Welcome!

Search Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Jnan Dash, Shelly Palmer, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Search, Web 2.0

Cloud Expo: 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, Tech blogger and SVP of Transform PR/San Francisco- Mountain View. She mainly writes about B2B solutions, social media and open source software. Transform Public Relations is a full-service PR agency, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. The agency is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. Buy her a coffee if you like her article: http://xeniar.tip.me

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.