In January of this year I found myself alone, a long way from the ground, on a hot 100 degree Australian summer day. Yes, that’s me in the picture below shaking in my worn out running shoes. It is hard to see but this is no regular rope bridge with each pole dangling wildly from a rope with just a very small foot hold.
All rational thought insisted I ‘hold on’. Tight. The thought of ‘not holding on’ manifested itself in shaking legs, muttered cussing and very nearly a little liquid leakage.
I knew for sure that I was not going to fall if I hung onto the first pole, but it was clear this was not going to get me to the other side any time soon! One bad step would have ended in a 200 pound, squealing, weeping, harness-testing mess.
The theory was easy – hold on to the first pole, step forward and at the same time let go of that pole, planting my foot on a tiny swinging step and reaching forward to grab the next pole. Hold on, Step, Let Go. My concentration was focused on survival. I did not know if I could physically or mentally do this. After about 3 poles, I had leaned exponentially more than I knew going into into the first pole. I was still scared, shaking and struggling but I had a plan that was working. I was able to apply what I learned, step by step, to get to the other side.
We have been on a similar journey for 15 years at eOne. Our first step in 2001 was to build a solid VAR practice. To differentiate ourselves in a crowded market we grabbed the second pole and started writing product. The third step involved us launching as an international ISV. We could not hold onto the first pole (VAR) and the third pole at the same time, so we had to let go by selling that VAR business. The fourth step and pole vaulted us into an OEM partnership with Microsoft which we clung to for some time and are grateful for all the good that came from that relationship. That fourth step would only ever get us so far – we were still tethered to a pole and knew we had to keep moving. It was about 18 months ago, when freed from that pole, that we really set the trajectory for this next exciting phase.
This new phase for eOne will be to leverage the culmination of learning over the past 15 years. We simply could never take the fifth and next step if we have not taken steps 1-4. One of the great things that lets us go forward is that many members of the team that helped us take our first steps are still employed at eOne, so we are not learning the same things again, we are using our learned knowledge to do new and better things. We are very proud of our staff retention but more proud that we have the best group of people a business owner could want.
At eOne we have focused squarely on the needs of mid-market businesses for 10 years. What we have noticed is that the mid-market has changed a great deal in the last 10-12 years. In the early 2000’s mid-market businesses were looking for a one stop shop ERP that did everything for them. They wanted an accounting system that handled their compliance and financials but also handled payroll, HR, Field Service, Timesheets, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Customer Relationships and many more complex components of a business.
We all remember the days of trying to fit a single solution across an entire business. A one stop tool might be great for finance but not meet the needs of the manufacturing process, or it could be great at warehousing but terrible at reconciling financials. These projects often ended up very expensive as a large amount of customization was required to make it fit.
Now moving to 2016 that has changed. Mid-market companies want a tool to handle all their compliance and financials. They then want that system to integrate with their tool of choice to handle all the other components of their business. I call this choosing their ‘best of breed’ solution. So they will take a look at timesheet systems and find the one they like the best, the one that bests fits the way they do business (and comes at a reasonable price). More often than not they will choose an easy to deploy cloud solution to fill their timesheet need.
The same company will choose a help desk solution that suits them from the large number of available help desk offerings. They will choose a third party warehouse manager or a warehouse management system independently of their accounting system (as they should). They will choose a payroll tool or outsource that component. They will select a credit card gateway processing tool. They will select a CRM that is ideal for their sales team. A business will choose the best set of tools for them to use.
This leaves mid-market companies running a large number of disparate software tools. This means that data has to be either rekeyed or integrated. This means that reporting across all these tools get complex. This means that entering data into all these tools requires users to log into many different systems every day.
eOne is setting out in 2016 to take another step forward to help mid-market companies make sense of this complex yet very powerful and user friendly world. We are in the process of taking everything we have learned about Data, Navigation, Configuration and Integration and will be releasing new functionality that supports both our existing market together with a much wider audience.
SmartConnect: Is a world class integration tool. With the release of our REST based connections we are enabling customers to pull data out of any cloud application and integrate that with any other cloud or on premise application. We are building a library of integration templates that will make all integration just too easy. The end result is you can take the best products for each specific job and make them all talk together seamlessly, without anyone writing a single line of code.
Reporting: The one great downfall of many cloud apps is reporting. At eOne we currently use Stripe for one of our Credit Card gateways and trust me that it is impossible to find the data you need. Reporting is made more complex when you have data in lots of different applications. POPDOCK is a new product from eOne that is going to make sense of all this data from all the applications – for those people that need it to do their jobs. PopDock is SmartList Builder for any and all software applications. Just like in Dynamics GP you can link tables together with SLB, we will allow you to link applications together for simple access to data. This is not a BI tool, this is a data access tool that puts the required business data at the fingertips of the people who need it to do their job.