The distribution landscape is in a constant state of change. Whether it’s the changes you’ve had to make to remain competitive in the past few years or the changes you’ve needed to make to survive 2020, your company has been consistently on the move as it worked to fend off challenges to business model, operating process, or margins.
Fighting against Pushback: Why the Last Thing Resistant to Change Should be ERP
But making these changes is rarely one of the easiest ventures. Pushback from employees who were not ready to adjust. Pushback from executives who didn’t understand the value of change. Even pushback from others in the value chain who might balk at changes to your new processes. But one thing that shouldn’t be resistant to change? Your business management software.
Unfortunately, too many legacy products are not only resistant to change, but they also end up in complete meltdown mode when even the most miniscule update drops. Why? They weren’t built for it.
The Legacy Landscape: When Software Fights Back
Traditional business management systems were designed to do everything—it’s why the word customization was used instead of configuration. Though the 90s did present an increase of best-in-class functionality, stability and comprehensiveness was the name of the game.
Could you get a solution that handled your exact needs? Yes—anyone with the time, money, and a platoon of developers could make an ERP do what they wanted. We launched our business in that landscape—and spent the better part of three decades being among the best at that.
But the problem with traditional, legacy ERP was that change is hard.
Updates Were Hard Enough—It’s Why They Were Rare
Proprietary code bases, brittle APIs, and a lack of connectivity were all fine in the 90s. Processing power was limited, internet was slow, and there weren’t a lot of third-party vendors who could help you do things better.
APIs did exist, permitting access inside the product in order to interface with it, but the process was flawed. Two solutions would use two different languages, and CUSTOMER_ID in one product could mean a completely different thing to the solution it’s supposed to connect to. The problem, however, was that their data wasn’t connected as well, so it took 50+ IT guys to maintain their carefully-constructed-but-constantly-breaking system.
But this was just in the day-to-day. What about the updates every few years? Those were an event—a marathon of testing, rebuilding, testing, and implementation that often took months to complete. And that was just for the core product.
If that product was connected to others, good luck—the marathon turned into the Ironman triathlon, requiring even more time, effort, and unique skills to make improvements. There’s a reason that many companies still manage their inventory and warehouse management on spreadsheets—because the incredible amount of manual effort is still less taxing on employees than that of constantly-breaking integrations.
Luckily, the software landscape has changed, making it easier to connect, update, and grow.
The Modern Business World Needs Resilience, Connection and Openness to Change
Today—and especially in the remote-work world of 2020—companies need resilience, not only from their people, but from their software as well. Brittle, legacy APIs leave companies like yours with broken disparate systems. But open, RESTful APIs can give you peace of mind in the modern, multi-cloud world. When put into action by the right partner (like Cloud 9 ERP Solutions), the right ERP can deliver both the functionality, resilience, and connection needed to future-proof your business.
Not Just One Cloud—A Technology Stack Spread Across Multiple Clouds
Today, businesses are moving their applications to the cloud. While the word is singular, the idea is not. There are multiple clouds, and businesses are running multiple applications. They may use Microsoft Office 365 for email and collaboration and Salesforce.com for CRM, Workday for human resources, and Acumatica for ERP.
That’s four different cloud services (and monthly subscriptions) to run a single organization, and more cloud services will probably be added in the future. Now, think back to the brittle APIs of the 90s. A one-to-one connector was bad, but try building six connectors to get all four applications spread across a variety of infrastructure platforms aligned. Simply implausible.
The Rise of Open, RESTful APIs
Cloud-built products were built for cloud-based needs. Companies in the space are happy to admit that despite offering everything—there are businesses with unique needs who might get more value from another. For example, a lot of ERP vendors deliver sales tax functionality, but that may not be as robust as a company who explicitly builds sales tax products. The same could be true for HR, payroll, or eCommerce.
Almost every business that chooses to implement an ERP solution also needs to use another application for their business. This is where ERP – such as Acumatica – needs to have a strong ERP API for integration.That’s why, instead of relying on proprietary code and limited data transfer, many cloud built products rely on an architecture that is open to integration.
Open, RESTful APIs are designed to use existing protocols, meaning that developers have no need to install additional software or libraries when creating a REST API.
Why RESTful APIs Provide Distributors Peace of Mind
As you look to rebound or even bounce forward in 2021, you’re going to need everything to flow in the right direction. Modern, cloud-based ERP solutions like Acumatica are built with RESTful APIs as a standard feature. This way, Acumatica can be connected to virtually any other piece of software in the world without the need for proprietary application connectors or custom code. The integrations are flexible, with the ability to adapt to new requirements.
Update Ready API: Cloud vendors update their products frequently, and there’s a good chance that the update is going to touch on some business process. APIs built in the cloud are going to be resilient and flexible, allowing these updates to take place (often automatically) with minimal downtime.
It’s Fast: Today’s distributors need real-time insights. This need doesn’t go out the window when you’re using a variety of products. Luckily, with each solution connected to each other and to the cloud, you don’t need to worry about working with out of date information.
It Facilitates Global Businesses: For global businesses, the need for connection is even harder. A business in the EU may need a specific solution to augment an ERP, but to work in Australia, the needs may be different. A REST-based API delivers the same development project for Acumatica and any vendor that connects.Cloud 9 ERP Solutions: The Right Partner to Get You There
ERP is complicated, but thanks to the cloud, implementing a solution is less risky than ever. These products are built to be flexible, future-proof, and easily configured, allowing you to capture more value than ever from an implementation project.
But just because a cloud ERP project is easier than a legacy one, it doesn’t mean that you can trust just anyone to put a product into action. Though many companies claim to work with distribution, it’s all about finding the right one for your business needs. Few solutions exist today that can handle both the financial and inventory management needs of companies like yours, and even fewer partners know how to deliver such a solution.
If you need a business management solution that can deliver for the unique challenges of the wholesale distribution industry, you need a partner with the experience and expertise to get you there.
At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, a Gold Certified Acumatica Partner, we have worked with companies like yours to configure and deliver Acumatica Cloud ERP, a product ready and able to handle your challenges.
Get to know more about how we work, who we’ve helped, and why we’ve been a leader in the business for nearly three decades by contacting us for a free consultation or watch our Acumatica Distribution demo.
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