Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 QAD Explore user conference to learn more about the company's latest product releases, its future technology roadmap, and the current state of the company in terms of emerging themes and agendas for the upcoming year. A short summary highlighting several of the major announcements is included below.
More than 600 attended the 2013 QAD Explore Customer Conference held in San Antonio, TX on May 6th - 9th, 2013, with nearly half of the participants attending for the first time. Compared to previous years, attendance was up and included a higher percentage of global customers, especially from QAD's Asia/Pacific customer community.
The overall theme of the conference, "The Building Blocks of the Effective Enterprise" was kicked off by Chief Marketing Officer, Gordon Fleming, noting that QAD's goal is "to help every single customer in the world to become an effective enterprise -- one in which every business process is working at peak efficiency and is perfectly aligned to its strategic goals."
CEO, Karl Lopker followed, citing a generally positive view of the company's financials and growth opportunities worldwide. From a global business perspective, Lopker was upbeat about signs of recovery in the U.S. and about growth in its Asia/Pacific business, while noting some concerns about continuing weak economic conditions in Europe.
Taking the steps necessary to build out its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) portfolio, Lopker also noted that QAD made several strategic acquisitions during the past year, including DynaSys for Master Planning (Network and Inventory Optimization), and CEBOS for Quality Management. With the availability of the resulting new products, scheduled for release in September, customers will now be able to gain access to a full suite of ERP offerings directly from QAD.
Upgrades and Enhancements
In particular, QAD Enterprise Applications 2013 will feature numerous new capabilities and enhancements, including:
- support for a mobile strategy
- better financial tools for its global customers
- embedded BPM (business process management) across platforms
- improved usability, especially through the use of role-based interactions
- better quality management and quality control
New Building Blocks
In supporting its vision to "Build a More Effective Enterprise," the company also introduced a new modular component architecture, which allows users to add or upgrade individual ERP components or applications, as needed. This modular approach, paired with the company's "Easy On-Boarding" implementation initiative, seems ideally suited to a manufacturing user community that appreciates both simplicity and cost-effectiveness. As one customer noted, "The modular component aspect of QAD's expanding product offering is my most significant takeaway from QAD Explore."
Overall, business within the QAD customer base appears relatively strong and healthy, and ongoing investment in QAD tools seems likely. The company's ongoing commitment to the usability, affordability, and performance of its ERP applications, along with its focus on seeking to meet the changing information needs of today's global manufacturers are key strengths. I was also encouraged to learn about the company's mobile strategy and ongoing support for its On-Demand (cloud-based) offerings. Taking all of these factors into account, and based on further in-depth discussions with both customers and leadership within the organization, I feel optimistic regarding the direction of QAD and its related technology roadmap. I'll follow up with more analysis and details in an upcoming Perspective.
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