Vibhu Kapoor, Regional Vice President - Middle East, Africa & India, Epicor

As regional vice president for the Middle East, Africa, and India, Vibhu’s responsibilities include regional sales management, overseeing business operations, leading teams, and bringing in vital growth in key target regions, focused industries whilst also developing direct and indirect sales channels for enterprise solutions.

Vibhu brings more than 20 years of comprehensive experience in technology companies with 18 years based out of Dubai and serving the wider region of Middle East, Africa & India. Having joined Epicor in January 2021, his most recent role was RVP for AntWorks, a global AI start-up, where he spent 18 months establishing and growing its presence in MEA region. His previous experience saw him lead sales & partner ecosystem for five years at Infor and has worked for other business application giants including SAP and Microsoft.

In an exclusive interview with the team of CXO Outlook Magazine, Vibhu Kapoor sheds light on the major issues faced by organizations while implementing ERP systems and reveals his predictions for the future of ERP software. He also gives a glimpse into his professional background, current roles and responsibilities at Epicor, secret mantra behind his success, and a lot more. Following are the excerpts from the interview.

According to you, what are the three major issues generally faced by organizations while implementing ERP system? Which strategies should they implement to overcome these issues?

Luckily organizations don’t have to face many issues when implementing an ERP system, however the biggest single factor that does make people reluctant is change. Being human, we have become accustomed to things being carried out in a particular way, which is why employees tend to feel uneasy when their routine tasks and ways of working are being questioned as to whether they could be made more efficient.

Therefore, a top-down approach won’t cut it when it comes to introducing an ERP system, as you must ensure that everyone from the shop floor to the top floor is happy and is on the same journey together. Having this ‘buy-in’ is crucial and being open to business change is another key consideration when reviewing best practices to confirm that businesses are being agile, flexible, and putting their customers and employees at the forefront of their decision making.

We also typically see people question the difficulty of data migration and whether old systems can still access important data when using a new one. With Epicor your business is secure in the cloud. Built on deep expertise, shaped by innovation, and carefully curated to your needs, our industry productivity solutions are an essential partner to your success.

What does the future hold for ERP in the next five years? Please elaborate.

The ERP industry is facing an exciting outlook. For me, it’s great to be part of an industry that’s constantly evolving and empowering businesses to equip themselves with better solutions for their customers.

I would certainly expect to see Industry 5.0 in full swing, with the use of software and robotics carrying out those lesser mundane tasks, enabling staff to add their expertise, value and insight where needed. At Epicor, we’re fortunate to offer customers the opportunity to make their businesses as diverse, personable, and unique as possible. In 5 years’, time, I believe visual selling will be the norm, this is something we have already introduced – our Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution allows users to play with interactive versions of their products. This way of bringing buying to life through augmented reality is a key differentiator for our essential businesses who keep the world turning.

My other predictions would see Software as a Service (SaaS) being enabled by most organizations, using a multitude of systems and applications that can talk to each other within the Cloud.

Please tell us about your professional/personal background.

Hailing from a hardworking, business focused family, I know that I have a strong entrepreneurial acumen and pride myself on treating each business I work for like it’s my own. I love talking to customers and learning where technology could add value or enhance something that they are already doing and coming up with the best solutions for them to meet their business needs.

For me the biggest reward is seeing a customer’s journey a year or two after ERP implementation and hearing their successes and what achievements they have made that they couldn’t have done previously. This is something that comes naturally to me having worked in the software IT industry for over 20 years, with many leading multinational companies such as Microsoft, SAP, and Infor; I have always found the technology world to be intriguing, so much so, in 2016 I decided to further my knowledge and pursue an Executive Program in General Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My never ending craving to learn has taught me that no matter how far along you are in your career, there is always capacity to further increase your skills and knowledge.

How did your journey at Epicor begin? Please describe your roles and responsibilities.

My Epicor journey began in January 2021, where I started the role which I still undertake today as the Regional Vice President (RVP) for the Middle East, India, and Africa regions. Prior to this, I was RVP for AntWorks, a global AI start-up where I established and grew its presence in the MEA region.

Not wanting to step away from this region, my role as RVP at Epicor sees responsibilities including regional sales management, overseeing business operations, leading teams to bring in vital growth in key target regions, whilst also developing direct and indirect sales channel for enterprise solutions.  I really enjoy helping and seeing businesses grow whether that be through market share and wallet share or both!

As the Regional Vice President (Middle East, Africa & India), what type of challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is that I try and keep close to all 300+ customers in my region – of course I can’t get involved in every single case, but I try and check in where possible. I am fortunate to work alongside a great team of people who I trust and share the same business acumen, resulting in wanting the best outcomes for our customers ensuring that the right solutions are being implemented for the right industries. We are starting to see more customers keen to explore and progress in their journey to the Cloud, however each customer has its own unique set of needs and desires and that can take time to execute. We overcome this by putting the customer’s high-level needs first, curating to their own specifications, our industry productivity solutions are an essential partner to success.

During this current economic uncertainty, businesses are experiencing many challenges whether that be down to ongoing disruption to supply chains, or how we are operating in a post Covid world with a skill shortage crisis, we continually remain agile and flexible in our approach and monitor each region in case we need to adapt and pivot our strategy.

What do you think makes a great leader?

Many aspects make a good leader however passion makes for a great leader. Passion is contagious, and the ability to drive people to reach a shared outcome or goal can be very rewarding. Shared passion makes organizations soar in the accomplishment of their mission and visions. For me and my team, we all share the same passion of taking customers on an exciting journey and seeing how our solutions can make a real impact and difference to the world’s essential businesses.

Your active participation in voluntary work is credible. As the Founder of Skill & Able, what is your mission and vision for the organization?

As the Founder of Skills & Able the ultimate mission and vision for the cause is to provide skills and enable under privileged people with a life of dignity and respect. The main aim is to create economic opportunities to everyone in under privileged communities, creating a life where they can be independent and not reliant on others to do so. By giving those in need appropriate skills, knowledge and training helps to provide a better environment for them to continue their learning and live in a better space both physically and mentally.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To listen. As a leader listening is an essential quality, it’s more than just hearing what people have to say, it’s noticing what isn’t being said and why that might not be coming to the surface. My advice would be to go beyond listening – having that judgement and experience to understand what’s going on when people aren’t saying things is just as important as those more vocal.

Tell us about Vibhu outside of work, your motivations and what you would like to achieve in the future.

Other than not having nearly enough time as I would like to dedicate to Skill & Able, my daughter likes to keep me on my toes! That being said, I have my own vices, I am an avid devourer of Tennis, a self-proclaimed movie critic, sitcom buff and always in search for good food and Single Malts!

In the future I would like to invest my time and effort into renewable energy projects and sustainability. As a society, we need to act now. I am educating myself and others on this, participating in roadshows, learning from experts and as they say “education starts at home” – so I have already transitioned from a gas-based car to electric.

You have had a remarkable career trajectory over the years. What is the secret mantra behind your success?

I think the key to success is not to forget where you have come from and remain humble. It’s important to reflect and look back at your accomplishments, achievements and also learnings from things that haven’t gone to plan to celebrate success. Referring back to that entrepreneurial flair, gives me passion each day about the work we do, treating others how you would want to be treated and putting the needs of others, whether that by staff, customers, clients or partners before your own needs.

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