Transparency in the Craft Brewing Space: What is truly all in one software?
Our VicinityBrew team attended Brewbound Sessions Brooklyn this past June and Keynote speaker Andy Thomas, CEO of the Craft Brewers Alliance opened the event with some: “Questions, not answers. Thoughts, not conclusions. Observations, not opinions”
His first topic centered around being “trustworthy” and “transparent.” Raising the question, “are we giving the public the correct information?”
• What’s in the bottle?
• Where was the beer brewed?
• Where is the money coming from? And where is it going?
Leveraging the theme of transparency, we wanted to take a moment to help provide some clarity around the claim of all in one software for brewery management. What does this really mean? Are there truly all in one software solutions available that are brewery specific?
An all in one software really means that the entire environment and all aspects of the application will be maintained and managed by one single entity. The perceived benefit of this is that all of your functionality is delivered by the same organization. You have one organization to deal with sales, implementation, support, development and hosting.
This model of software development was virtually eliminated with the advent of the modern day operating systems in the early 1980s. Some vendors claim they are “all-in-one” when they are not. We do not feel that is an honest way to approach the market.
A truly all in one software solution is extremely rare because the resources required to maintain it in a competitive market far exceed the potential revenue of such an endeavor. In addition to this, when a software company is managing all aspects of functionality, it becomes more difficult for an organization to remain “specialized.” There just aren’t enough customers to support such a development model. Therefore, to this day there are very few ERP systems in development using this all in one approach. Instead, it makes more sense to leverage work that others have already addressed.
The misleading part about “Brewery Specific Solutions” claiming to be an “all in one solution” is that the brewery specific piece is not an inherent part of the parent application and by definition is not “all-in-one.” SAP Business One does not know anything about beer – it was only until a company wrote an add-on for SAP Business One did it ever enter the beer industry. This is not an accurate depiction of an “all in one solution”. Yet, some organizations’ claim one of their greatest features is that they are an “all in one software,” a claim that is built upon deception.
All the brewery management solutions on the market today are built to leverage a core ERP’s platform. This is the case of Orchestrated, VicinityBrew, Ekos and BeerRun. We all leverage financial systems to some degree. That is not an “all in one solution.”
In addition to the financial systems, each solution also leverages other 3rd party functionality to deliver great results for a reasonable cost. Examples are bar code data collection, warehouse management, point of sale, customer portals, business intelligence and software hosting. SAP Store, Microsoft and Intuit each have robust development channels as proof to this point.
Why are we all doing it this way? Because it makes sense. It is a way to deliver fast, high quality results at an affordable price.
Instead of telling you something that is not true – we at VicinityBrew embrace that we are using current technology rather than being stuck in the late 1980s. We also will not tell you one thing while doing something different. The next time a sales person preaches the “all in one solution” message, know that they are trying to sell a bill of goods that is not factually accurate. It sounds great – it just is not true.
Having a specialized integrated solution is not a bad thing–you wouldn’t use Excel to write a letter – you wouldn’t use Word to prepare a budget. So why do you think that is a problem for other solutions? It is not.
Having specialized integrated solutions all talking together breeds competition in the market and ensures that you get the best resources available to cater to your specific brewery’s needs. It all comes down to trying to boil the ocean, in the end there are only so many things one source can accomplish.
We at VicinityBrew are dedicated to honesty and transparency. That is not the case for all software vendors in the craft beer industry.