Alternative Technology Solutions: Bringing the Best of Cloud to Manufacturers

CIO VendorVivian Keena, CEO
After steadily growing in market share and functionality, cloud solutions are picking up speed with manufacturers. “A few years ago, running your company in the cloud wasn’t a comfortable place for most manufacturers because cloud solutions were lacking core functionality,” explains Vivian Keena, CEO, Alternative Technology Solutions. “This is changing quickly as solutions specific to manufacturers are now delivering all the benefits of cloud systems, including shorter implementations, reduced overhead, and a better user experience.” Founded in 2009 to satisfy the needs of companies not getting enough from their ERP platforms, Alternative works with customers and optimizes their current workflow. The company suggests the best cloud fit for manufacturers and introduces new technology where existing tools are lacking.

Early cloud solutions didn’t always “fit” the needs of manufacturing, while legacy on-premise solutions can be difficult to service and update. Alternative fills this gap by introducing cloud where it matters the most for manufacturers. Their iQ Configure, Price, Quote application is a response to manufacturers’ needs to quote complex products with complicated pricing. “We know manufacturers might price products based on Bills of Material or need to configure kits on the fly or quote custom orders every time they speak to a client—we designed iQ not as a one-size-fits-all solution, but with manufacturers truly in mind,” remarks Keena.

Connect, another Alternative point solution, plugs a critical gap in manufacturers’ technology needs by connecting any ERP platform to other business-critical platforms such as Salesforce CRM or an e-commerce tool. “Manufacturers need a true 360 view of their businesses, and that means accessing accurate data from any system,” says Keena. While traditionally ERP platforms have been the keeper of all data, with the explosion of CRM tools, sales teams need the same up-to-date information at their fingertips. Connect seamlessly updates data between key systems like ERP and CRM platforms, and ensures everything from order statuses to invoice dates to inventory levels is updated and accurate.
“Usability and adoption are the true keys to success,” asserts Keena. Many software vendors prefer to “give a man a fish” versus “teach a man to fish.” Eventually the manufacturer becomes overly reliant on the vendor and ends up calling the latter for every minor change. Alternative is building next-generation products that are easy to implement, use, and support from within an organization’s four walls.

Alternative takes manufacturers to the cloud

Alternative’s work with manufacturers and distributors spans many sub-industries including automotive and medical devices. “Our experience with manufacturers is deep and varied,” says Keena. For example, a large manufacturer that makes Hot Runner Systems for the automotive industry was spending hours configuring and quoting jobs using its standard ERP and complex Excel spreadsheets. With the iQ CPQ application, the sales team was able to bring down their quoting time to less than ten minutes.

In another instance, for a medical device company, Alternative leveraged the Salesforce1 Community Cloud and built an information-rich product portal that was shared by both internal employees and a vast distributor network. This provided secure access to information from one central, collaborative location.

Looking ahead, Alternative intends to introduce key cloud point solutions that fill in the gaps of a manufacturer’s or distributor’s core ERP system. “We’re excited to continue building our offerings so that we bring the best of the cloud to manufacturers and make technology easier to use and deploy,” says an enthusiastic Keena. The company firmly believes that if an ineffective legacy ERP product that is doing more harm than good ties down a manufacturer, an ‘Alternative’ is always at their disposal.

Alternative Technology Solutions

Aliso Viejo, CA

Vivian Keena, CEO

Brings the best of the cloud to manufacturers through service, solutions, and industry expertise.