As we continue our series of Partner Spotlights – a closer look at Sage business partners who help form the foundation of Sage’s distribution channel – we chat with Eric Frank, the CEO of NexTec Group, headquartered in Seattle.
Eric Frank is one of the founders of NexTec Group, a company launched in the mid 1990s by a group of professionals who were intent on delivering business management solutions of real value to clients by hiring a team of the best and the brightest, and creating an environment where that team could thrive.
NexTec’s mission is to help growing companies build bright futures with technology. It’s a part of firm’s DNA to want to help companies become more successful by unlocking the value and power in their business management solutions.
What key trends have you observed that’s had the biggest impact to your business in the last 5 years?
I think we are at an interesting tipping point in the evolution of business management software. New products are entering the market, or are gaining market share. Some of this is fueled by the evolution of cloud-driven technology. The trend toward the cloud offers a number of advantages to many companies, including the ability to allow users to access their business information anytime/anywhere from any device.
Another trend we’ve identified is a growing demand from customers for vertical knowledge. They don’t just want a GL, and AP, and an AR. They want a robust supply chain or manufacturing solution that impacts their business.
How does the role of a business partner like NexTec Group change as companies increasingly adopt cloud-based business management software?
Our role has changed over recent years, in response to the continuing move to cloud solutions. Once the business software is no longer housed in their own office, clients care less about where their business partners are located. Instead of locality, vertical knowledge is more important. It’s no longer enough to know the products inside and out, you have to have deep domain knowledge combined with experience to address customers’ unique industry challenges. This means we are doing more work throughout country, leveraging our vertical knowledge. We currently have clients in 36 states and in four provinces in Canada.
What are some common misconceptions you encounter as you speak to clients and prospects about a cloud deployment model?
The term cloud means different things to different people. There is a place for single-tenant, multi-tenant, subscription, or non-subscription. There is not a one size fits all. People want choices in how they consume and deploy. What is key, though, is that the solution’s native architecture is designed to take advantage of the new technology. Within that technology, people have options.
How are you adapting your service offerings as a result? What are the smart strategies partners should be adopting now to remain relevant?
Our service offerings have adapted alongside the changing needs of our clients and advancements in technology. For example, we offer both cloud and on-prem solutions because our customers want a choice. We’ve also develop and implement our own intellectual property – add-on solutions to Sage Enterprise Management and other products – because our clients needed a solution that wasn’t available on the market currently. I’d advise partners to follow the same path – listen to your clients, keep tabs on developments in your focus industries, and invest in new technology that will benefit your clients and target markets.
What industries or verticals are most impacted by cloud-based management software? And how does your firm support them?
Startups and technology companies were the earliest adopters of cloud technology. Distribution and manufacturing companies were a little slower to the table, but we see that changing. NexTec supports companies in all of these industries, and others, some of whom are running cloud solutions and others using on premise solutions.
Last question. Will we find the Pokémon Go app on your phone? Any other favorite apps?
Pokémon Go is not on my phone – not yet anyway. I have a 5-year-old, though, and she has expressed some interest. If I can couple it with taking a walk around the neighborhood together, without getting run over by a driver also playing the game – I might consider it!
Another app my daughter and I enjoy together is Starlight. You point your phone at the sky and it identifies stars and constellations. She loves it and I’m learning a lot too.