Man of the Moment: One-on-One With Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill

By TC Doyle Comments
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T.C. DoyleImagine being asked to run a promising technology company. Its mission: Bring industrial-strength, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to an entire new set of customers via the cloud.

Before accepting this assignment, you begin your homework. First you check to see if the market opportunity is large enough to satisfy your ambitions. (In this case, the total addressable market (TAM) could be in the billions of dollars.) You then check to make sure the technology is competitive and well developed. (It is, you discover.)

Then you inquire about the company’s go-to-market strategy. When you dig deep, you find out that the promising company is eager to embrace the channel, which meshes nicely with your perspective and experience. In fact, the company wants 100 percent of its business to go through partners. Great, you say: How many do you have?

Acumatica's Jon RoskillThis is essentially what happened to Jon Roskill, the newly hired CEO of cloud ERP provider Acumatica. In October 2013, he left Microsoft after more than 20 years. His last assignment: corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group. After considering his options, the former head of the world’s largest partner organization decided in early March to accept an offer to be the CEO of Kirkland, Wash., company that has just 270 partners.

“When I thought about when I was the most happiest and most excited about coming to work, it was really in the very early days of Microsoft," he said.

Though it was founded in 2007, Acumatica feels like a startup in many ways; for example, the company has no partner in New York City. Instead, the nation’s single, largest market opportunity is being addressed by a partner based one state away in New Jersey.

Channel Partners caught up with Roskill in between meetings in Dallas, where he was on the ground wooing business allies. Recruitment, enablement and rewards, he said, are all high on his list of priorities. So are product development, customer satisfaction and more. He is a busy man, in other words.

In this wide-ranging interview, Roskill discusses Acumatica’s opportunities, market penetration and business challenges.

Channel Partners: What attracted you to Acumatica?

Jon Roskill: For me, it fits extremely well with what I was looking for. I believe we are in the middle of this big transition to cloud computing, which is a fundamental technology step-change. What I wanted was to be able to go with a company that is building stuff for the cloud and mobile. I’m fundamentally a business software guy; I’m not a consumer person. And everything that I have done has been with and through partners. So the Acumatica opportunity is getting to work with something that is 100 percent channel-oriented and [cloud.]

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