xTuple, All About the Cloud — Part One

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) held their All About the Cloud (AATC) event in San Francisco in early May. I represented xTuple, a member of the SIIA Software Division @SIIASoftware, at the conference.

At the annual honors ceremony, I accepted xTuple’s NextGen award, recognizing the company as one of the 2013 “Top Ten” most innovative companies transforming the software and services industry. More on the SIIA NextGen Awards.

Interestingly, I was also invited to speak on a panel with four CEOs of 'cloud only' companies, and we had an excellent discourse. I actually have a long history in the SaaS (Software as a Service) marketplace and was interviewed for my perspective. While the conference was called “All About the Cloud,” as pointed out by panel moderator Paul Clemmons of Deloitte Consulting, it was quickly evident that it really wasn’t all about the Cloud, per se, but that the Cloud enables things to happen.

When I started my career in the software industry, Cloud/SaaS was actually called Application Service Provider (ASP). I have a profound appreciation for the benefits of cloud delivery, and my fellow companies on the AATC panel had valid business rationale for being “all in” with Cloud-only offerings. I support that business model and was pondered the exciting Mobile Web initiative at xTuple.

xTuple’s comprehensive, integrated business software is growing rapidly. The ERP functionality has extraordinary depth and breadth in operations — from CRM (Corporate/Customer Relationship Management) to Sales, Inventory, Accounting and Manufacturing — which means that “Is Cloud right for me?” is an impossible question to answer with a homogenous response. Is it a requirement to have my manufacturing execution system (MES) in the Cloud? I'm not sure. But I do know there is a significant advantage to having my CRM and Sales modules within the Mobile Web release. This opens the opportunity for my sales teams to be productive on mobile devices, tablets, browsers or computers anytime, anyplace. We are all familiar with CRM in the cloud (à la Salesforce), and now with our Sales module, the entire sales teams can take orders from any of their mobile tools at events such as a trade show or even on the side of the highway.

In some industries and application segments, Cloud is a clear and definitive winner. In other instances, particularly with regulatory and other data controls, it seems that on premise or a private Cloud would be a better choice.

Where does xTuple lie along this delivery spectrum?

I thought about the concept of “delivery” last night as I ordered a pizza for my kids. Thanks to infrastructure and technology (i.e., personal vehicles), we enabled the pick-up and/or home delivery of pizza. Your only option before that, and still available today, would be to eat “on premise” at a restaurant. Imagine that. You can call, and it is delivered right to your house.

You have that option with software as well. You can consume your software from an “on premise” installation. And with technology and infrastructure improvements, now you can have “take-out” or “delivery” of your software, too. There are many times I actually enjoy eating in the restaurant — and times I want my software delivered.

There are times the xTuple business management solution should be consumed on premise. In fact, tens of thousands of companies around the world run their businesses on premise with the free version of xTuple PostBooks or a commercial open source xTuple Edition. We also see a growing number of satisfied companies getting their pizza — 'er their software — delivered: xTuple in the Cloud. We expect this trend to continue but not to be exclusive. In the ERP marketplace, the hybrid approach is very important and will continue to support the multiple delivery options.

Thanks to the team at SIIA put on a wonderful conference (Software Division’s Vice President Rhianna Collier and Program Manager Katie Carlson are awesome).

Marc O'Brien

Business Development at xTuple, December 2012 – December 2013

With a long, distinguished history in the software marketplace, Marc joined xTuple in December 2012 from Acquia (www.acquia.com), where he served as vice president and general manager for social software and Drupal applications. His rookie years were spent with Texas Instruments running the Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) department before he jumped into mainframe sales with MRO Software (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul), Inc. — formerly known as PSDI — which published Maximo, an Enterprise Asset Management system, since acquired by IBM. Marc also led North American Sales for the Scitor Corporation, then founded WebProject, the first Internet-based team application. He then co-founded cloud and open source technology company, Projity, which was acquired in 2008 by Serena Software. The company’s open source alternative to Microsoft Project, OpenProj (now ProjectLibre www.projectlibre.org), has been downloaded over four million times in nearly 200 countries, and Marc continues as project lead for ProjectLibre. Marc holds a B.S. in Engineering and Management from New York’s independent technology-focused Clarkson University. He is based in Silicon Valley, California.