On day 2 of the Acumatica Summit, Ali Jain, Chief Product Officer, Acumatica welcomed the audience and revealed what is in store for the 2024 release 1 for Acumatica users as well as some teasers for the future. He first revealed the momentum that Acumatica has achieved over the last year, with 30% growth to 22,000 members of its community and a marketplace that added 40% new applications.
He also briefly explained how the company makes its decisions about what it developed. In the press release, he commented, “Our bet is on our customers, which is why we heavily weight our product roadmap in favor of their input. Our product managers visit customers throughout the year and use takeaways from these discussions to innovate our solutions. The priority we place on customer input reflects what we mean in our Acumatica Rallying Cry: Building the future of business together, which will continue to guide our technology direction and vision.”
Jani welcomed on stage a series of product leaders that showcased new features in the next version of Acumatica that would be generally available in March, though it is available in beta this week.
Joel Hoffman, Director, Product Management, Construction, Acumatica, revealed improvements to field reporting, with functionality now in the mobile applications making it easier for construction teams to communicate. There is also a new feature that assists users to pay when paid. Hoffman stated, “We’re introducing side panels into the pro forma entry and the revenue budget that’s going to help with the pay-when-paid process.
“Inside of the pro forma entry, now you’ll be able to filter and select the AP bills that you want associated directly with that revenue line or the pro forma in general. Because it’s an attachment right to the project transactions, you can even call up the image and see the image right there in the bill as you’re putting together that invoice for your customer. This will also extend down into any substantiated billing.”
Debbie Baldwin, Director Product Management, Manufacturing, Acumatica, reiterated the convergence of the industry sectors, where Manufacturers need distribution and even retail functionality as they adapt new business models. She spoke about the personalisation within the CPQ element of Acumatica that allows manufacturers to meet the personalisation needs of their customers.
For 2024 R1, she revealed that Acumatica would support parallel operations. Production orders can have parallel capability or the traditional sequential capability. It allows manufacturers to complete operations out of sequence or even at the same time.
She also revealed that to meet the requirements of hybrid organisations, Acumatica has extended phased inventory planning. Organisations can now select whether to use Distribution Requirements Planning or Materials Requirements Planning for their operations. It has also added support for both stock kits and non-stock kits within both types.
Kelly Squizzero, Senior Product Manager, Distribution, Acumatica, spoke about the new Whole Distribution capabilities. She explained the new sales allocation feature, saying, “You now have a consolidated view of allocations, organised by customer priority and order date. You can easily narrow down sales order lines using various selection criteria, like date ranges, warehouses, order priority and product ID.
“All allocations are accessible in one central place where you can view and make changes seamlessly. This new capability provides the flexibility to easily allocate, deallocate and partially allocate inventory. And you can now efficiently handle backorders within the same system, ensuring they don’t fall through the cracks.”
Perhaps the most impressive updates for 2024 R1 were revealed for Retail by Josh Fischer, Director, Product Management, Retail, Acumatica. He reminded the audience of the recently announced Shopify connector. He spoke about the flexible payment options now available in the business customer hierarchy support that allows manufacturers to support both DTC and B2B selling. The solution also now allows flexible customer-specific pricing. It means that the Acumatica Shopify connectors are the first ERP to natively support B2B on Shopify. While the partnership with Shopify is getting stronger it is the work that Acumatica has done with Amazon that is even more exciting.
Fischer spoke about the challenges customers face working with Amazon. It is easy to sell on Amazon and less easy to manage the back office operations. Acumatica has added a new Amazon Connector, which is currently in controlled release with over 300 customers, including a top 1,000 merchant on Amazon, GPP.
The new connector will import and reconcile stock levels from Amazon, highlighting any anomalies. For the early adopters, this has reduced the manual efforts from several person-days to hours. The new connector will be available in 2024 R1 as part of the core product.
New User Interface
One of the big things in the new release is the public preview of the new user interface that Acumatica has been developing and teased its Summit audience with for the last two years. Co-founder and CTO Mikhail Shchelkonogov showed off what is possible with the new interface.
The new design is adaptive, and users can personalise screens to meet their requirements. Shchelkonogov noted, “This new design is enhanced to provide better readability of the screens. It adapts very well to different types of devices. It will also have a completely new set of user controls that have been reworked for the new user experience and improved. The UI also has unmatched personalization functionality that will eventually allow you to modify nearly any element on the screen to provide the best usability for the users.
“We significantly improved the customization where we’re enabling multiple user interface customization for the same screen and even the same screen element. We’re coming up with a completely new technology where we replace the entire layer that is responsible for the user interface with a new set of technologies and services.”
Shchelkonogov demonstrated a scheduling screen where data content dynamically changed depending on user actions and allowed the user to drag and drop tasks onto a schedule easily. The UI will be available as a controlled release in 2024 R2 to select customers and will become generally available with 2025 R1.
Acumatica 2024 R1 is a huge update with a lot more features included than were demonstrated on stage at Summit.
Other features include:
- Approval/Rejection reasons for all financial forms
- Payroll PTO: Tenure, probation anniversary
- CRM: Case management SLA and closure
- Security: redefinition of “not set” permissions
- MRP: kits, exclude order types and inactive sales
- Field service calendar improvements
- Localisation improvements, notably for Canadian T5018 service/product reporting
- Calculation of taxes on prepayments
- Pacejet in core
- Shopify POS exchanges
Ali Jani also spoke about the future, with a lot of investment in machine learning and AI that has yet to be revealed. However, attendees at the Summit got glimpses of what is coming. Jani added, “With so much information available, hesitancy, distrust and lack of understanding of data have emerged, which shows businesses need better ways to approach their data and decision-making. This is why AI is so important for the future of ERP. Technologies will continue to evolve, allowing Acumatica to further enhance how we bring relevant data to your fingertips more quickly, accurately and reliably.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
An impressive keynote with a lightning tour of what users can expect in 2024 R2. The new UI looks promising, though customers will have to wait for another year before it is generally available. The Amazon connector got the biggest cheer from the audience. As Acumatica bases much of its development on solving its customers’ problems, clearly, the enhancements were aligned with the needs of customers.
There is much to be excited about by 2024 R1, and customers and partners will need to review the full release note carefully to see what applies to the systems they support. There was a lack of features using generative AI. However, with Acumatica about to announce its development principles, we expect further announcements later this year and some major improvements in this area in R2. It would have been premature for the firm to have announced them now.