Today Epicor announced expanded availability of its next-generation cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Previously Epicor Express was offered as a simplified version of its flagship product Epicor ERP. Epicor ERP is a multi-tenant software as a service (SaaS) solution; the simplified Express editions were configured specifically for small companies (both Manufacturing and Distribution editions have been available). Epicor Express for Manufacturing was configured specifically for job shops and discrete manufacturers and, like Epicor Express for Distribution, was delivered only using a SaaS model. The “simplification” process involved hiding selected features and functionality in order to remove some of the complexity inherent in a comprehensive enterprise-level ERP solution, making it more digestible for smaller companies with less complex environments.
With this announcement today at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, IL Epicor’s cloud ERP offering is now available to midmarket manufacturers, distributors and service organizations. The same full-featured Epicor ERP solution, previously only available as an on-premise solution, is now offered as a multi-tenant SaaS solution as well.
After having accumulated experience selling and supporting the Express editions this move makes a lot of sense for Epicor. While many still think of SaaS only in the context of small companies, the latest Mint Jutras ERP Solution Study found that interest in and willingness to consider a SaaS version of ERP grew with the size of the company. While 42% of small companies (those with annual revenues under $25 million) were willing to consider SaaS (along with other deployment options), that percentage grew steadily through the lower and upper midmarket (48% and 51% respectively) to 59% in large enterprises (those with revenues over $1 billion).
Increasingly distributed environments can at least in part explain this escalating interest. Even small companies reported operating out of 2.5 locations and this number grew to 10.7 in large enterprises. Combine this with the increased likelihood of establishing standards for ERP implementations across the enterprise, and it is not surprising that many find SaaS a viable way to establish and enforce these standards. Often these standards are two-tier, particularly in larger companies, where one or more standards for operating locations may be implemented in addition to a corporate ERP. This explains why even Epicor’s early editions for small companies have taken hold. Many operating locations are essentially run as small companies within larger enterprises. But these small companies can also grow and need features and functions beyond the scope of the Express editions… but not beyond the scope of Epicor ERP.
Mint Jutras’ latest survey on “Understanding SaaS” has gathered data on levels of understanding and preferences for SaaS solutions. It found 82% of (over 300) survey respondents had established standards for some or all applications and 93% reported that these standards influenced their choices for deployment.
However, there is still a lot of education that needs to be done. Fifty-seven percent (57%) admitted to not understanding the difference between multi-tenant and single-tenant solutions. Cost is still viewed as the most important potential benefit of SaaS, followed by ease of upgrade in 2nd and support of distributed environments in 3rd. The advantages of not having to purchase hardware and maintain systems and to not have to grow their IT staffs were also considerations.
For more information on cloud deployment of Epicor ERP, visit http://www.epicor.com/Solutions/Pages/CloudComputing.aspx.