The enterprise application market has seen significant consolidation over recent years, and the different software vendors have been juggling for position. One vendor that has been quietly getting on with things is Epicor, which claims to be the seventh largest player in the market now, helped by the recent consolidation at the top of the market.
An interesting fact about the company is that it is now a player in the retail sector, following the acquisition of CRS Retail Systems last year. Although the retail sector is competitive, with both SAP and Oracle having made acquisitions to buy their way into that market as well, Epicor’s focus here has been very much on specialist retailers (it has fashion brand Ann Taylor, Foot Locker, and Borders on its client list).
Retailers can see technology as a differentiator, especially if it is flexible and can support how they want to work today and in the future. Interestingly, most of this business to date has been separate from Epicor’s back-office applications – Vantage and Scala.
Epicor’s strategy of supporting customers of all sizes across the entire market looks to be paying off – it can happily deal with relatively small, medium, and large clients via its multi-channel approach, and revenues have been growing solidly year on year. During the last financial year, revenues increased by 26%, and the company claims 179 new customers – a good record in a market where customers can take a long time to make up their minds.
Equally, the company has not overlooked the ongoing development of its applications, which are mostly based on Microsoft .NET. Indeed, there have been some 30 product upgrades over the year.
In future, we are likely to see an increased emphasis on the Epicor brand, with dwindling focus on the older product names, although there are still likely to be three main product lines – manufacturing (currently supported by the Vantage product), industrial organizations (iScala), and services (Enterprise), in addition to its Clientele CRM product.
It is likely that the retail product will be integrated with an appropriate back-office financial application before long, and its analytical capability may well be made so that existing applications can take advantage of it. Its service-oriented architecture approach to development supports this well, especially since the solutions can take advantage of enhancements to the underlying .NET framework and infrastructure.
The company’s Microsoft partnering strategy could be interesting in the longer term – with Microsoft itself becoming a more aggressive player in the market with its Dynamics product range. However, the enterprise applications market is probably large enough for half a dozen Microsoft-based vendors in addition to the giant itself.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)