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Epicor Insights 2019 Event Report

Moving data from on-premise to the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) were two of the biggest topics of discussion at this year’s Epicor Insights conference in Las Vegas.

With at least 60% of Electrical Wholesaling’s 2018 Top 200 Electrical Distributors using Eclipse or one of Epicor’s other distribution software packages, the Austin, TX-based provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) computer systems is one of the heavyweights on the computer scene in the distribution market.

The company is constantly working with users to refine and expand the capabilities of its ERP offerings, and Epicor Insights, its annual customer and users conference, brings together hundreds of technical folks from distributors and other customers to discuss the latest system features, opportunities and challenges.

The nearly 4,000 attendees at Epicor’s Insights 2019 event in Las Vegas spent a good part of their time in the Mandalay Bay Conference Center talking about some of the biggest technological trends now reshaping the ERP market — artificial intelligence, the move of user data from on-premise computer systems to the cloud, and the increasing popularity of SaaS system offerings. Many of these discussions took in the event’s Solutions Pavilion, which offered in-depth demonstrations of some of Epicor’s newest products in its Experience Zone, and the opportunity for users to connect with subject experts on various features of Epicor ERP systems in several dozen dedicated booths on the show floor.

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The Solutions Pavilion at Insights 2019 was staffed with a small army of technical experts on cloud computing and many other features of Epicor’s various software packages.
 

Most folks in the electrical market know Epicor for its Eclipse and Prophet 21 ERP systems for distributors, but they may not realize the privately held company with sales of over $900 million also provides software for manufacturing (its largest business segment), retail, lumber and automotive supply.

CEO Steve Murphy told editors at a press event that business was good and that Epicor was making progress on two of its major goals — becoming the cloud vendor of choice and helping more users move to its cloud offering  built on the Microsoft Azure platform. Murphy estimated that 24% of Epicor’s customers are already on the cloud and that 76% had not yet made the move. Several seminars at the event offered insight into what users can expect when making the transition, and the Solutions Pavilion at the event was staffed with technical experts on cloud computing and many other features of Epicor’s software packages.

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Epicor Chief Executive Officer Steve Murphy said 24% of Epicor’s customers are already operating their ERP systems on the cloud and that 76% had not yet made the move.

A big product launch at Insights 2019 was the release of the company’s AI-based Epicor Virtual Agent (EVA), which will first be available to Prophet 21 users. Murphy said in developing EVA, Epicor harnessed artificial intelligence so that EVA can “solve real business problems better than a user can.” 

According to the press release announcing the launch, “Developed to execute tasks and recommend, predict, and adjust actions within set parameters, EVA appears on-screen as a virtual assistant that users can access via text or voice. Powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP), users can access EVA from their mobile devices and the agent will deliver targeted information to help them make better, faster decisions.”

It will be interesting to see how the company’s move to the cloud and customer acceptance of EVA progress over the next year. Next year’s Epicor Insights 2020 will be held May 3-6 in Nashville, TN.    

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