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Acumatica ERP to expand with Professional Services Edition

At Acumatica Summit 2024, the cloud ERP vendor for SMBs unveiled a new Professional Services Edition and focused on delivering customer-centered AI capabilities.

Acumatica is adding professional services functionality to its cloud ERP platform, as well as several back-office capabilities that are designed to improve ease of use.

The Professional Services Edition, unveiled this week at Acumatica Summit 2024 in Las Vegas, is built on top of Acumatica's existing functionality for project accounting, billing and scheduling. It includes hundreds of new features aimed at customer service and customer lifecycle management, said Ali Jani, chief product officer at Acumatica, during the opening keynote.

The Professional Services Edition will be valuable as industries blur together and companies take on new processes and functions, such as distributors moving from B2B to B2C, Jani said. The new edition is expected to be available later in 2024.

The Acumatica Summit also highlighted the company's customer-focused approach to new advances in AI technologies and applications.

AI and related technologies such as analytics are going to be an integral part of enterprise applications going forward, as these are "far better equipped to be handled by machines," Jani said.

Acumatica customers have indicated that they want expanded AI capabilities for better business decision-making and automation, he said. However, these rapid changes, including the onset of generative AI, are also raising questions over their appropriate development in platforms such as Acumatica's cloud ERP.

Acumatica CPO Ali Jani on stage at Acumatica Summit 2024.
Ali Jani, Acumatica's chief product officer, helps deliver the opening keynote at Acumatica Summit 2024.

Because of these new opportunities and risks, Acumatica is set to provide a customer-focused set of guidelines it will use around the development and use of AI-related capabilities, Jani said. These guidelines are in the same vein as the Acumatica Customer Bill of Rights that was first published in 2019.

The AI guidelines are aimed at ensuring development is responsible by protecting customer data through data security and privacy measures; practical by ensuring capabilities are transparent and clear so that users are aware of AI's risks, capabilities and limitations; and valuable by developing capabilities that are driven by customer input to enable them to overcome challenges or develop new business opportunities.

New back-office capabilities

Acumatica also previewed new capabilities and integrations that are coming in the next release of its cloud ERP, 2024 R1, which is expected to be available later this year. These updates primarily focus on adding back-office functionality to the platform, including the following:

  • More timely and accurate vendor payments via the AP Bill Link in Proforma, a new side panel to view attached transaction images.
  • Parallel operations reporting so that manufacturers can better manage complex production orders.
  • Access to distribution requirements planning functionality, which can help nonmanufacturers manage inventory supply and demand.
  • A Managed Sales Allocation process that gives users more control and flexibility over the order allocation process for their customers.
  • General availability of Amazon integration, with new capabilities for inventory reconciliation and statement reconciliation.

Meeting and exceeding the competition

While most of the news out of Acumatica Summit 2024 was unsurprising, the expansion into professional services and the focus on AI are key for Acumatica to compete in the cloud ERP market for SMBs, said Liz Herbert, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"Acumatica competes already with NetSuite in a lot of sectors, and NetSuite will probably continue to be the most likely competitor as they further their journey into the professional services sector," Herbert said.

Although specific growth numbers such as current customer counts and exact revenues were lacking, Acumatica should also compete well in the market, as the company indicated impressive growth in the past year, she said.

Acumatica is becoming a real deal.
Predrag JakovljevicIndustry analyst, Technology Evaluation Centers

For Predrag Jakovljevic, industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers, the Acumatica Summit showed a cloud ERP that is growing impressively and adding well-considered capabilities that expand the platform.

"Acumatica is becoming a real deal," Jakovljevic said.

The Professional Services Edition won't be available until later in the year, so it's not big news now, he said, but it will be a good addition since Acumatica already has strong project accounting functionality.

The addition of the Professional Services Edition also means that Acumatica will be able to compete with professional services and project management vendors such as Certinia, Deltek and Kantata, Jakovljevic said.

Acumatica is well positioned to face off against NetSuite, its main cloud ERP competitor, he added. It has left NetSuite behind in construction functionality and now competes well there with Sage.

"Now they have real-time field reporting for construction, which is a big attraction," Jakovljevic said. "Field service management is also getting very strong and can be used in construction too."

Jim O'Donnell is a senior news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for TechTarget Editorial.

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