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Firm dumps, chooses Oracle over SAP

USA Technologies, which produces hardware and software for cashless vending machines and laundry facilities, said growth is forcing the company to integrate its systems.

With over eight million vending machines in the United States, USA Technologies Inc., is projecting a boom in business over the next few years.

The Malvern, Pa.-based firm produces and services embedded devices that allow users to swipe a card in a vending machine to buy candy bars, soft drinks and even clean a load of laundry. The firm is currently servicing 2,000 machines, and its systems are already having trouble keeping up, according to Dave DeMedio, the firm's chief financial officer.

"We are anticipating further growth and since we've been struggling with our current volume to effectively support our customers, we knew once the volume picked up, some of the problems we were experiencing would only become more magnified," DeMedio said.

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With several different systems running the back end and front end and virtually no integration, the firm is moving quickly to standardize on one fully integrated system. DeMedio and his team dropped the company's contract and after a short selection process, chose Oracle's E-Business Suite Special Edition over SAP's Business One and Microsoft's Great Plains ERP software.

License and implementation costs weighed heavily in on the decision and DeMedio said all three firms were competitive. With software vendors vying for a larger share of the small and midsized business (SMB) market, DeMedio said the bargaining power was in his hands.

"We felt very comfortable with the Oracle team," he said. "They made it clear that they've done this before and understood our business."

USA Technologies was already leaning heavily on choosing Oracle since it has been using an Oracle database, DeMedio said. With no IT team and a limited budget, the firm didn't want to face integration issues in the future, he said.

"Obviously, the ultimate plan is to have one central system to manage all our business operations," he said. "If we went with SAP or Great Plains, we still didn't have that integration. Our financial information and service ticketing would be in Oracle, but all our payment info would be in another system."

The company operates offices in Pennsylvania and Colorado and anticipates up to 50 users over the next year.

The sales team and operational managers didn't always agree on whether to move forward with a new system, DeMedio said. The firm pressed ahead, letting its one-year contract expire, as it began to implement the new software.

"The operations group got on board very easily and they pushed for an ERP system," DeMedio said.

Dropping was not difficult, he said. The firm easily migrated its customer relationship management (CRM) data into the new system.

The Oracle reseller, ThoughtDigital provided implementation services and system support. The first phase of the implementation ran into several data integration problems, causing some temporary disruption to business operations, DeMedio said. Parallel systems were put in place to handle invoices.

Implementation began in July with general ledger and accounts payable, inventory and CRM software, which went live in October, DeMedio said. The firm is in the middle of phase two, which includes service ticking, order to cash and online purchasing features, he said.

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