Epicor announces reimagined, rebranded Prophet 21 distribution solution

Compared to the new Epicor ERP solution, which was just released to GA, Prophet 21 is less far along the development path, but the changes visible now from older versions are still significant.

NASHVILLE – Earlier this week, Epicor announced the release of its new Epicor ERP offering to General Availability. Now the company has announced a new version of its long-established Prophet 21 ERP distribution solution, which updates it and for the first time provides it with a Web application that launches it into the cloud. It is scheduled for June availability.

Prophet 21, which has been on the market for over 30 years, and which came to Epicor through its 2011 merger with Activant, has been remade before. This version, however, reflects Epicor’s recent cloud-first initiative, and their belief that while many customers still see no need to upgrade their legacy on-prem solutions, the future of the ERP industry is in the cloud – and in closer to the near term than the long.

“With Prophet 21 2017, the solution has been reborn, said Dave Getty, Epicor’s VP of Product Development. “With Version 2017, we are retiring the 12 series and also rolling out a desktop client and a Web client.”

“This is the biggest release of Prophet 21 in a couple of decades,” said Himanshu Palsule, Epicor’s Chief Technology and Product Officer. “It has been reimagined, rebranded, and is ready for the future. That is exciting.”

The Web enablement of Prophet 21 now allows it to run on any browser, opening up access to any device, anywhere, and greatly enhancing its mobility.

“We have been seeing a huge uptick in our distribution net-new business,” said Lisa Pope, Epicor’s VP of Sales for the Americas. “Industry challenges are increasingly forcing them to rethink what they are doing. The new release of Prophet 21 being web enabled gives a lot of flexibility.”

“Distribution is getting disrupted just as much as manufacturing – maybe even more so because of the Amazon effect,” Palsule said. While distribution’s demise was wrongly forecast in the 1990s during the initial wave of dotcoms – it has more than tripled in value since then – the cloud challenge today is much more formidable, and in some verticals like books and music, traditional routes to market have been decimated.

The new release also features a full set of APIs, designed make Prophet 21 much stronger by easily facilitating integrations, particularly to add specialized vertical functionality for core or adjacent markets. The plan is to eventually offer a software development kit (SDK) for developers, although that’s coming further down the line.

“A key part of Prophet 21  2017 was exposing the APIs while providing the technology refresh, to have more vibrant team of partners,” Palsule stated.

“The full set of API will provide a much larger set of web services than today,” Getty added.

Prophet 21 is not yet, however, as far down the development track as the new 10.1.600 version of Epicor ERP.

“Some of it is just timing,” Palsule said. “Epicor ERP’s journey started earlier. We rearchitected it when we moved from Version 9 to  Version 10, and now with the move from 10.1.500 to 10.1.600, you see the reality of those benefits. Prophet 21 just completed that rearchitecture journey. Now we have a Web browser for all the screens. Next year you will see the realization of that value, like you do now with Epicor ERP, and then Eclipse is the next on the journey for that.”

One new feature that Prophet 21 already has, however, is a new Dedicated Tenancy cloud deployment option, which the company heralded as a game changing feature of the new Epicor ERP release. While multi-tenancy puts clients on the same application server and the same database, Dedicated Tenancy gives each client their own database, with the dynamic elasticity and cost benefits of shared application servers.

Prophet 21 is also the next Epicor offering scheduled to benefit from the January 2017 acquisition of enterprise content management provider DocStar, whose document management and process automation capabilities have already been integrated into Epicor ERP.

Finally, Prophet 21 is also now going to market in Canada and Latin America more broadly. While Epicor has historically sold the solution only direct, early this year in Canada and Latin America it was opened up to channel partners. Making it available to partners in the U.S. is now under active consideration.