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Last week, I attended the annual QAD Explore user conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Aside from participating in a lively discussion about issues in food and beverage manufacturing featuring myself and a few other analysts with QAD customers, I was most struck by the success QAD has seen with its Effective Enterprise initiative.

I’ve written about the Effective Enterprise before, but I think it makes sense to talk about this initiative once again. In short, QAD conducts discovery meetings with their customers, conducts customer vision workshops to understand the goals of the organization, delivers “Q-Scan” assessments (provides recommendations on how to better shape business processes and technology solutions), and then delivers implementations of new processes or functionality. This is done on a regular basis with customers.

I was able to sit down with Anton Chilton, Senior Vice President of Global Services at QAD. We spoke at length about the success of the project over the past year. He mentioned that QAD was able to meet with just about every customer over the past year in order to understand their needs. While not every customer necessarily needed to go through a Q-Scan, this is important for maintaining an ongoing dialog for QAD to better understand their customers, and for customers to understand how they can utilize QAD to improve. Still, QAD was able to perform well over 200 Q-Scans over the past year. These can last anywhere from half a day to six weeks, depending on the depth. By measuring performance in a wide variety of metrics, QAD is able to refer to process improvements that are mapped to QAD functionality and then implement those processes effectively. This also provides QAD with intelligence on how to improve the product. Judging by the almost 20% increase in conference attendees this year, I think that this initiative has driven substantial customer engagement.

But why is this important? QAD is establishing themselves as more than just a software vendor for their customers. As my research has suggested, software vendors should treat their customers as business partners. This enables the vendors to aid their customers in continuous improvement, which is extremely important in today’s business environment. My report, “Business Process Management: Looking at the Plan in the Mirror,” found that the number one pressure facing organizations is the need to innovate and update outdated ways of doing business. The same dataset found that the Best-in-Class are 52% more likely to utilize best practices provided by their ERP vendor. Additionally, the Best-in-Class are 113% more likely to be able to quickly tailor their solutions to adapt to business change. QAD is enabling its customers to take advantage of the best practices that they have identified by working with other customers. These best practices are then tailored based on its customers’ performance and needs.

The Effective Enterprise initiative is something that I will keep an eye on, and expect to hear more results from QAD’s customers at the next Explore.

Nick Castellina 
Senior Research Analyst
Business Planning and Execution
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