we're talking over a decade ago, and then I lost track and sort of kept an eye on things. But then really, this year I went to the conference really saw all the investments that the executive team has done.
They've had some changes on their executive team recently, but I think it's OK. Their kinetic product. I really like it, especially for manufacturers, for ETO manufacturing and we've selected it for a client, we had to push it off here they needed to start a little bit later, but I'm really excited to see how that goes.
I think there are some great partners too now and that's huge. Still, I really think Epicor is getting their recurring revenue model, their cloud solution grooved in, and I think we're going to see a lot of growth for them for sure.
Again, a great price point, and I think they're good for certain industries, for sure manufacturing. I do expect great things from them. They've got a great leadership team and even the middle level people, they're experienced, so I'm really excited to see what happens from Epicor.
As an independent, they're not a part of a bigger- whatever. That's going to be interesting to see what they do there too. I think their private equity team likes them because of the returns they're getting on that. All in all, good stuff.
Juliette Welch: Yes, will you speak on IFS?
Shawn Windle: Yeah, so we spent a lot of time this year sort of reengaging with IFS and for heavy asset intensive industries, they're the best. They’re- yeah, think I just I just saw they got a great award from one of the analyst groups. They've got good partners also out there, we're in communication with one of their top partners, they're growing and they're expanding, and I love seeing that.
It's, the software and the implementation we haven't been through one, so I don't know what it's really like, right? I can tell you if you're in a, natural resources, energy, any kind of asset, again, heavy asset power. We had a client that was running PeopleSoft that got hit with cyber security or ransomware, but they were able to get through it. They got the FBI involved and that helped.
Juliette Welch: Oh wow.
Shawn Windle: Yeah, but they ended up staying on their PeopleSoft instance, but I was really looking at IFS for them because I like that solution. What I also like about IFS, whose little brother is Acumatica in a way because they're both owned by the same parent and I don't know, maybe you know it's like having a little brother and who's getting taller.
But EQT is a long-term player for enterprise software and so I think it's a good solution again, in those industries that you have to look at. We have to look at that when we have those kinds of industries for clients.
Juliette Welch: For clients, right. What about Infor?
Shawn Windle: We've done a lot with Infor this year. We've worked with their cloud suite, industrial, cloud suite distribution products. We've gotten to know the team better over there, good people for sure. When I say good people on the software side, that's important like, really important. If you get people that aren't caring or they're not- whatever, it just leads to just bad discussions.
We had that happen with a vendor this year and I was said oh no right? But the Infor folks, I think are doing good. I think they're investing in their sales channels so Infor, they are really liking the subscription license or the subscription model over a license model and they're getting used to that. They've got a couple partners that are leading that, in terms of deployments. They've got a couple of partners who are still a little behind on that.
We just had a client go live with one of the Infor products and just talking to him a few minutes ago and he said, you know that's the one regret, is that the partner we had didn't quite get this cloud deployment right, but they're getting through it. They're working through it, whereas other partners are like, “What do you mean there is no other way to implement.”. So that's fine, it's part of the maturation. Everybody goes through growth and expansion problems all the time.
You know their products are solid. The partners have a ton of industry experience. Again, this manufacturer that I was at; Family-owned company, I said, “Why don't you guys really spend some more time with Infor because it's a good solid product for manufacturing.”
But it doesn't have as verbose, let's say of an ecosystem in terms of lots of integration partners out there. You don't have a lot of products that are being written to just integrate with Infor. I wouldn't say they have a closed ecosystem at all, there's of course **. All the normal companies do tons and tons of integrations.
There's a great some CAD solutions that integrate between SolidWorks and AutoCAD. Just manufacturing product centric, which is great for that industry. We're looking at them on every single one of our deals. I will tell you this, several years ago we weren't. I think they’ve done a ton of investment. Chuck Phillips is the guy who came over from Oracle led the team there at Infor and I think that's paying off for them.
Juliette Welch: Are people more attracted to subscription based as opposed to what was the other one subscription based?
Shawn Windle: License to upfront license.
Juliette Welch: License, right.
Shawn Windle: It's a good question, some are, and some aren't, but the reality is it's a bit like leasing a car where your payments are spread out overtime. You don't have a big upfront, but it's the benefit of having all the administration and the management of the app in the cloud. You're paying extra for that so to speak, even though it's incremental for the vendors. I think overall most people like that model.
Juliette Welch: Right, right, right, because it's not such a huge commitment upfront like you said, right?
Shawn Windle: Exactly, that's exactly right. Implementation cost is still big upfront, but you got it. However, it's more overtime.
Juliette Welch: Are they the only ones that have that?
Shawn Windle: Oh no, even some of the other vendors you could still do a license, an upfront normal perpetual license is what it's called. Most of the vendors are moving away from that model. Their investors, their ownership teams, they want the recurring revenue stream that goes on continuously.
Juliette Welch: That makes sense. What about Microsoft Dynamics? Can you talk to us about them?
Shawn Windle: Microsoft, again these conversations, we get them all the time so it's great to be able to share them. Microsoft is moving away, a great customer base between their four legacy products. Microsoft Dynamics 365, AX, NAV, GP and SL. Then CRM is different, but those are all sort of shifting over to let's call Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations or that one is also sometimes called Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain. I can say that very fast because I have seen it 10 times today because clients want to go to Dynamics...well which one?
That strategy is much clearer on when you would go to what product. I think partners- like we talked about within Infor, I think the Microsoft partners are embracing cloud solutions more, which is good. certain industries distribution is good for a business center we've got some great partners there.
They've had some great wins for some of our distribution clients. Then on Finance and Operations: it's an interesting product because it's a little more flexible, a little more malleable, it's more expensive to implement, but we had a hospitality company that just implemented it recently.
It was great because their entire IT people work with Microsoft. Now their ERP is Microsoft, and it couples in- we're talking to a national services firm right now and I know that their IT people are thinking like, “We like Microsoft” and there's great partners too that understand even not just verticals but micro verticals.
Not just professional services, but management consultants and all the business challenges that they have. That's the key with F&O is you've got to find the right partner for sure, and there's some really good ones out there. They're changing, also there's been a lot of shifting in those partners to where they're getting acquired, and some of those other things, but there's a lot of great resources that are still available for those products.
Juliette Welch: OK, well can you speak to NetSuite/Oracle, each individually and then whatever overlap there is?
Shawn Windle: Let's do it. We can start with NetSuite. So NetSuite is sort of the...I don't know a good analogy. I don't know what people like about cars these days, but that's why I'm just going to say NetSuite is like a Honda Accord. You can't go wrong with a Honda Accord, and I don't have a Honda Accord, but I did. Or even a Toyota Camry maybe or something like that right? Where it's mid-size, it's stable, it's good and it's very pervasive, reliable, right?
It's just the one that our CFO's are like, “Well why not just do NetSuite right?”
We're like, “Well I don't know if it's just a NetSuite deal. Let's go in and check it out and make sure”
Here's some name of a couple, people call it NetSuite, you are exactly right go NetSuite. One of the lunches or coffees I was at recently- we have an international company they're going to do manufacturing in Scotland, they're going to do construction projects throughout the world, and they're basically doing satellite stuff. They're going to be in that space and NetSuite is a good fit for that. Kind of, what about the aerospace and defense requirements when you get into ** and some of these things when you're working for the government, so we've got that covered with DCA compliance.
Well, it's a little bit different. What I see happening with NetSuite, and I like this, is not just partners are developing solutions, micro vertical solutions. I see NetSuite taking more responsibility for this big customer base that they have and if you know you're the second name or the first name on a short list. Then that comes with more responsibility. What can you really do to meet these needs because you are raking in the cash.
That's why NetSuite is growing like mad, which is awesome. We just congratulated them on their earnings, and I love that we've got good friends and people that work over there- I've known him for 15 years. We're doing deals with Matt Ledger back in the day, but man, NetSuite, you get that much money.
You had better put it into your product, and you better be able to meet the needs of customers better than your competitors. That's how you win. You don't just win by gliding, it won't continue. There are so many other companies, Acumatica, that are on your heels. If you don't continue to innovate and innovate and your sales processes are super focused on what the real client needs are, you're going to lose.
I did see that honestly; I've talked to our folks over at NetSuite about this. We've got some good mitigations in place now, but we did see that last year. Ultimately there are great people at that firm that have a passion for customer service and customer care. They're going to see their way through it, but it's been a lot of growth.
I mean we went through a lot of growth this year and we struggled with it and trying to figure things out and everything. Everybody is doing that, but I'm just excited for what NetSuite can do. I really am. I think they've just got a lot of resources, including cash, they made an acquisition just this last week, which was exciting to put CPQ with Verenia into the base product is amazing.
All of my clients want CPQ whether they know it or not, they all want that functionality, but we have to go buy it from another vendor, there's an implementation, there's integration. You know then it's just complex, whereas they're building that into their platform or buying it, I love that. I love it.
Juliette Welch: Yep, Yep.
Shawn Windle: Oracle, let me talk about Oracle overall. Like I said earlier, nobody is positioned for the cloud better than Oracle. I just said it. Some of the analysts and other advisory people get paid by the vendors. Honestly, we don't get a dime. We never have and we never will. I really like the way Oracle is positioned.
I think Larry Ellison probably and his core team, his highest of highest level sees that, and I think they're going to- I love that I love that to death because I'm going to worry less about clients getting on Oracle and NetSuite because of Oracle cloud infrastructure, because of Oracle cloud integration tools, because all the way down to they own the data centers, all that stuff I love that about them.
Now, the ERP Cloud Fusion, ERP Cloud Service. I get those names a little confused, but the cloud product from Oracle I see a lot more adoption of that too and I think it's really coming of age as well, but we're looking at it for all our clients. Got a ton of EBS, got a ton of JD Edwards, got a ton of PeopleSoft customers, and the road maps are clear that they're going to be supported.
They've done a really good job with that, and I mean that. I was at JD Edwards during the dark ages. I want to see that product, those customers be taken care of, right? I think Oracle’s doing that, but I think this next year is going to be the telltale year from them. Are customers going to migrate or not, right? Are they going to stay in these old systems until they positively have to change? Or is there an incentive to change? I think Oracle has a lot of traction there. 2022 is going to be a big year for them.
Juliette Welch: Well, regardless of how big you are or how small you are about, you have to produce and be able to do a good job. It's the bottom line, right?
Shawn Windle: We all do it just eventually. If you don't know, and especially in enterprise software you'll get **
Juliette Welch: That's right, that's right. OK, well moving on. What about sage? Can you speak to us about them?
Sage, there's multiple products of course, it's Sage. There’s Intacct, X3, there's also the Sage 100, the Sage 300, there’s the construction Sage 300C, there's 500. I probably left off three to five other products. There are some other point solutions for payroll, I think for CRM- probably says too much sometimes...at least that's what my wife tells me. Last year I said, “Acumatica is going to get bought by Sage.”. I don't think that's going to happen now because Sage bought Bright Pearl in the last couple of weeks.
That's a big strategic investment for them because especially looking at Intacct, if they can figure out how to bring those products together, sort of best of breed financials with sort of retail e-commerce, even some WMS kind of functionality.
All of a sudden, they’re a great tier 2 distributor kind of a product, right? Whereas right now Sage Intacct focus has been to breed around financials and some inventory. Definitely, good on the nonprofit side. That was one of the calls we got a couple of years ago, was you need to look at where we're in the nonprofit space. We look at Sage for every nonprofit and we just talked to a mission driven company last night who's going to down select to Intacct.
That product makes a lot of sense, there's some good headway. That makes there's a lot of good motion going forward. I'm not sure about the rest of the products, I'm just not sure because we frankly see a lot of clients coming off with the sage 100, old mass 9200. You know, 500. I used to love 500 in a day for manufacturing solution, but I think they moved to X3, and I think you know I look at the partner channel and how much our partners investing in X3 and I'm just not sure.
It's a great product for certain industries still, but it is something that just merits a good conversation with your Sage reps to say, look I really want to understand the viability. Where are you going? What's the road map with this product?
Juliette Welch: Well, you touched a little bit ago on SAP anything else you'd like to add about SAP.
Shawn Windle: Yeah, SAP we participated in a couple industry groups and it was interesting to hear what large organizations are doing with their SAP installations. What big four, big three consulting firms are doing with SAP and then the medium size organizations and then even the smaller size organizations, right? We have a viewpoint of SAP that's very broad, probably more on the mid to lower side, say up to a billion. That's where we spend most of our time in revenue for organizations that big.
The world is changing for SAP for sure. There was very little desire to go to the cloud with SAP over the last five years. Big deployments, no way. We ran into problems when we did this before and I'm not doing it, unless I really have to. Well guess what? COVID hit. Guess what? Work from home. Guess what? Even if customers like the end users are like, “This is terrible, I must have a better experience.”. I mean they go; you know great reshuffle or great resignation or whatever it is, you got to get out of these products.
We were recently working with one of the big three. They were talking about working with a Fortune 50 company and it was there- They were going to go to S400 cloud. Private cloud and it was going to be a half a billion-dollar project. That's a lot of money, right? The big guys willing to risk that, that tells you something. Even when we look at smaller manufacturers, they- some folks are like, “I will never go down SAP again.” OK, fine, but there is a reason why it is the largest enterprise software company in the world for ERP. Just pure ERP.
There are instances where it makes a ton of sense to do it, and we're seeing it more and more. Even with some of our midsize to smaller clients that we would never consider SAP for. We're looking at that plus, they're getting their sales channel really defined on how to sell cloud also.
Which is different than how they used to sell, very different. If I can get onto SAP that's best to breed, it'll take me to however size I'm going to get. I’m private equity backed; we're going to go from 100 million to a billion. I got to get there, and I don't want to change halfway because it makes sense.
I think Rise helped with that, they lowered some pricing which helped with that. I think the implementation partners again, I hope you guys are listening; I'm looking forward to hearing how you are going to right size your implementation to support a quarter $1,000,000 recurring software deal every year.
You can't do a $2.5 million implementation, you just can't. You're not that good, I just said it, sorry. Just keep that in mind as you're working with those midsized clients, for sure. Again, I see our practice doing more with SAP as we go forward.
Juliette Welch: And SAP doesn't have a sunsetting date that's off down in the future, right?
Shawn Windle: All their products do, for sure that the ECC6, the R3, they do have a set date where they're stopping support. But there's so many customers on that product and I do think SAP is a good company. They're going to do the right thing.
They've already done some renewals and some changes, but what they're really doing now is they're like, OK, no kidding. What is it really going to take for these companies to get into the cloud? I think some leadership changes help with that. Honestly, mindset changes and I think they're going to get there. There's going to be a nice path, but it's still evolving.
Juliette Welch: OK, well what about Unit 4?
Shawn Windle: Unit 4, we just had a good lunch with a thought leader at Unit 4 recently and it was great to see. Unit 4 doesn't get a lot of limelight I think in the US frankly right. Very broad throughout the world, one of the top five ERP vendors. I really see them coming in around sort of services, Proserv, nonprofit, and even some government work.
It's one of those companies that, again, you never heard of, but then once you start looking at it you're like, “Wow, you have who as ex-client?”. I think in those particular industries you just have to look at Unit 4. We have an environmental non-government organization, that has been a client of ours for a long time and they were thinking, “We're just going to look at a certain app” and that makes a ton of sense and I think you should take a unit look at Unit 4 because of the global footprint that a lot of North American based software vendors, they have it, but it's just different.
I'm sorry, we had a prospect recently that was based in the UK or in the Netherlands and most of their business was the rest of world, right? They had a little small piece in the US, and they came to us and said, you know, can help us with this and I just said, "I just don't have a specialist in your part of the world that focuses on what you do and that’s very technical. I don't think we can service you. Here's another firm that you should go talk to.”.
I feel the same way with enterprise software where there are instances where; you're located more geographically; you're not necessarily hankered in the US. This is where Unit 4 has sort of a leg up, where they've got that experience more internationally, and certainly have customers in North America too. I think they're going to do well this year. I think Unit 4 is going to do good. I'm hoping we do a deal with them frankly, because I think they've got good people there that are super committed to making things go right.
That's what I care about the most, right? We'll get a client down to a couple vendors that are great. They're like 10 million times better than what they have then. I am all about the people, which team is really committed and going all in to make our client a success.
Well guess what? You just lost; I don't ever want to hear that. You've got to figure out how to pass your hats and grow and expand so that our clients feel like they're the best in the world, right? I think Unit 4 has that mentality and that’s why I love that.
Juliette Welch: Well, let's finish up with Workday. What are your thoughts on Workday?
Shawn Windle: Workday, talk about nice people, but their salespeople are the nicest people of all time. We did a deal recently where it was Workday versus, all I'll say is another vendor- You could probably guess and man the Workday team won a deal. The apps were good. We did a ton of deep dives, functionality and really digging in on the financial side.
Not just the HCM side but on the financial side. My client, who is the CIO of an international private, equity backed, super-fast growing company, was like, “I could see a pathway with the other vendor, but I like these guys from Workday. They're going to help me, and I think they're going to get me through this.”.
I think that is something about Workday that I think is left over from when I was at PeopleSoft even back in the day. All I remember about working at Peoplesoft was In-N-Out Burger and Pleasant. If anybody is at PeopleSoft you know what I'm talking about, but now we have them in Colorado, we just got one around the corner. Peoplesoft had a very people centric focus. Certainly, speed at it workday and I love seeing on even the financial side that they're able to bring that to their customers.
Their products are strong, adaptive, done well, I think that's sort of an entry point now for them to go back to adaptive customers, say, “Hey, let's get you in the next size ERP.”. Then HTM I think is going to continue to just set the standard. I mean so many of our VP of HR's is the- chief people resource officers say, “I just want Workday”. OK, well you can't, the pricing isn't quite right. OK, “Fine, but I want Workday”.
I think Workday is going to continue to have that over some of the other vendors that sell HR, frankly. The financials like I said, are also coming of age where I think the office of the CFO is like “WOW, I can use this and maybe even a different way”. Sort of a general ledger that sits above maybe other subsidiary general ledgers. I'm rolling it out across the world, lots of multi company currency, all the consolidation capabilities, so I think it's going to continue to do well too.
Again, I think everybody is going to do well, but if you really listen, go back on this recording. I'm leaving little clues in here what they're really going to do well at, right? Because that's the thing is it's not like everybody is going to do great. Oh, they're going to do well in their micro verticals or in the market size that they focus on.
Juliette Welch: That’s right, well that's a lot of options. Well, a lot of options for businesses that are in the market for a new ERP system. I mean, it'd be different if there were just a few players, but there’s a lot of competition out there.
Shawn Windle: There is, yeah, and I think that leads to a little bit of sort of what I think there'll be some changes going forward too on that.
Juliette Welch: If we focus on clients, what is the most important thing that a client or a prospect should consider when making an ERP change in 2022? What should they keep in mind?
Shawn Windle: Yeah, that is a great question. Again, I rarely prepare for these calls so that I can just be like, boom here's the answer. I tried to prepare for this question, and I really couldn't. Here's the thing and I was talking to Quentin about this on our team- everybody loves Quintin, it's great, he's great, don't hire him though. He's really noticing with his clients that sort of best of breed, like pretty good functionality isn't good enough. That our clients are expecting micro vertical functionality so that the apps support exactly how they want to run their business.
Then definitely the other piece he talked about was the integration that there's just an expectation that marketing went out and bought this, sales bought that, the product development people bought this. That's always been that way and then we're going to get the ERP and they have to play well together, right? That's composite apps you hear about or I mean I was working on integration platforms at JD Edwards back in the day. We called that XPI, I think it was.
Today, it's really true that concept of the PM's went out and bought Monday or they’re licensing Monday or some other group is out here doing- we talked to a company the other day and they're throwing out all these best of breed apps. I mean, I don't know what these are and I have no idea because I never run into them.
You just see that the sophistication of our users is just going through the roof. We were talking to a great business; family owned, family run manufacturer, about under 10 million in revenue and they're listing out all these apps that they're working in. It's like holy moly like you have got to run your business still. How are you going to do that with all these apps? However, it's just expected that all these products work together.
There's costs to that right, but the costs are coming down for integration, so it's real that a smaller company can bring all these apps together. Keep an eye out on that for sure.
I know we've been going for a while, so thanks to everybody for sticking with us here. I do think that feature functionality, integration, this composite app concept. Maybe one more point, I'll say is you know it's more about your implementation resources than the software. Those are basics we've been talking about all along, but it's really important this year because everybody is busy. Everybody, even some of our key vendors that we've been working with for years and years they're so busy.
There's going to be new folks coming in. I think that demand will sort of maybe taper off a little bit, so people will catch up. Just watch out for that. A company we were talking to recently, they're like “Oh yeah, this app makes a lot of sense for us,” but when they gave us the statement of work, I'm like no, you don't even know my business. They actually do, but they just shot out the SOW without thinking about it.
Take the time to do that, so that's the technology platform, the feature functionality, and the implementation partner, really of the apps that we talked about. They're all viable, they're all great, they're all doing good in the market, but those are going to be the three things that you need to differentiate on. Feature functionality, technology platform, and then the people doing your product. So your implementation, those are three things I would leave with everybody.
Juliette Welch: We've done these calls for quite a few years now. Your implementation team is very important to get you to your goal into the end zone.
Shawn Windle: Yeah, and I would even say too on that, if maybe I could even go even further out to 2025, 2030 you know I would say Juliette; this is something I have really been putting my mind around you know there's this concept of the metaverse. We’re going into digital, a lot of digital things happening. That’s every client I have, especially with work from home, especially with this acceptance of “hey I don't have to be in the office” and now we're relying on systems for communication.
Juliette Welch: Right
Shawn Windle: Commerce, it's just we're all wired digitally, electronically to push our lives into the electronic world. My dad isn't, but you know he works for a nonprofit in San Francisco and does all this research on different markets and how vets and homeless people can get help. Then he documents all that stuff and puts it into Salesforce, right? Even my dad is using Salesforce and I’m like, “Holy moly”. This is because my dad's great. I love that guy to death he's a great man, but not the most technology savvy. Now he is, so we are there.
I do think even as I think about the list of vendors that we went through; do we need that much variation? Are we making things too confusing for clients? Are business process automation solutions so... do they need to be so unique? Does that really bring a lot? Is it better to sort of pull some capital together and use it for other purposes? It's interesting because the answer is yes. We saw that with data centers where why in the world should every client have their own data center?
Whether it's in a closet or over it, you know private cloud, or we'll just do it right? That's taking more responsibility it goes back to that point, but you know if you think about some of these vendors that are R&D, they’re marketing, and selling in their accounting and it's all duplicate expenses- those are people by the way we got to remember that. If we can bring some collaborations together, we can do more as an industry together, like imagine what we could do. That's awesome, even Erica, my wife, our principal operations- Basically your boss, my boss too.
She was talking about doing something with one of our providers the other day. One of our benefits providers and how you upload a spreadsheet, it wasn't just like a normal upload, there was intelligence; it was robotic process automation built between taking this data in this unstructured format, relatively putting it into a very structured format that you the system could roll with.
That's happening today all over. Who knows what happens with our zoom calls and who scans it, looking for things. I can add a mustache right now to my face and it looks like literally wearing a mustache. It's weird, how does it know my face right? It's weird and you know you look at Oracle buying Cerna. It's one of the top- yeah Cerner one of the top medical patient care reporting systems, medical records systems.
Juliette Welch: Right, right, right.
Shawn Windle: What are they going to do with that and what is already being done? It could go in a really weird place for sure, or we could all be proactive about this, nail it for clients, and build platforms that really bring the automation. All my competitors are talking about the same things with the way that the world has changed and press this stuff and you know, digitization and digital transformation.
There's this lack of resources although where did they all go? They're all still out there, and then there's more people coming out of colleges. I know because my kids are going in and somebody’s going out. There's a lot of great people out there that I just, I think, going into the next decade, the folks the ERP vendors are going to win. They are going to be on, they're going to win on innovation. Not on just scalability and economies of scale with going to the cloud or marketing because of their long-term position in the marketplace. Everybody just goes with - because that's what you go with if you're a global manufacturer.
I don't think that's going to be the case. This is the year where we're- this is the decade where we're going to see innovation at a whole new level that's going to be very exciting.
That's what I love about our industry: it's changing and maybe it's a plea to the vendors out there to keep focused on that kind of thing, not just your feature functionality or you have to maintain your cloud, you have to keep that infrastructure secure. Now what do you do because you're making a lot of money right now. All those vendors we went through are doing very well financially. What are you going to do with that cash? Let's make World a better place.
Juliette Welch: That’s right.
Shawn Windle: I think we're going to do it.
Juliette Welch: That’s right. Well Shawn, I think we're at the end of our time. As always, thank you for sharing your expertise, your knowledge, and your predictions for 2022.
Shawn Windle: Thank you, you're welcome.
Juliette Welch: Thank you everyone for joining us for today's webinar. Please let us know if you have any questions. We're happy to help in any way we can. Be sure to join us for our next call scheduled for Thursday, February 10th Dumping your legacy software for a nicer younger ERP system. We will have a...
Shawn Windle: Wait, wait wait, but that came from some of our folks on the marketing team that are not men, that’s all I want to say.
Juliette Welch: That's right. Oh my God, I love that title, it is the best. So yes, and we will be joined by a special guest to discuss the hardships of staying on a legacy software system as well as the benefits of transitioning to the cloud. Please go to our website erpadvisorsgroup.com for more details and to register.
ERP Advisors group is one of the country's top independent enterprise software advisory firms. ERP Advisors Group advises mid to large sized businesses on selecting and implementing business applications from enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, human capital management, business intelligence and other enterprise applications which equates to millions of dollars in software deals each year across many industries. This has been the ERP advisor. Thank you again for joining us.