Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Rishi Bhargava, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Anders Wallgren

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, API Journal, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

ERP 2.0 Is Here to Conquer SMBs

Interview with Marc Kalman, CEO and Founder of BizSlate

Marc, Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is Bizslate all about and what do you do?

Kalman: BizSlate Inc. is a Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") that is revolutionizing the way small businesses manage their customers, vendors, orders, inventory, logistics, and their overall supply chain.  Established in October 2011 with a focus on helping small and medium sized businesses ("SMBs") solve real problems they face on a daily basis throughout their supply chain, BizSlate ERP is designed and developed under the collaborative efforts of a management team possessing small business supply chain expertise and a 17 customer steering committee comprised of small apparel, footwear, and housewares businesses ranging between $1 million and $200 million in revenue.

What are you launching ..... What is the biggest challenge you face right now in telling your story and winning over new clients?

Kalman: I am excited to announce the beta launch of BizSlate ERP, a SaaS that comes with a host of features designed to significantly improve order processing and supply chain management for small businesses.  BizSlate focuses on resolving the biggest issues that SMBs face, and which have not yet been properly addressed by other small business ERPs.  BizSlate helps people at businesses reduce unproductive time in front of a computer by improving accuracy, providing mobile access to real-time information for fast and important decisions, offering means of better collaboration, and incorporating extreme efficiency where businesses need it the most.

Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them? What is the biggest challenge you face right now in telling your story and winning over new clients?

Kalman: We help small distribution businesses up to $200M in revenue with100 employees or less, with the majority of our customers expected to have revenue less than $50M.  These businesses sell products and services to large retail chains and department stores, boutiques and specialty shops, and direct to consumer via online and catalog.

The biggest challenge we face with acquiring new customers is the fact that we are in beta.  It is typically an "early adopter" customer who is willing to give BizSlate Beta a try for running their company.  That said, we continue winning customers over incumbents such as Netsuite and SAP Business One during this phase.  I attribute this early success to our team's extensive knowledge of small business supply chain and operations, and working with our customer steering committee to hone in on what SMBs really need from an ERP on a daily basis.

I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends...

Kalman: I feel we are at the cusp of a wave where SMBs will leverage SaaS for core systems such as ERP.  It just makes sense for small businesses to take advantage of hosted solutions where possible.  Analysts across the board expect 20% compound annual growth for the SaaS ERP market, as it grows from approximately $1.4B toward domination of the overall $20B ERP market.  If you look at Gartner, Forrester and Aberdeen studies, they all show that small businesses are better off having an ERP than without an ERP.  SMBs demonstrate measurable improvements by reducing inventory costs, reducing sales cycles, improving collaboration and decision making, as well as improving customer relationships.  With small businesses being understaffed, employees working long hours, and each employee being responsible for up to 5 different jobs on a good day, it is essential for small businesses to invest in tools that maximize their ability to succeed, let alone survive in a global marketplace.  Software-as-a-Service gives small distribution businesses the opportunity to afford these enterprise class tools, provides a secure and redundant environment that is accessible from anywhere, and is the only clear non-disruptive option for keeping current with technological advancement.

What is the viral aspect of your product?

Kalman: Small businesses are hungry for someone to solve their biggest supply chain problems. We feel BizSlate offers something special. Something that no other ERP for small distribution businesses offers.   Other ERPs are either too complex and cost prohibitive, or if affordable they offer businesses little or no ROI.  It is not surprising that 50% of small distribution businesses continue using QuickBooks and spreadsheets even though they have clearly outgrown it and need something more.  Working with our customer steering committee, we've smashed the mold of old school traditional ERPs, and incorporate fresh ideas that coincide with the way small distribution companies operate their businesses.  We give them power...we give them efficiency...we give them intelligence...and we do this with a very easy to use, intuitive interface.  Word spreads fast when you finally solve the problems small businesses have been coping with for years.

How will you make money? What's the business model?

Kalman: We've created a model that is affordable based on a combination of price and need.  A one-person company can solve their distribution and operational issues for as little as a few thousand dollars a year.  As BizSlate's pricing is an annual subscription, the total cost of ownership is less, and becomes appropriately scalable as businesses grow and add employees.

Please tell us more about your product development steering committee. how do you compromise between commonality and differences? how do you get a consensus?

Kalman: Our customer steering committee is a classic example of crowdsourcing, where we use the wisdom of the crowd to aggregate large amounts of information in order to obtain the best roadmap for BizSlate.  We've also incorporated a touch of crowdfunding such that early steering committee members contributed funds toward development of the application.

Who are your competitors?

Kalman: We effectively compete with Netsuite, SAP Business One, Microsoft Dynamics, and Sage.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Kalman: Historically, ERPs tend to start as accounting applications and move forward into order management and supply chain, which are not their core competencies.  BizSlate's management team has deep domain experience working with SMBs to help them improve their supply chain efficiencies in difficult and often time consuming scenarios.  We've combined this expertise with the knowledge and needs of our customer steering committee.  Every member of the steering committee has been involved in helping to design and develop BizSlate, making it the first enterprise ERP for SMBs written entirely from the perspective of the end user.  The end result is a system that is designed the way small distribution businesses operate, not based on out-dated accounting-based supply chain methodologies.

How does your technology differentiate from the competition and can you elaborate on the different technology deployed?

Kalman: After we lock down the feature requirements with our customer steering committee, we invest a considerable amount of time collaborating on the user interface (ui/ux).  Gauging customer reactions to BizSlate in beta, it seems we've been extremely effective blending extreme power and efficiency with easy of use.  Something small business ERPs have been lacking until now.

What business or technology could yours disrupt?

Kalman: BizSlate is changing the way small businesses feel toward ERP software.  Value can be affordable and without being overly complex.  Once we address the core issues, there is no limit to how we can leverage BizSlate ERP to help small distribution businesses.

Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding?

Kalman: BizSlate was formed in October 2011 as the continuation of the vision I embarked upon when I co-founded my last company eZCom Software.  eZCom is a SaaS EDI provider that focuses on helping small businesses significantly improve efficiency and accuracy pertaining to their EDI relationships.  With a strong track record of helping SMBs improve EDI, we started receiving requests from our customers for help in key supply chain and operational issues for their non-EDI customers.  Based on customer demand and a review of the market, we embarked upon developing what is now BizSlate ERP.  In less than a year's time, BizSlate has been honored by launching at DEMO Spring 2012 in Silicon Valley and was selected as a finalist for Red Herring's Top 100 emerging tech companies of 2012.  The company has been written up in PCMag.com, Network World magazine, ChainLink Research, and a mention in The New York Time as an upcoming Netsuite competitor.  I see these as confirmations that BizSlate is on to something exciting.

As a company we remain focused on helping small distribution businesses succeed by challenging the boundaries of old school out-dated principles.  It is important for us to collaborate with our customers, as they know better than anyone what they need to solve their real and most pressing issues.

What is your distribution model? Where to buy your product?

Kalman: To learn more and discuss joining our beta team, businesses can contact us directly at 855-Biz-Slate or via www.bizslate.com/try. Qualified companies will receive up to a 40% lifetime discount in exchange for limited participation.  In the near future, BizSlate ERP is also expected to be available through VARs and the Intuit Marketplace.

What's next on your product roadmap?

Kalman: We have several innovative tricks up our sleeves planned that will continue improving the supply chain and operations of small distribution businesses.  While it's cool to connect ERPs to social media, there are far more pressing issues that need resolution first.

What else would you like to add?

Kalman: I would like to thank our loyal customer steering committee for their guidance and participation, as well as their trust and belief in our ability to deliver BizSlate ERP.  I would also like to thank our CTO Michael W. Park and everyone at BizSlate, whose tireless around-the-clock work with extreme passion toward our vision is creating an amazing solution.  And I must also thank my amazing wife Danielle and daughter Sydney, who have been patient and understanding while I am off saving the world of distribution.

Other information if applicable:

Partnerships, collaborations or affiliations:

Federal or state grants, contracts or awards received:

Market size being pursued: SaaS ERP is approximately $1.4B.  Analysts across the board are predicting 20% CAGR as SaaS eventually dominates the $20.3B overall ERP market.

Who are the likely competitors, direct or indirect? Netsuite, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP Business One

Is the company profitable?

Current annual revenue:

Website: www.bizslate.com

Twitter account: https://twitter.com/bizslate

Boilerplate here: The BizSlate Software-as-a-Service supply chain solution empowers small and mid-sized companies to compete on the global stage. BizSlate significantly reduces the cost of inventory, improves shipping timing and accuracy, and provides the monitoring and diagnosis of operational issues at a fraction of the cost of conventional enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. To learn more about BizSlate, please visit www.bizslate.com.

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel is a Tech blogger and Enterprise Media Consultant in Mountain View, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. She is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. She mainly writes about Enterprise, B2B solutions, social media and open source software, but throws the occasional oddball into the mix. Buy her a coffee if you like her article: http://xeniar.tip.me

@ThingsExpo Stories
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...