IDGNS: Some Epicor products are based on infrastructure software from Progress. Is the goal for Epicor over time to get to one technology stack?
Qureshi: We have a very good relationship with Progress. Literally thousands of customers across the company use either the Progress database or the tools and I expect that's going to continue for a long time. While we're going to continue to be a good partner and developer with Progress I think it's fair to say we're going to be strengthening the stack [relationship] with Microsoft as well.
IDGNS: What are your plans for enabling customers to run Epicor software on other public cloud services besides Azure?
Over time, I think people will be able to pick which infrastructure they want to go with in terms of the cloud. We want to make sure we get it right. We'll start with Express, make it available more broadly, and make [a SaaS] option available more broadly for other editions. Then we'll look to Azure for solving a lot of sort of high-volume deployments. Then after that, if we need to go to other infrastructure platforms, we'll go there. Right now the focus is, let's get it right on Azure.
IDGNS: Let's talk about a perennial topic that remains relevant for most ERP customers: annual software maintenance payments. What's your view of third-party maintenance for ERP, which some companies provide at lower cost?
Qureshi: There are people that do that. Sometimes they can be at a disadvantage, because they don't have access to source code. They tend to be more cottage. They may have specific expertise, and if they do so, that's fine too.
IDGNS: How are you giving customers value for their maintenance dollars?
Qureshi: When you sell ERP systems, let's just be very clear. They are complex systems and they're not simple to implement. Salespeople that say it's all seamless, it's all easy, and all this other stuff, it just isn't. It's very, very difficult. We're not selling toothpaste or a gallon of milk.
People don't want to change ERP systems. It touches every part of your company. So when you do change you do it because you have a compelling business reason.
When you install it, it is complex. You will be calling us from time to time on all sorts of things. We are your partner. That's the value you get from maintenance. Some of it is just help. Half the calls we get are things where people can look it up, but sometimes it's easier to call than figure it out. Other times it's a bug in the system. Third, we're continuously adding capabilities.
When somebody buys a system, they'll have it for 10 years, 15 years before they switch it. It's a long-term relationship.