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Acumatica ups the cloud ERP ante with new CEO Jon Roskill

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed March 4, 2014
Summary:
Breaking: Acumatica hired a new CEO, Jon Roskill. Here's the highlights from my exclusive, impromptu chat with Roskill.

JonRoskill
I got a surprise call from Acumatica yesterday with the breaking news they hired a new CEO, Jon Roskill. Roskill hopped on the call to explain why he chose to leave a twenty year Microsoft career to throw in his lot with rising cloud ERP vendor Acumatica.

At first glance, Roskill is a strong fit with Acumatica's partner-centric go to market. His most recent role at Microsoft? Corporate Vice President for Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group. That meant leading a global sales and marketing team of 5,000 internal employees and 640,000 external partners.

Roskill was just settling into his office at Acumatica when we spoke (his first day was Monday March 4). For Roskill, joining up with Acumatica means revisiting the entrepreneurial roots of his career. 'This brings me back to the time in my life when I joined up with Microsoft,' he said.

The chance to make waves in the ERP market is also a draw:

Areas where you can be disruptive are the most fun to work on. The opportunity to come into a stodgy, old school market like ERP with a built-for-cloud product - that's something I see as a great opportunity. The chance to do this in a 100 percent partner model really sealed the deal. I'm doing reviews with the team here. I'm not going to radically change the direction of what's going on here - I'm more excited about how we can take it to the next level.

And the biggest challenge on the horizon? 'To continue to grow the partner channel here,' says Roskill. 'The product is strong and getting stronger, with some exciting releases scheduled this year.'

Does Acumatica's range of deployment options give the company an edge against competitors? 'The fact that we can do both cloud and on-premise is an advantage,' says Roskill. 'The ability for customers to choose the option they want - when they want it - is important.'

Roskill has noted the persistent interest in localized data centers by ERP customers:

If you asked me a few years ago, if you'd still see midsized partners hosting their own data centers, I would have say no - they'll move to Rackspace or Amazon. But some of our partners believe they have a real competitive advantage by hosting the data themselves. Meanwhile customers, particularly in certain verticals, feel more confident knowing their data is in a particular place, often locally. Because Acumatica supports multi-tenancy in a way most of the competition doesn't, that allows our partners to run many customers on one server in a very efficient way. With some of our competitors' products, you're basically just managing instances on single services for customers - it's quite inefficient.

Kapow! He may have just started, but Roskill is already in full stride positioning Acumatica against competitors:

It goes back to the fact that Acumatica is fundamentally cloud. If you look at where a lot of competitors are, whether it's Sage or legacy Dynamics products, everyone is talking about transition to cloud. Customers are asking about it. Another area we play well is with customers that have outgrown QuickBooks, but don't have an ERP system. They are turned off by how complicated and expensive ERP can be. The fact that we can come in with a subscription model, and a product that is quite easily configurable by local partners to get people up and running, is a real competitive advantage for us.

The cloud ERP game of thrones is far from won, but Acumatica remains a player to watch. We'll provide more context down the road, as Roskill's tenure gets underway. As for former Acumatica CEO Yury Larichev, Acumatica tells me Larichev will divulge his plans in the coming weeks. For now, Larichev will stay on at Acumatica through the end of the March to support the transition.

Image credit: photo of Roskill provided by Acumatica.
Disclosure: Acumatica is a diginomica partner as of this writing.

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