Choo choo! My son is all about trains these days. They chug ‘round and ‘round the track all day, going about whatever mission he has them on. But sometimes, he gets frustrated with his trains. He’ll stop by the station to switch out the lead car; and, not every one is a locomotive that’s well suited for pulling the rest. Other times, he keeps picking cars until there’s so many connected together that they can’t make it up the hill.
With the recent announcement that Activant Solutions is being sold to a private equity firm named Apax Partners, maybe you can relate? You might feel uncertain each time a new leader takes over, waiting to see whether or not they can pull the load and how they’ll go about doing it. Or, maybe with more companies and software programs added to the mix, you get frustrated about Eclipse’s importance in the line-up. Or, you might just feel like Eclipse is losing its steam with each subsequent change of ownership.
We understand. And, we feel your pain. But we’re here to tell you that it’s gonna be alright.
The Activant Eclipse software product has been through its fair share of change. It’s been tugged from focused ownership, to software giants, to private investors. And, now it’s headed for more of the same, but as an even smaller car on a longer train.
So, let’s think through the rationale: Why did Apax buy Activant and Epicor? We can’t expect to know the real answer, but the ERP Graveyard blog has some candid opinions to consider. They make some good points, and others are clearly based on their belief in open-source solutions.
If you look at some of SAP’s acquisitions, like with Sybase or BusinessObjects, we can infer that they’re interested in enhancing their products with complimentary offerings. Yet, when we look at Apax, we see an investment firm (vs. a software company) that is buying two huge players in the ERP market with competing offerings. That tells us it’s probably about money and marketshare; and, that the choices for buyers are getting slimmer and slimmer, as Thomas Wailgum points out.
While you may be thinking of jumping out of this moving rail car and becoming one of those buyers, you’re not one right now. You’re a user of a product that is once again getting traded to a new locomotive with an ever-increasing load. So let’s explore some ways these changes could impact Eclipse software users:
All three of these tracks lead us to the same station: no one really knows what’s going to happen with Eclipse. It is a time of uncertainty and it’s unclear exactly what this acquisition will mean for users. Now you’re probably thinking … “I thought you said it was going to be okay?” It is! In short, Eclipse will still work! And, this isn’t the end of the world. Here’s why:
Eclipse software has impressive capabilities perfectly suited for the wholesale distribution market. It is a program that can aptly serve the needs of distributors for a long-time to come. And, it’s remained a leader in this market in spite of the changes it’s endured. As such, it will continue to have a great presence amongst supply houses; and, Apax will have to pay attention to it. Some companies may use this change as a segue to a new system; but, the vast majority don’t have the resources or the desire to switch.
If Apax decides they aren’t going to actively sell the product or develop major releases of the software, there will still be new releases to fix problems; and, they will still support it. That being said, if the service or staff declines, or wasn’t up to your standards to begin with, you have options. Zerion isn’t affiliated with Activant (or anyone for that matter) and we’re not going anywhere.
If you’re so inclined, we encourage you to stay on board. We’re here to fill any gaps you see, or to provide stability in an otherwise unstable time. If you’re planning to move your ERP investment elsewhere, we have no ties to any vendors and we can help you choose the best product for your business.
Either way, we want you to know that Zerion is staying the same; and, we’re committed to maximizing your investment in Eclipse … full steam ahead! If you'd like to discuss this change or how we can support you through it, please contact us.
Tony King is the owner of Zerion Group whose roles include sales, consulting and management of a team of 12 consultants who work directly with customers to help them achieve their business goals.