Uni Headless ERP – AaaS (API as a Service)

Every once in a while great solutions emerges from an original idea. Not as often as bad ones obviously, but nevertheless, the dream of making a difference is what drives us. Over the last three years Uni Micro has undertaken such a project; Uni Headless ERP. A project filled with breakthroughs and setbacks, cheering and frustration – and now, as the project materializes we are filled with optimism for what lies ahead.

First things first, Headless Software, hardly a new thing; i.e. Headless CMS has been on the market for years and is pretty widely used to provide content over multiple platforms and formats. It simply offers a content management back end and an API instead of the traditional more or less fixed solutions. As in Headless CMS, the «Head» in Headless ERP is actually the front of your application, or rather the fronts of your applications as scalability and flexibility are two of the main advantages of headless development. 

It’s hard to argue ERP is a cutting-edge innovation and a lot of providers all over the world are now competing to implement AI and automation in their solutions. But why are all of them making all the architecture from scratch? I know there are examples of whitelabel solutions, hybrids and tons of integrations but is this enough? It appears that the end-users of the ERP-systems are now forcing providers to re-make their solutions into a web-based interface, and somewhat reluctantly the providers are responding. Not all of them though, as the time-consumption and cost involved in making the solutions all over again are staggering. 

We chose the latter, but with a twist.

Time-to-market is essential in today’s fast-paced digital world and the time it takes to get your solution up and running is critical in that aspect. At the same time you will have to reassure your existing customers that the old solution is going to remain alive and fully updated, maybe even still in front and innovative. Believe me, Uni Micro was in this exact spot. In the years 2010-2015 Uni Micro-developed solution «Uni Økonomi V3» was named best Accounting system for the SMB market in Norway every single year. We even made a hybrid version to meet the rising web-interface demands. Our choices were to either downshift our ambitions and ride silently into the sunset for as long as our customers would let us, and eventually sell the customer base, or to remake the solution with new web-based technology. We chose the latter, but with a twist.

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From my perspective Uni Economy is an App on top of what we have actually made, not the solution itself.

The twist is the very essence of this article, the Headless ERP. Instead of simply remaking the solution with a tight front and back end we decided to make an extremely rich API and to focus all programming towards the API. The same API as we provide to external developers looking to build enrichments to our Ecosystem. Because of this we have been able to develop or co-develop multiple solutions ontop the headless platform. The successor to our awardwinning older solution being one of these, a modern ERP-system called Uni Economy. This new Accounting system is on track to reach critical user mass at 10 000 users by the end of 2019. From my perspective Uni Economy is an App on top of what we have actually made, not the solution itself.

Experiencing this journey as Head of Sales at Uni Micro feels like transporting the angriest bull ever bred to the Arena, just waiting to unleash it on the helpless bullfighters. If you are currently or in the near future considering breeding a bull, let us know – we will shorten your breeding time by a couple of years and at the same time ensure you are not actually breeding sheep.

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