ERP software not only shapes your business today but also plays a decisive role in its future. The choice of ERP software is the first step taken by businesses that realize the necessity of digitalization and plays an important role in whether this future will be bright or not. Unit4, one of the leading ERP vendors, helps businesses get the most out of “today” while shaping their “future”. We talked about the new trends and opportunities in the XaaS economy with Dmitri Krakovsky, CPO, Unit4.
Could you tell ERP News readers about yourself and your role at Unit4?
I am the Chief Product Officer at Unit4, where I have the opportunity to apply my passion for technology toward building products that help companies run their businesses better. For decades, enterprise customers have been asking for flexible, light-touch systems designed for their specific needs, allowing them to move fast, be resilient, and be adaptable. These are the kinds of applications I’ve been focused on building. New-wave technologies – cloud, machine learning, micro-services, APIs – mean we have an opportunity to advance this goal in a major way.
How do you think service organizations are reacting to the new trends and opportunities in the XaaS economy? And how does Unit4 support them in their digitalization journey?
The pandemic accelerated the demand for the XaaS economy, and it will only continue to rise. In fact, it’s anticipated to grow 28.2% during the 2021-2028 period. The XaaS economy demands improved business agility, increased operational efficiency, and boosted employee experience. To deliver on these demands, Unit4’s cloud-based applications equip institutions to work in a responsive, agile manner, bringing teams together to meet rising expectations, without needing to increase the budget.
What is the key to success in the XaaS economy in which the constant focus is on customer needs and relationships?
The two keys to success in the XaaS economy are being focused and listening. Let me explain. As vendors, we live and die by happy customers. But we cannot be everything to everyone; instead, we must choose carefully and focus intensely on the customers we think we can serve exceptionally well. Our choice was people-centric industries, such as professional services, non-profits, and the public sector. And then we must listen – listen to their needs, understand their businesses, and recognize their directions, fears, and aspirations – to deliver software that helps them.
Legacy systems are not fit for the modern service economy and there are many alternatives in the software industry for businesses that want to switch from On-Premises ERP to Cloud ERP or start their digital transformation journey with Cloud ERP. Why should businesses choose Unit4 for Cloud ERP?
No one wakes up thinking, ‘Oh my, I would like to change my ERP today’. The replacement can be hard, complex, and expensive. One needs to have a real reason to do this, and we give companies this reason. Ultimately, ERP is the foundation for the future. First, it needs to be modern, future-proof, and technologically cutting-edge. Last year, we introduced Unit4 ERPx – our next-generation ERP solution, built in the cloud. Secondly, it needs to fit how businesses are run. We encapsulate the decades of our experience in this space to build what we call “Right For Your Business” software. We deliver thousands of best practices – functionality, content, user experience, regulatory support, localization – to make sure that to each customer, the software feels like it was custom-built for them. And lastly, it is not just about our software – ERP is the brain of every company’s IT infrastructure, and we connect and integrate it with many systems out of the box, in what we call Industry Mesh. Mesh is a set of flows designed to connect ERP to hundreds of different applications, from Microsoft Teams, Slack, Outlook to Salesforce, to very specialized, niche applications that various industries use.
Unit4 describes ERP as Experience Real Purpose. Could you explain this motto, which is at the center of all your solutions?
We describe ERP as Experience Real Purpose because our next-generation smart ERP software solutions are built for the people in the business of helping people. It’s not just about enterprise resource planning. At Unit4, you can “Experience Real Purpose” with an adaptable solution that’s right for your organization, now and in the future.
Unit4 distinguishes itself from many of its competitors and puts people at the center of the business. Could you share with our readers the advantages of this perspective?
“The people make the place” rings true in many facets of life. It’s imperative to apply a people-centric lens to the key components of your organization, as people are the most valuable asset to a business. Traditional ERPs have been product-centric. They have been very good at optimizing and tracking the flow of products, supply chains, logistics, and manufacturing; however, they have not taken a people-centric view of the world. Instead, people have been viewed as the helpers and operators in this process, but not the focal point. But for the modern, people- and the service-centric world, this must change. Modern companies need to shift from the ‘assembly line’ approach to business and be flexible and adaptable to the changing environments around them, whether it be its competitors, new business models, pandemics, or political crises. We believe that the products that enable this flexibility, both functionally and experientially, are the future of our industry.
Could you tell us about the advantages of Unit4’s intelligent FP&A software and how businesses can drive success using this software?
Unit4 FP&A has the same thread that runs through all our products – flexibility of core product combined packaging in all the knowledge we have gathered from our customer base. This enables quick implementations and customers can start realizing value very fast. What really sets Unit4 FP&A apart is the system flexibility and the self-service approach since adaptations in the system can be done by the users – no support from the IT department is needed. With fully automated interfaces to Unit4’s ERP system and the option to integrate any other data source, FP&A is the single point of truth for all Actual, Budget, Plan, and Forecast data. FP&A does not stop at fully integrated planning and forecasting, but also has rich functionality for ad-hoc analysis in deviation reporting and standardized, high-profile finance reporting. With Unit4 FP&A, users can focus on the valuable activities of analyzing deviations, gaining insights, and steering the organization.