Epicor CEO pledges major company changes to serve customers

Joe Cowan told Epicor’s Customer Conference in Las Vegas that the company is committed to major changes to its systems and products, to take customers into the cloud and become easier to do business with.


Epicor CEO Joe Cowan

LAS VEGAS – Today, at ERP vendor Epicor’s 2016 Insights Customer Conference here, Joe Cowan, the company’s CEO, addressed approximately 3500 attendees with a clear message that the company is adapting both its business model and its own processes to do a better job of addressing their needs

While Cowan is no marketing guy, he emphasized the significance of the company’s new tagline in reaching out to customer concerns.

“Our new tagline is Grow Business, Not Software,” he said. “I wanted a new tagline that is more in alignment with what we want to accomplish. Some of our employees didn’t like this. They said that we are in the business of selling software. But our customers aren’t focused on buying software, but on selling their products and services. That’s our objective, to make it so customers don’t have to be an expert in software and IT.”

Cowan told his audience the company is taking steps to make it easier to do business with them.

“We are making a lot of changes to be better providing customer service for you,” he stated. “We changed the performance metrics of our senior management so that part of their compensation is based on customer satisfaction. We are serious about it.”

Epicor is also making major changes in its customer-facing systems.

“We have multiple ways for you to talk to us now on our different products, and that’s not good enough,” Cowan said. “We need one way, where you can interact through one system for all our products. We are doing a major investment in EpiCare. It has been started and will be rolled out this year.”

Cowan also stressed that Epicor is making a major commitment to the cloud.

“When I came on board as CEO, we started talking about what we needed to do to be a cloud company,” he said. “We agreed that there’s always a tipping point, where once customers start adopting cloud it acquires unstoppable momentum. “It will happen differently in different verticals that we serve.”

Cowan said that their systems investments are a key part of their move into the cloud because they reflect actions rather than rhetoric.

“Anybody can say they are a cloud company. Anyone can do marketing. We have spent time and money improving time in IT infrastructure, looking at things like, what systems do we need to do the monthly billing some customers demand. Let’s make sure in terms of data centres, that we have the ability to support it. What about security? Customers are concerned about it but none can really spell it. They expect us to do it for them.”

Cowan has a long-term goal of uniformity across cloud platforms as part of this process.

“We started on this journey when I came on board,” he said. “Let’s be brutally honest. Some of our other products that are not true multi-tenant can operate in the cloud too. We want to make sure that we can support full everything at full capability. We want a solution that cuts across all our platforms. The amount of investment we are doing is positioning us to truly be a cloud company.”

Cowan said that this provides a way of driving Epicor’s many older products forward.

“We have 20,000 customers, and about 60 different products, including many older ones we are maintaining, and most customers don’t want to switch platforms overnight,” he said. “Where possible we are adding on next-generation technologies like ecommerce, mobile and BI to extend the life of those platforms when it makes sense. But you reach a point with 25 year old platforms where they need a path forward. So one of the things we are focused on is providing road maps for you to go forward, and we are working these in to support you, our customers.”

Cloud is absolutely key to these road maps.

“Everything is done with an eye on the cloud,” he said. “We have some multi-tenant products, and some which are not multi-tenant now, but all our major products will have capability to work in the cloud. We are committed to this direction. We are committed to the cloud.”

Cowan noted that over two thirds (77 per cent) of their customers are interested in analytics and Business Intelligence.

“Our goal is to make this much easier and simpler for you,” he told customers. “You need something besides just plain spreadsheets. You will see a lot from us here over the next few months. This is an area where we can add a lot of value to you.”

75 per cent of Epicor’s customers are also interested in digital – defined as mobile, social, and web.

“We are spending a lot of energy on things like mobile,” Cowan stated in his keynote. “We have had it with some of our products, but are extending it to other older ones to help you extend life.”

Cowan committed by restating Epicor’s commitment to delivering on customer-focused change.

“We are working on all of these fronts,” he said. “These aren’t simple announcements. We are making massive investments in systems and infrastructure. We are truly changing the way we do business.”