Martin Olsen is the owner and Product Director of eOne Integrated Business Solutions. eOne is an Independent Software developer that focuses in taking the ‘need for development’ out of software implementations.
eOne has worked closely with Microsoft under OEM agreements, for 7 years, with their SmartList Builder and Extender products proving amazingly successful. In 2014, eOne resumed full control for these products which was great for their customers, their resellers, their team and their bottom line.
SmartConnect is their flagship ISV product which delivers ‘developer free’ integration and automation to a wide variety of mid market organizations. SC has a focus on Dynamics CRM, GP and SalesForce.com – but fits in with a wide range of mid market applications and needs.
eOne now has sold more than 18,000 copes of its software products to more than 13,000 mid market companies.
The topics covered in this episode include:
- Dynamics 365 discounts for customers who switch from Salesforce, SAP, Oracle
- Panorama’s 2017 Top 10 ERP Systems Ranking Report
- ERP Value Matrix from Nucleus Research
- eOne Solutions
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In case you prefer to read the transcript:
Episode 56 Transcription
TODD Hello and welcome to Enterprise Software Podcast, the world’s first independent podcast dedicated to business applications. We provide news, views, reviews, and interviews for CEOs, CIOs, developers, users, and partners. My name is Todd McDaniel.
BOB I’m Bob McAdam. The views expressed by the hosts on this show are not those of Dynavistics, Dynamic Communities, or Website Pipeline.
DARCY And I’m Darcy Boerio. Links to some of the things we’re discussing today are readily available at enterprisesoftwarepodcast.com. Visit our homepage, click on any episode title, and you’ll find that episode’s specific page with all the links in the red “download audio” button.
TODD Happy New Year from Enterprise Software Podcast.
BOB Happy New Year, everybody. Hope you had a nice holiday season.
TODD Happy New Year. Darcy.
DARCY Oh, Happy New Year.
BOB See, we got that out of the way. Alright, before we get to Martin Olsen from eOne Solutions up in Fargo, we want to welcome a new sponsor for this episode, Episode number 56, and that is Acumatica. Acumatica is the leading cloud ERP solution for mid market customers and looking for excellent partners to represent their solutions. They’re 100% channel centric with no direct sales, no fees, and free training. To learn what all the buzz is about, dial them up at 888-228-8300. Or visit their website at truecloudyourway.com. Alright, so what’s in the news these days as we kick off yet another year of Enterprise Software Podcast.
DARCY Same stuff that was in the news last year, huh?
TODD Yea, seems that way.
BOB That doesn’t make Todd very excited.
TODD No, no. So I guess we can start with Dynamics 365 is running a sale, a promo, an end of the year blowout clearance.
BOB And what kind of deal are we getting here?
DARCY Everything must go.
TODD Everything must go. We got license, prices so low are crazy. Um, so they’re doing a customer switch program. So if you are running Salesforce SAP or Oracle and can prove that you’re running it and you make the switch to Dynamics 365, they will give you 20% off from November 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. So, there’s a lot of eligibility criteria you can read online about it. Basically you gotta have 20 seats minimum. It’s Dynamics 365 Plan 1 or Plan 2. Psh. No idea what that is. Go look it up. We were talking earlier, though. I mean at Salesforce maybe, but for somebody running SAP or Oracle, to put out an offer that runs for basically 8 months. I mean, it takes 8 months for those companies.
BOB Make decisions about stuff like that.
DARCY And back up just a second here. 20% off what?
TODD Well, yea that’s the other thing. Yea. It just says 20% off of the subscription licenses.
DARCY For how long?
TODD Right. And you’re still gonna pay full boat on all the implementation costs, um.
DARCY There’s implementation costs?
TODD Yea, I know. It’s crazy.
DARCY What? I thought you just went in there and started using it.
TODD Yes, yes. And it’s clear that this offer cannot be converted to cash, so in case you were trying to cash in those. In case you were trying to bring all those coupons to the Microsoft store and cash ‘em in, that’s not gonna work. So.
DARCY I could see a Salesforce customer could potentially do that because Salesforce you’re just paying monthly, essentially.
TODD Sure. And I mean I’m sure there’s good transition, good migration paths from Salesforce … and back. And for anybody out there who doesn’t know this, if you’re gonna make a large purchase from Microsoft, what is the best month to make a large purchase from Microsoft?
TODD No. You’re off by a month.
DARCY Oh sorry. June’s year end.
BOB June 30.
TODD Yea. June 30th is fiscal year end. So any large purchases from Microsoft, that’s the best time to make them. You’ll always get some sort of discount. They’re falling into that same pattern with this product. I mean, I’m sure there’s people that take advantage of it. 20% seems a bit low and it does seem like kind of a short time period for such a large organization to make a large transition like that, but.
BOB Yea, put it out there for a couple years.
DARCY If you’re already thinking of leaving Salesforce, there’s a good chance you might have been looking at Dynamics CRM. And so is this swaying your decision? Maybe it’s hastening your decision. In that case, but yea, so SAP and Oracle, maybe not.
BOB That’s a bigger deal.
DARCY Alright, well speaking of some of these other ERPs that we don’t talk about too much. There was a study by Panorama Consulting Solutions ranking the ERP vendors and they ranked Epicor as number 1, followed by Infor, SAP, IFS, Oracle, NetSuite, Microsoft, Sage, Syspro, and IQMS. So we’ll post that study, very interesting findings and what went into that, but nondescript Sage and Microsoft. I believe that’s just
BOB Yea, which seems to be typical in these things.
DARCY It does. We’ll see as we continue to discuss, but.
TODD Yea, the Microsoft one was especially suspect because it had the average implementation time for Microsoft Pro Access 36.1 months. I don’t know. Bob have you ever worked on a 3 year, uh?
BOB Yea, I think I would have been fired if I took that long. How about 3.6 months?
TODD Yea so obviously they’re rolling quite a few larger probably AX or whatever it’s called now.
TODD Implementations in there now, but.
BOB Or the POS applications. Or RMS, yea. Retail management.
TODD Yea, but 3 year implementation seems a bit long, but 1600 respondents to it. SAP came in at 34.3 months to be able to implement that, which was kinda interesting. And Epicor, 37.5 months. All those numbers seem a little bit high, to be honest.
BOB Sage topped the 40 month mark.
DARCY No, what?
BOB That’s what it says.
TODD 40.5 months to implement.
BOB Wow. That’s a long time. My kid’ll be in grade school by then.
DARCY Ok. Alright. If you’ve ever done an implementation on any of these products that’s taken more than 36 months, give us a call. We’d love to hear your story.
BOB And learn your secrets.
TODD You probably don’t want that story.
DARCY We’d love to know if you’re still using it.
BOB Or still employed.
DARCY Ok. So there was another one by PC Mag,
BOB PC Magazine.
DARCY which I think is a pretty credible source. I read their stories from time to time, ranking the Business Choice Awards 2017, Accounting Software and Services. And ranked Sage as number 1 for the Business Choice.
BOB Wow. Citing excellent tech support and functionality.
TODD Yup. So it was Sage number 1, QuickBooks number 2, Quicken number 3, which I don’t really understand how that’s business software, but anyways moving on. Microsoft 4, PeopleSoft 5, and SAP 6. Not a whole lotta space between the top 4, though, on their scale. 7.6 to 7.8, so.
BOB With a photo finish.
TODD Yes, pretty much a four way tie.
DARCY And I think once again, Sage is all lumped together, Microsoft all lumped together, even SAP has different product lines. You know, they’ve got business ones.
DARCY So you know, these studies again. It’s just, I don’t know.
TODD It’s almost like if you wait long enough, you’ll get a study that says what you want it to say. And then you can reference that and market it. Yea, yea, so.
DARCY The one that no one knows what it says.
BOB Oh yea, that’s right.
DARCY Is the final one, which is the ERP Value Matrix 2016 from Nucleus Research.
DARCY And guys, if you’re listening, we’re happy to have you on and have you explain the methodology here.
TODD Yes, yes. So this was brought to our attention by our guest, Martin.
BOB Martin Olsen, yes.
TODD We won’t tell you how he described it, but he had a very explicit description.
BOB It was not flattering.
TODD No. So we’ll post a link to this up on our website. There’s lots of dots and arrows and pretty much everybody’s moving towards the leader quadrant, which I guess is good. It’s like a vast migration to the leader quadrant.
BOB It’s a race.
TODD Which makes sense. I mean, that’s where the leaders are, so everybody’s following them into the leader quadrant.
DARCY Good, good. Yea, okay.
TODD I gotta become an analyst.
BOB Make sure you visit Episode 56 page so you can pull up this picture and look at it ‘cause it’s hard to describe.
BOB But if you’re looking at it, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
TODD Full disclosure, out of all these products that are listed,
BOB Every single one.
TODD Has an arrow going up and towards the leader quadrant. Every one.
BOB Except one.
TODD That has an arrow going backwards. And that’s Microsoft Dynamics GP. So it’s in the Core Provider Quadrant, whatever the hell that means.
TODD And it’s moving backwards. And apparently at some point, it and Sage will collide based on the arrow trajectories, some sort of billiard ball effect, I think.
DARCY They are kinda heading towards each other. Which by the way is all the Sage products in one ball. So it’s a very powerful ball heading towards Dynamics GP ‘cause there’s one ball for Sage.
BOB It’s gonna be a mass collision.
TODD Yes, and it’s a long arrow. So obviously it has some velocity. So there’s some sort of mass velocity calculation that could be done there to figure out what happens to Dynamics GP at impact. We’ll let you work that out, get out your compass and your ruler.
BOB They’re gonna birth a baby together.
TODD Something horrible’s gonna happen down in the Core Provider Quadrant. So, but anyways. So 4 quadrants. Facilitator, Leader, Expert, and Core Provider.
DARCY How can Dynamics 365 be in the higher quadrant for functionality? It’s brand new. Well, I guess it’s not brand new. Okay, nevermind. I take it back.
TODD But it’s the same product as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
DARCY Yea, how come that gets to be on there twice?
TODD Yea, 3 inches to the left in the Facilitator, which I don’t know that I’ve ever met an ERP product that I’d consider a facilitator.
BOB At least they’re moving in the same direction.
TODD Well they are, they are moving in the same direction. So we’ll stop talking about that for now.
DARCY That was fun. In other words. Okay, most of these survey are to be taken with a grain of salt or these rankings, right?
TODD Yes, like all statistics. You keep paying for them until they say what you want them to say.
DARCY Alright, one last piece of news, Columbus acquiring Tridea.
BOB Columbus on the acquisition front once again.
BOB Made lots of acquisitions past couple years and here’s another one.
TODD Yup. California based, says they have specialty in food and beverage and life sciences industry, 200 customers, and they have 29 employees headquartered in San Diego. So they will become Tridea – a Columbus Company. It seems to be kind of the new, so I get a lot of compliments on the hyphen. For all you Uncle Buck fans out there, you can look up that quote. But anyways.
DARCY Okay, all you Uncle Buck fans out there. Yes.
TODD It’s a great movie. So anyways, it did say that that has brought Columbus in the United States up to 27 offices and more than 300 employees. So they’re obviously becoming a force to be reckoned with.
BOB 300, wow.
TODD Yea, that’s what it says. More than 300 employees.
BOB I didn’t realize.
TODD Yup. And over 6000 successful implementations. So we’ll have a link to the article there and you can read all about Tridea.
BOB Time now for an interview segment. Happy New Year as we welcome back to the podcast Martin Olsen, owner and all around good guy up at eOne Solutions up in fabulous Fargo. Martin, welcome back to Enterprise Software Podcast.
MARTIN Thank you, Bob. Glad to be here.
DARCY Good day.
BOB Yea, that’s good. That’s good. Hey, for those.
TODD It’s like Bob with the French.
BOB My French is not good. Hey, Martin. We had you back on this program in September 2015, Episode #30. So it’s great to have you back. For those that did not catch that episode, can you reintroduce yourself please?
MARTIN So my name’s Martin Olsen. I am CEO at eOne Solutions. As you can guess, I wasn’t always in the United States. We were based in Sydney, Australia and have been an ISV developing products around Dynamics GP and Microsoft CRM and multiple other products. And I made the wise life choice to relocate to Fargo, North Dakota. So looking out my window, it is all white and about 5 degrees below.
DARCY Ew. Sorry.
BOB Wow, 5 below zero.
MARTIN There’s my story and life choice.
BOB And his family members still talk to him.
TODD You could be in an endless summer loop if you did six months in Fargo and six months in Australia.
MARTIN It is on the agenda. There’s the plan there.
TODD That sounds like a good plan.
BOB Yes, it does.
TODD Alright, well since you’ve been on the show, we’re gonna jump right in the deep end here. So let’s talk about the subject of most discussion for the past few months, Dynamics 365. Give us a little of your opinion. You’ve written some blogs and you’ve put some information out there, but tell us how you think that affects the SMB market, the SMB partner channel and just kinda the overall Microsoft Dynamics world.
MARTIN Yea, I’m bullish on Dynamics 365. I’m actually quite excited about it. I think there’s a huge amount of effort going into that tool. It’s obviously a very green tool, it’s new. It’s got some work to do, but I’m excited about it. As a company, we have retooled our integration software to ensure that it works with Dynamics 365 across the financials and the …. Our men are also looking at the operations side, so we’re certainly gearing ourselves to help our partners take on Dynamics 365, to be there, use all the integration tools that they’re familiar with and make them work on Dynamics 365. So I think that’s a great thing. What it does from the mid market perspective, I don’t think it’s quite as big a game changer as some people think. The traditional tools have been competing with each other for many many years. Of all that have survived, all have grown, all have done well. So you’ve got cloud solutions, non premise solutions, and hosts of solutions, all of which have existed simultaneously with different benefits, good things and bad things. I think Dynamics 365 is another player in that mix, obviously with a lot of energy and dollars from Microsoft, which should make it stand out and people will take a look. But at the end of the day, every company will make a decision as to what the best tool is for them.
TODD You’re on board, but you also know that there’s gonna always be on premises out there. You’re gonna see maybe the pendulum swing back a little bit over the next year or so, do you think?
MARTIN I think it’ll be a wait and see game. We very much sell, and always have sold, their products through our reseller channel. So we follow that reseller channel. I tend to find that reseller channel will follow the money. So where they can make a good margin, they can hit their sales numbers and that’s where they’ll go. So we’ll be there to support them. So certainly, some of the big resellers all jumped into Dynamics 365 so that’s why we’re there. We’ve also got a large base of resellers that are 100% committed to Dynamics GP and we’re gonna stick with them and support them through it. We’ve got those that are CRM focused. So we will be in the right spot to help them. So that’s our job is to make sure that we’re there to support all of them.
DARCY You mentioned a lot of your business is done through channel partners and Dynamics 365 is gonna be sold through a lot more broad array of different type of partners. So have you guys tried to look into expanding into beyond traditional ERP resellers?
MARTIN We have worked with a couple of them. It’s not been a big focus of ours yet. I’m waiting to see how that plays out. I have a theory that accountants like to talk to people that can talk debits and credits. I think financial controllers fall under the same boat, and they’re people that are heavily involved in our purchase process. So calling Ingram Micro and saying, “Hey I really want something that can handle the way I depreciate my fixed assets and get my company’s multi-currency transactions right.” is not a conversation you can have with a generic cloud service provider. Most people aren’t gonna buy an ERP until they’ve had that conversation. And so I think it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. And that’s where the end purchase will be made, if Microsoft has their way. But I think there’s certainly a level of indirection from the existing partner community that will have to take place before a mid market company will jump on board. I’m certainly for targeting low end if you’re wanting the backyard mechanic. That’s a different story. He wants to find a tool for his invoices, maybe schedule some resources and get the job done, but if you’re looking at the true mid market, it’s some pretty technical, accounting level conversations that will take place before that purchase is made.
TODD You’re so old school, talking debits and credits and fixed assets.
MARTIN And it’s an interesting jump from sort of that small business MYOB. That’s the Australian small business version of QuickBooks, which is Mind Your Own Business. But from that level, I find when you’ve reached the point where you’re done with QuickBooks, it is usually when you’ve just employed an accountant. So you’ve gone and got a full time accountant or controller, you’ve moved on from bookkeeping, which eOne did almost 13 months ago now. And the conversation changes, the things you need to manage and run the business is different. The reports you need has grown. You’re really at the point where it’s not just the purchase you can make off the shelf. You’ve really gotta take that serious step. And that’s a gap that I’ll be interested to see whether Dynamics 365 fits. Is there a gap between where QuickBooks where you have exhausted bookkeeping and a full mid market tool like Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, and NetSuite. Is there any gap in between that needs to be filled? We’ll wait and see on that one.
BOB I mean certainly Microsoft would love to put Dynamics 365 on the shelf and have you buy it.
TODD Best Buy.
BOB Yea. I mean, Best Buy is a CSP, right? And why not be able to go there and put it in your shopping cart and just go home and deploy. But you’re right. It’s more complicated than that. It’s not Quickbooks.
TODD That is a great dividing line, though. When a company employs their first full time, professional accountant. That is usually when
BOB That’s when it’s time to
TODD Quickbooks has kinda
TODD Yea, yea. That’s a really good dividing line.
MARTIN It is. I have heard anecdotally that some of those big CSPs are already sort of stepping away from Dynamics 365 because their first customers called and said, “how does that work with my month end accrues?” and started asking accounting questions. They have no capability to answer those. So it’s a tough one. You’re either up a sales channel that can’t hold that conversation, but we all know that’s a science that takes years to accomplish. So it’ll be interesting to see how that sales process works.
BOB You bring up an interesting point. Can a CSP pick and choose what products it offers?
BOB Yea? Okay.
TODD Yea, absolutely.
BOB So if they decide that they don’t want to deal with Dynamics 365 because they have issues that aren’t brought up, they could say we’ll just stick with Office or what have you.
TODD And if they’re selling enough Office, I mean, I guess Microsoft’s not gonna say, no, you can’t use Office because you’re not selling enough Dynamics 365.
BOB Not yet.
DARCY Not yet. That’s true.
TODD I don’t think that, I don’t want to say never, but wow. That’d be a different world.
MARTIN … CSPs. And we’ll need to work through that channel if that’s a model that’s going to work.
BOB Yea. Good point.
DARCY Alright, well let’s move on to something a little happier like dead puppies.
BOB Did you say dead puppies?
DARCY Martin is a great writer and on the eOne Blog, which we’ll link to on our webpage, Martin wrote a nice article called “Another Year’s Over, the New One’s Just Begun”. And he put some very great, very kind praise on his team. I thought wow, if the owner of my company said this kind of thing about our team, I’d be feeling pretty proud right now. So that was nice. I was curious about something you said in there about Smartlist Builder. And you referenced the path of the Free Puppy Designer. And I would like to see if you could expand on that for our listeners.
MARTIN I’d love to. Let’s touch on the first one and the team that I’ve got working around me. I tipped over my 16 years with eOne, LinkedIn reminded me this week. And it was kinda nice to get some comments on that from people that said, hey, you’ve built an amazing company. And in fact, one of our biggest competitors posted that to … which is a very very nice thing to say. But I attributed that all to the team that we’ve built. They do a lot more for in either direction than I do. On the free puppy one. It’s obviously interesting, we’ve had twice in the last couple of years, we’ve had Microsoft try and build some of our functionality that’s in our ISV products and give it away for free. We’ve always decided that we wouldn’t compete with free. That’s just too hard and we’ll do a really good job at what we do. So the first one was a CRM to GP and NAV connector. That one went, by the way, in 2016. Finally, they realized that it wasn’t working. It wasn’t growing and they canned it. So the second one on my list, and we always described it as a free puppy when people call us and said, “well look. We’ve tried to use this tool. Is it any good?” And we go, “it’s like a free puppy. You can use it, but it’s a lot of maintenance, a lot of hard work, a lot of looking after to make the puppy do what you want.”
TODD And it’ll bite you in the ankle.
MARTIN It will do those sorts of things, yea. When the first one died, we said we need a free puppy to talk about. So the Smartlist designer was Microsoft’s next attempt to try and match some of the Smartlist Builder’s functionality tools. So we call that the free puppy and we’ve seen through our numbers through 2015 and 2016 that our channel has sold as much Smartlist Builder as they ever did without the puppy being free. So we figure that 2017 will be the year when finally that might be the death of that puppy ‘cause it doesn’t get the food and water it needs. And Smartlist Builder will come through shining. So that was my prediction that the puppy may just die this year.
TODD Alright, so you’ve obviously been the long time, primarily in the GP world, but recently you’ve also kinda started diving into the NAV channel and the whole Dynamics NAV world. Tell us a little bit about why you made that decision and maybe some of the things you found to be the same and what you found to be different with that channel.
MARTIN It’s a fascinating jump and we’ve made those decisions based upon our reseller channel. So we support 250 resellers that sell eOne products. And there was a growing demand from those partners, saying hey we love your tools. We love the way they work with GP. We really want them to work with NAV. We’re starting to sell more NAV. Can you help us out? So we sat down and started building that tool. But the timing was kinda perfect because just as we completed our NAV solution, Dynamics 365 was launched to the market, all based upon the same architecture, which meant it wasn’t too difficult for us to also claim that we also had Dynamics 365 covered. So the timing of that was great. Although we’re really doing it to support our mid market resellers and those mid market companies. Just in the same way we built CRM originally and also added Salesforce.com to our connector base for an integration tool because that’s what our partners and their customers needed. The …? been great. Getting into that channel has been a challenge. I thought 2 mid market ERP companies both owned by Microsoft, being GP and NAV, would have a very similar process and mentality and people, but it turns out they’re different. The NAV guys have been so focused on development and whenever there’s a problem, we develop it. We write code. How do you solve this problem? We write code. So it’s kind of where GP was 10 years ago where we used to write code for everything that came along. In the GP land we moved on from that and started using tools. The NAV group now needs to make that sort of move. Interestingly enough, I think the Dynamics 365 tool is going to force their hand much faster than they have wanted with the changes to the dev environments and the fact that you can’t modify source code, that’s going to change it and their conversation’s gonna switch around now. And maybe it’s being in the right place at the right time, but I think SmartConnect and their integration tools will fit in there really really nicely as all those partners have to make a change given the changes to the core product.
BOB Speaking of Dynamics NAV development, just before Christmas, Microsoft rolled out some development tools quietly, at least I thought so, ‘cause right before the holidays is when people aren’t necessarily paying attention to that kinda stuff.
TODD You’re not on the right Twitter accounts and blogs and stuff.
BOB Apparently not. I was getting my Christmas presents ready and all that sort of thing. So they roll these out for Dynamics NAV and I’m curious. Some people are saying, oh this is not good news for the other Dynamics SMB products. And other people say that they’re just trying to reign in Dynamics NAV development, kinda like what you just alluded to there a minute ago. So what’s your take on Microsoft roll these out just prior to the holidays?
MARTIN Do you mean that tool that looks just like Extender?
DARCY Okay, I don’t get it. I’m sorry.
BOB Another eOne product.
DARCY Oh, okay.
MARTIN Remarkably similar. But absolutely, I think it’s very cool. That ability to create fields on the fly and drop them on the screens is something that.
BOB A novel concept.
MARTIN Yea, very novel concept. Um, but very cool. It’s something I think in that mid market again, and that’s where I think Microsoft’s a little confused between their low end small business and in their mid market business. But you certainly want to be able to customize those screens. They’ve put a model in place with screens with 365 that lets you do that without writing a huge amount of code. That said, on the demo I watched, the next screen was visual studio with screens of code. So it’s somewhere down the middle of you don’t need to be a developer but you kinda still might want to be to kind of make sense of it all. But I think it’s a really good step forward. It gets away from that whole issue with NAV of not being able to upgrade because you’re modified source code. So it eliminates that which lets them deliver that on a cloud solution. For that, I’m excited about. For it meaning much for the rest of the ERP space, I don’t think so. As I said, on the GP side we’ve had ways of modifying screens, changing screens around, adding fields with tools like Extendor for a long, long time. So yes, it’s a competitor, it’s another way of doing things, and they really made the NAV side look to me not overly technical, but it appeared to me to be very much like Microsoft CRM where you can add those fields and add them to screens, which is cool. Here at eOne, we’ve done that in CRM a lot. We’ve added a lot of fields to track the way we want our business to run. So to be able to do that in the ERP I think is very cool. A true developer that loves to write code finds tools like that more frustrating than desirable because it gets in their way and makes writing some of the back end code more complex. So it’ll be interesting to see how that one plays out. But it’s certainly a much better path going forward. I think they’re starting a lot of those ideas from the GP side where we used to add in a chunk. And we’d have an add on that was separate to the core. It’s really how that extension concept’s working with NAV now. So it’s somewhere between what we had on GP and what we had with CRM and put that together for a solution for NAV, which is good. If they’re learning the other products, that’s great.
DARCY Alright, so we talked a little history. Now let’s talk about moving forward. So you all have a pretty exciting launch coming. And we would love to hear about your new Popdock solution. So tell us what you can about that.
MARTIN Yea, I’d love to talk about Popdock. Popdock’s a new tool from eOne that’s still in beta and we haven’t really truly launched it. We have two customers using it now. One is us internally and one is an actual paying customer, which is really nice. It’s a brand new tool. We’ve taken the concept of a mid market business now, not just using an ERP. And you don’t just buy an ERP and use it for everything you use in your business. There’s so much data. I mean I get frustrated internally here by not being able to get access to all that data without remembering 26 passwords, knowing how to log into my credit card gateway system, my timesheet system, my ERP, my CRM, then log into the timesheet system, the bug tracking system. And it was so many tools, I just couldn’t possibly keep on top of it. So we’ve taken that concept of Smartlist which we knew all our people loved, which is list data. We decided that should be on our cell phones, on our desktops, or on our browser. But we should be able to point that at any data that a business uses. So we’ve built 52 connection points for Popdock now that says hey, let’s take a list based data tool and be able to display all the data from a business in one app so people can get their data. So it’s very different from a, it’s anti VI. I’m of the theory that business intelligence is beautiful. But only 2 or 3 people in any given organization really want to see your pretty pie chart. The idea behind Popdock is that instantly I can connect to the API that sits behind the application the business chooses to use. I can grab the real data that people want to see instantly. So the questions I’d ask Popdock are: how many items were on that purchase order? What was on that purchase order? Has that sale been processed today? Did it pass through the credit card gateway successfully? Has John entered his timesheets because he’s been lapse? And how many support tickets have we taken today from Dynamics communities? They’re the kinds of things I want to know every day.
BOB Wait, wait. What was that last one?
MARTIN They’re the kinds of things that people that work for you want to know. Very few of them want to see a pie chart. In fact, …? sales manager wants to look at pie charts and occasionally I might, all graphs. But I want to know the data that I need to do my job. More and more, we’re finding businesses are buying 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 applications and the sales team finds a new marketing tool they want. They put in Constant Contact. They put in Hubspot. And then somebody else is buying a bug tracking tool or a timesheet tool or Concur is an expense management system. And none of this sits in one big ERP. So the model is let businesses do that. Make the best of those products, but we’ll help you report on that all back into one neat, familiar app that lets you get your data. That’s something that we couldn’t do three years ago. You couldn’t do two years ago. But now all of those tools have an API we can hit. And APIs are exciting if you’re a programmer. And I know not many people on this call are programmers. So if you’re a programmer, that’s fantastic. We’ve tried to build it so you don’t have to be a programmer, but can get to all of that data.
BOB Yea, that’s neat stuff. I mean, if you venture off to Popdock.com, you go to the connector’s link at the top and you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff out here that we’ve all heard about, but I never thought about integrating together, you know. Linked In, Twitter, Stripe, Shopify. I mean, you can put all kinds of stuff in there. Post office. A whole bunch of things that people are leveraging and need to see in one spot.
MARTIN Correct, yea. And I don’t know about you, Bob, but I’ve tried to log into CRM the other day and know my password so I didn’t log in to CRM. And that happens with I don’t know how many applications. You go, I wanna get that. Oh, I can’t remember. How do I get into Zendesk to get at how many support tickets we had where they’re like, I don’t even remember the url to get to the eOne zendesk, let alone the password. But this will let me get all that data without having to live in that product.
DARCY So this is very clever. This doesn’t really, you could sell this to anyone. You don’t have to be a Dynamics user.
MARTIN Absolutely. So now first, we’re going for two target markets when we start. The first one is going to be the maker community. So we’re gonna take it down to people that are selling on Etsy and people that are using QuickBooks, or Zero in the backend. They’re selling on Etsy, they might be selling on eBay. They have a shipping company whose data they need to see. They want to get all that back into one spot. Now we found when we’ve interviewed a few of those people, they also were passionate about Instagram and hits and likes on Instagram posts. They really wanted to know what was happening to their Facebook posts. So we’ve connected to Instagram and Facebook and Etsy and eBay and Amazon. So they can say, how many orders did we get today from any of those sources? Which things shipped? Which things didn’t ship? How many of the people who bought today also like my Instagram post last week? And they start to put all that stuff in one spot. But not to sit back at the end of the month and go, hmm let me do some analysis of my pretty bar chart. Let’s get the data I need to do my job ‘cause I’m busy. I’m a two man company or I’m a four man company. And let’s get the data where it needs to be. That’s the model behind it. I’m really excited. We’re kinda coining small data revolution. So we’ve had big data, but we’re big on: how do you get the piece of data you need to make a decision or do your job right now? So yea, we’ll starting …? about the small data revolution shortly.
BOB The small data revolution.
DARCY Haha you heard it here first.
MARTIN We’re gonna own it.
DARCY I love it. I think I could use it.
MARTIN We can get you on a beta, Darcy. We’ll get you up and running.
DARCY Okay. You heard it here.
MARTIN Yea, I’m really excited about it. We’ve taken a different tactic. I wanted to not use the same old ERP brains behind it. So we employed a young team of developers. We’ve got an office down in Austin, TX. So I got a group of 23/24 year old developers that are building the product. Led by Andrew, who some of you know who has been with us for a long time. But really the core of it, and the inspiration’s been coming from the young millenials, really, who despite what the world says about them, they’ve been fantastic employees and have worked really hard and been creative and come up with some really great ideas, so we’re excited to see where it goes.
BOB Is there any special place you got the name from? Or how’d Popdock come up as a name?
MARTIN When you’re looking for a url that’s not taken, it can be difficult.
MARTIN So we kinda, the dock side was a place you can store all your data. So we’re gonna dock all our data in one location. And it’s a popular place to do it. So that’s after we found a url that was based on the English language. It was spelled correctly and made sense and we went backwards and came up with a story behind it.
DARCY I’ll buy it. Makes sense.
BOB Alright. Okay, well it’s been a while since you were on the show. So we’re gonna pester you with the three nontechnical questions. The first one is from me. I think we probably asked you about best place to eat in Fargo. So why don’t we go with best place to eat if we were in Sydney, Australia. What’s your favorite spot?
MARTIN Sydney, Australia. There are some fantastic restaurants down on the harbor that are fancy, but you’re gonna spend a lot of money there. I will take any Thai restaurant in Sydney. There is some fantastic Asian food and Thai was a staple. So I must have eaten Thai at least once a week with my family. And you can pick any of those. It wouldn’t matter. The food was fantastic. I’ll take a Thai based restaurant anywhere in Sydney. You can’t go wrong.
DARCY Next question. We asked you this before, but we’re gonna ask you again ‘cause people change and you know.
BOB Right. New listeners come on.
DARCY That’s right. So if you were not currently the owner of eOne Business Solutions, what would you be doing?
MARTIN You know, I had this conversation with my 13 year old son last week. And I explained to him that I would be a journalist of some sort. I’d love to take up some sort of traveling role investigating things that people don’t know about and then writing the story. I’ve enjoyed writing a lot more as I’ve got older. So certainly writing and investigating and digging deeper into the woes of the world would be something I’d love.
TODD So last question. We’ll expand this one since you got Popdock now and a list of connectors for just about everything. So in the entire SMB software world, if you could have a drink with one person, recommend having a drink with one person, who would that person be? And you can’t say Bob McAdam.
BOB Or yourself, for that matter. You and I are exempt, apparently.
MARTIN The entire SMB software world.
TODD You’re integrated so many places now.
MARTIN That is a tough one now.
TODD I stumped him.
MARTIN Yea, I think you have stumped me this time, Todd.
TODD For those of you who don’t know Martin, making Martin speechless, I mean I’m putting that on my resume.
BOB That’s a challenging thing to do.
MARTIN I spoke briefly with Ron Huddleston from the CRM Microsoft side. It was a a partner manager who I spoke to briefly twice in the last few months. One at the Microsoft Industry Summit. And then again at Extreme CRM, both on the west coast. I’d probably like to spend some time with him. He’s driving the partner activities inside Microsoft. And I’d be fascinated to dig deeply now into the conversations we had earlier, which is what we’re doing with the cloud service providers and would they possibly fit into the ecosystem to dig through the overlap between the mid market and the enterprises. I think those would be some really interesting conversations to have right now with Ron just on the way Microsoft are handling their partner channel and what they’re going to do with it over the next few years. ‘Cause given we’re being partner centric, some customer direct things coming up with Popdock, too, their partner ecosystem and Microsoft’s approach to where that’s gonna be in a few year’s time. That would be a fascinating dinner conversation.
BOB Yea, a long one, too. That’s a long dinner. A lot to talk about.
TODD Yea, that would definitely be interesting.
MARTIN It would be. So I’d pick Ron right at this point.
BOB Martin, we want to thank you once again for joining us on Enterprise Software Podcast. Martin Olsen, CEO at eOne Solutions. And we will see you down the road, sooner than later.
MARTINI will see you shortly. Thanks guys. It’s been great to be on.
DARCY Thank you.
BOB That’s it for this episode of Enterprise Software Podcast. So thanks for joining us today. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to this program via iTunes or RSS right on our homepage at enterprisesoftwarepodcast.com. Better yet, find the podcast app on your phone and search for Enterprise Software Podcast so that the latest episode always finds your mobile device each time we publish. Follow us on Twitter at EPSWpodcast and thanks for listening.