“We are focusing on delivering a differentiated ERP experience”

Driven by the need of next generation requirements of enterprise users, Epicor is positioning its global ERP offering to deliver the freedom of choice, flexibility and agility needed to support strategic initiatives and lean out wasted processes in an organisation. In an interaction with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in Anish Kanaran, Channel Director, Epicor, Middle East, Africa and India speaks about the company’s strategy for the region and how it is moving ahead on a path towards growth and innovation.

Epicor-Anish-Kanaran

What are some of the big priorities for the company today?

Epicor has a long term vision for the Indian market. We are committed to strengthening our local customer base and channel community. Partner enablement and new partner recruitment is therefore very important in order for us to expand our presence in the large Indian market. This is coupled with rolling out new products as and when these become available.

Epicor ERP was officially launched in India in May 2011 and we have made excellent progress since then. Our customer base, made up of mainly manufacturers, is steadily and surely growing. Our plan in India is to establish ourselves as a key player in the manufacturing market and then build on that success in other market segments, such as distribution and services.

Globally, as in India, delivering on a differentiated ERP experience with the objective of making our customers‘fans for life’ has been an ongoing priority. Other priority areas include product innovation as reflected in the recent launch of Epicor ERP version 10, as well as recruiting new partners and focusing on our culture and people.

Epicor ERP 10 sees the introduction of a number of exciting new applications and technologies that can reinvent the way companies operate. Based on the five principles of collaboration, choice, responsiveness, simplicity and mobility, it is designed to help organizations work better, both internally and externally, leveraging the knowledge and experience of the people and systems connected together throughout the supply chain.

What kind of growth opportunities are being looked upon today?

In India, the manufacturing market is a key focus segment for Epicor. Manufacturing as a vertical has traditionally been at the forefront of technology adoption, it has nearly 40% adoption*of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. In India today, ERP forms the backbone of large manufacturing organizations. Industry estimates suggest that nearly 65-70% of large manufacturers use some form of ERP solution. The adoption rate of ERP in manufacturing is 50% higher than the segment with the next highest rate of adoption, i.e. wholesale distribution.

What are some of the drivers that are going to push growth for your operationsin India and other geographies?

For large manufacturers that have already deployed ERP, the need now is to extract the most from their solution (to enhance the customer experience, for example) and to leverage it in order to tap into the potential of trends such as mobility, social and unified communications. There are significant investments being made into extending enterprise applications on mobile devices. Analytics is another big trend that is affecting ERP for this sector. Real-time information needs are demanding more agile ERP.

All this is of course linked to the changes that arehappeningin the sector.  Manufacturers are now becoming increasingly aware of the need to enhance their customers’ experience. Customer experience in the manufacturing realm can be defined as the service level the supplier is able to provide to its customer, beyond the manufactured product itself. It includes, for example, the ability to deliver the right order — right quality, quantity, location, and due date — and the range of aftermarket services supporting the initial product.

In India the manufacturing mid market segment represent huge growth opportunities in the ERP segment. For the Indian mid market segment, there has been a constant rise in demand for ERP solutions largely due to the rising demands of manufacturing OEM, competitive pressure to drive operational efficiency, productivity and cost competitiveness.

Please share with us some of the challenges that you are facing as an ERP solution provider?

As a solution provider, our ongoing challenge is to stay ahead of market trends and technology innovations, so we are in a position to enable our customers to compete and succeed in the markets they serve.

From the customer’s point of view, manufacturers today have to cope with a volatile global economy, growing international competition, ever stricter legislation and new sustainability targets. Other challenges include rising energy and raw material costs, the impact of new technologies, and business pressures to reduce complexity, boost efficiency, streamline operations and drive innovation.

Our view is that the following five trends will have a great impact on the industry over the next ten years, and it is urgent that manufacturers understand how to best leverage these to their advantage.

  1. Targeted production and distribution, with manufacturers moving closer to their customers, wherever they are located
  2. Innovation and speed to market
  3. Focusing portfolios and production lines on profitable products
  4. Using IT and intelligence to fuel growth
  5. Turning industry wide standards for sustainability into an asset

What kind of customers and verticals are you looking at?

Epicor is a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations. With over 40 years of experience serving small, midmarket and larger enterprises, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP), retail management software, supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability

Manufacturing is the biggest industry segment for Epicor in India. With its extended manufacturing functionality, industry-specific features and a modern and flexible platform, Epicor ERP is the ideal choice for manufacturers in India who want to continue grow their business, both nationally and internationally.

Today a lot of CIOs want to keep their legacy systems in place while moving towards embracing next generation ERP. How can your solution help in this regard?

Today, company managers and CIOs are looking for ERP solutions that combine quality and reliability, with visionary technology that can help them meet ever changing business requirements. A solid ERP platform can help an organization not only reduce costs and streamline processes, but also increase the flexibility and agility that’s needed to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

With Epicor ERP version 10, we’ve taken our visionary blend of rich global functionality built on agile technology, and eliminated complexity to make ERP easier to use, more collaborative and more responsive. Guided by the needs of today’s users we’ve streamlined the experience across multiple devices and expanded the deployment choices. The result is an inspired solution that changes your relationship with ERP to drive growth and opportunity throughout your business.

Epicor ERP 10 sees the introduction of a number of exciting new applications and technologies that can reinvent the way companies operate. Based on the five principles of collaboration, choice, responsiveness, simplicity and mobility, it is designed to help organizations work better, both internally and externally, leveraging the knowledge and experience of the people and systems connected together throughout the supply chain.

With Epicor ERP companies gain a technology platform that can support them as they conduct business today and in the future – on any device, anytime, anywhere in the world. It is an enterprise solutions that support growth and expansion into new markets – regardless of whether that is within a country such as India, a region such as the Middle East, Europe, Asia, or worldwide.

What is your go to market strategy for India and other geographies?

India is a 100% channel market for Epicor, managed by a team of channel managers. Epicor currently has 14 channel partners across India such as Orient Technologies, Daksha, Corporate Serve and RheinBrucke. Keeping in mind the country’s geographic spread, Epicor partners have been strategically chosen to expand our reach so that we are able to support companies with branches across the country and deliver solutions through varied vertical channels.

We believe that a differentiated and enabled partner network is vital to its success and this will be our focus as we continue to grow in India We plan to recruit more partners and the goal is for us to have nearly 30 partners by the end of 2015.

How do you plan to align yourself with channel partners or SIs in India and abroad?

At Epicor, we require our partners to align themselves with our long term goals. They should be ready to invest with us, show a positive outlook to doing joint promotional activities and be prepared to increase their skill levels to ensure that joint customers get the best service possible.

Epicor offers true partnerships, often with some sort of specialism, perhaps domain or vertically driven or to cover certain geographic areas. This channel strategy is proving to be extremely successful amongst our partners. We have a dedicated Epicor Inspired Partner Network and members of this Network enjoy several benefits such as great margins, full support for the entire sales and implementation cycle as well as ongoing educational, technical and business development services.

Epicor actively encourages partners to invest in lead generation, for which there are various co-funding programs available, and training.This, in turn, helps them secure and deliver projects and business while also contributing to their bottom line, i.e. revenue. Our goal is to build strong, collaborative relationships with a strategic number of partners.

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