Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Perfect Acumatica Demo

Quite often I have a questions about how to do good Acumatica demo. Here I want describe some ways how you can provide a demo.

What we need to provide demo:

  • Place where we can install Acumatica demo instance
  • Installed instance of Acumatica
  • Prepared demo data
  • Demo presentation and script
  • List of coolest features

Lets go through this points. We start with hosting and installing Acumatica and finish with presentation materials.

Hosting Acumatica
First of all we need to install acumatica some where. The only one requirement here is to have Microsoft Windows operation system. We have many options here:

  1. Install Acumatica on your local machine. This is most convenient way, as you will not depend on internet connection, speed will be super fast and you can do demo anywhere. Also you need to know that for demo purposes Acumatica can be installed even on quite slow machine. 
  2. Have our own cloud instance:
    • On our private infrastructure (private cloud).
    • On any public cloud datacentre (Amazon, Azue, IBM and many others)
    • On the AWS instance. I want to explain this process in details below.
  3. Do not forget about AWS Test Drive with Acumatica. Good way if you need to show functionality to prospect.
You need to know that for all demo or training instance you can use Acumatica in the trial mode. So you don't need to care about licensing and other stuff.
Also this will allow you to setup different versions, setup multiple sites, integrate customizations, install ISV products, and get to the root OS to make any changes you wish. Having confidence that your site will not be touched or impacted by others on a shared environment is also critical.

Hosting on Amazon
You have one interesting option, how to setup and manage a very economical instance of Acumatica directly with Amazon, which they fully control.  
Amazon has a new type of instance called T2 which automatically monitors usage and provides reduction of fees when the server is not heavily used. This type instance is ideal for demo instances given they do not get used 24 hours a day. T2 instances running Acumatica typically will cost between $30-$50 per month depending on amount of use. See this link or the details that shows the estimated cost at 100% utilization.
The whole process of creating your account with Amazon and setting up the instance to run Acumatica takes less than 1 hour!  
Steps are:
  1. Sign up with amazon: https://aws.amazon.com/free/
  2. Login to your AWS console and add clock on EC2: https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/
  3. Create an instance:
    1. Clicking the Launch Instance button
    2. Select "Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 with SQL Server Express"
    3. Pick the "t2.medium" instance type
    4. Click "Review and Launch"
    5. Click "Launch". (download your key in the process. This will contain your admin password)
  4. Wait a few minutes for your instance to provision
  5. You can now RDP into your instance
  6. Once you RDP in, set server roll to Application Server and Web Server
Installing Acumatica
Now we have environment where we can install Acumatica, but what else do we need?

Database Server
To host a Acumatica database we need to setup one of database engines (Microsoft SQL or My SQL). For demo purposes you can install Microsoft SQL Server Express, this edition will be free for non commercial use. You can download it here.

Web Server
To host Acumatica Web site you need to configure Microsoft Internet Information Service (IIS). For server version operation systems (like Windows Server 2008/2012 ...) you should install Application Server and Web Server roles
For home/business version of operation systems (like Windows 7/8/10) you should do it through "programs and feature"


Acumatica
When all preparations are ready, we can continue with Acumatica installation process.
First of all, you have to download the latest Acumatica version from Partner Portal.
After downloading you can follow with Acumatica S100 Installation Training Course.
But in general, this process is really strait forward - if you installing Acumatica for the first time you can just click 'Next' on each step.

Demo Data
When you have Installed Acumatica Configuration Wizard, you can isntall as many Acumatica instance as you wish. You can have multiple instances with different versions simultaneously.
On the same instance of Acumatica you can have multiple tenants. For each tenant you can insert different preset of demo data. Right now Acumatica has 2 different sets of data, that can be used for demonstrations:

  • Demo - old and well tested demo data where main legal entity is a company with name "RapidByte". It has several branches around USA.
  • Sales Demo - new and super well structured demo data set. It is ideal for demonstration.
I recommend you to setup one tenant with Sales Demo preset of Data.
Finally, all preparation ans installations you can launch your new Acumatica instance. Remember, that the default login is "admin" and default password is "setup"

Demo Scenario
Acumatica's best sales consultants have prepared a presentation with full script and suggestions what you can show. You can find it by this link.

Steps are in comments under each slide:

Also you can check other sales and materials by the link above, this can help you with specific demo requirements.

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