Epic Transformation: Epicor Retail Becomes Aptos
By Joe Skorupa
The transition from Epicor Retail Solutions to Aptos can be characterized as singular and seamless. It is singular because the new company has zeroed-in on serving one industry – retail. And it was seamless because Aptos executed a smooth rebranding plan that began when Epicor announced the spinoff strategy in mid-May and ended with the official launch on June 17. What will this mean for current clients and new prospects? I asked the new CEO.
If Aptos sounds short, clean and memorable to you, then you are in sync with the leadership team at retail’s newest end-to-end software company. If you prefer Epicor Retail Solutions, then you will feel some temporary unease until you ultimately forget the old name as the brand-building campaign and passage of time do their magic.
Personally, I like the new name except for one minor thing – it has an “s” at the end. Words like this, such as RIS News, create an inelegant possessive form. When I talk about clients, for example, I have to say “RIS News’s clients” or “RIS News’ clients.” Aptos will have the same problem, although with everything else on their plate right now this is the least of their concerns.
Aptos Day One
At 6 am Pacific Coast Time on June 17, the official first day of Aptos, I was on the phone with Noel Goggin, the company’s new CEO. I have known Noel for more than a decade and like many executives at top-notch technology firms he has moved from company to company without actually leaving. Noel’s startup company was acquired by another company that was acquired by another company and so forth. After each acquisition Noel not only survived but he took on larger and larger roles.
What’s interesting about this arc is that even though Noel is now a CEO, he is in many ways right back where he began – at a startup. Because make no mistake about it, Aptos has no intention of becoming a junior version of Epicor. It has a distinctive vision for its technology solutions, business model and corporate culture. And this means breaking with the past and starting over with a clean sheet of paper.
“Naming a company is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work,” said Noel. “A key part of our approach was to bring in our CIO council to be a part of our naming process and our transition plan. This worked well for us on several levels.”
“We knew we were going to go through a lot of change very quickly and we wanted our clients to be real partners with us in the process,” he continued. “We did it this way because we wanted to emphasize that we are more of a community than other software companies, we are more passionate about traveling the same path together. We want to base our brand on providing a good vendor-client relationship, which is really crucial today as the speed of change is much faster than ever before.”
After attending the recent Epicor user’s conference (where the spinoff plan was discussed at length but hard details were not available) and then talking with Noel and his team after Aptos was officially launched, here are my key insights about the new company:
- No restructuring of key members is scheduled to take place. To fill the gaps, hiring is under way. A transition team is in place to manage the split from Epicor and it is moving quickly. Many of the shared headquarters services have already been shifted.
- The timeline is moving at a rapid pace. In mid-May Epicor announced it would spinoff Epicor Retail Solutions, which temporarily was called Spinco. On June 1 Spinco was technically separated from Epicor and sales and marketing began operating independently. On June 17 the Aptos name was officially launched and the new website went live. The finance department, human resources and benefits will separate in the next few months.
- The new tagline for Aptos is “Engaging customers differently.” It is intended to refer to both how Aptos engages with its customers (retailers) and how retailers engage with their customers (shoppers). In a way, this means that Aptos will eat the same dog food as its retail customers, meaning that customer-centricity, the lifeblood of retail, will finally break into the vendor community, the last frontier of “my-way-or-the-highway.”
- A key part of the new corporate culture is that everyone in the organization's compensation model is aligned around the Net Promoter Score system. This means that compensation is tied to becoming a trusted partner to retail clients and the success of each project.
- The winning streak Aptos has been on (when it was Epicor Retail Solutions) includes major milestones that now form a strong foundation to build the new company on, such as being ranked number one in POS market share, possessing a tier-one client list that generated $532 billion in revenue last year, achieving 528% in year-over-year cloud solution growth, and acquiring two critical software companies last year that filled important gaps in business analytics, omnichannel order management, and cloud computing.
That's a high bar to aim for, but who wants another tech vendor in the marketplace that aims too low?