Epicor has announced the latest version of iScala at Epicor Insights this week. iScala is generally sold in the Europe, Africa the Middle East and Asia. It targets small to mid-sized organisations and provides a full ERP solution for a number of verticals. The new version will be available on April 25th. There are several key areas in which Epicor has improved the product.
Updates to iScala include
- Usability improvements: In line with its overall UI strategy, iScala has begun to be Kineticized. This means that many of the screens now have a mobile ready responsive design. The screens have been redesigned allowing customers to see the key information they want at that given point in time. It is a change from the often-cluttered legacy solutions. The latest update includes access to additional videos; Training on Demand videos that are delivered from the online Epicor Learning Center.
- Better reporting and analytics: Epicor has invested in reporting services for iScala. this is more than just better internal reporting, it has added new customizable SQL server reporting services. Access via a web browser means that enables users can access them at any time. Epicor Data Analytics (EDA) is also now available to iScala users. The availability of EDA for iScala means that customers who adopt it have a tool that is a step change in the business intelligence that is available to iScala users. More importantly is that it is where the majority of investment into BI is likely to go in the future. EDA provides users with customized dashboards and views into business data on their chosen device. As it is delivered as a cloud service it is also available at any time, any place on any device.
- Localisations: iScala is one of the most internationalized products in the Epicor portfolio. This release extends that, increasing compliance in certain countries. Enterprise Times spoke to Scott Hays who highlighted four of the functional improvements:
- Supplier Status to support GDPR requirements
- PEPPOL support for Sweden
- First Event Taxation for Baltic
- UK MTD. It is currently available separately from iScala 3.3, without charge and planned for inclusion in 3.4.
Customer driven enhancements
Epicor is one of several vendors that focus its development efforts on customer feedback. There are positives to this. It both helps to increase customer satisfaction and enables it to compete effectively in its chosen vertical markets. In this instance, that focus seems less on improving the specific industry functionality and more on the areas that add value in a more general way.
Nina Domingo, Director of Product Management. “Better reporting capability was a top customer request in the Epicor Voice of the Customer Survey in 2018 and 2019. Responding to that, and working in close collaboration with the user community, Epicor continues to move iScala forward in line with the needs of modern businesses seeking to thrive and survive in an increasingly competitive digitalized age.”
It is an approach that will help to win the hearts of existing customers. There is a risk that Epicor is less innovative than its competitors and does not strengthen its product in adjacent verticals. This could mean possibly missing out on opportunities. However, once it has completed its matrix strategy of weaving in horizontal functionality such as analytics, training and AI, it will be in a better position to extend that industry functionality to other verticals.
At the end of the day the customers seem content. Epicor has seen an increase in customer satisfaction of around 10% in the last three years. Magnus Hanssen, global systems and security manager, HMS Industrial Networks commented: “The introduction of standardized reporting tools and the ability to include extended data from the iScala database will streamline our ability to create reports and documents from the ERP system,” said. “All in all, we believe this release represents a great step forward for Epicor iScala.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
The Epicor strategy of focusing on bringing additional functionality in a common fashion across its product portfolio is starting to reach fulfilment. The integration of Epicor Data Analytics gives customers access to a full modern analytics engine that can deliver value. That it has also improved the reporting capability of the core product will also please those users that are unable to afford the additional module.
In time, Epicor will make available further products in its portfolio to iScala users. Whether it will be at a price point that is attractive to iScala users may be a challenge though.