Cloud ERP Software – SAP “Slows” Development of BusinessByDesign

Posted by Admin on October 23, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Accounting Today reports that SAP has decided to slow development of the BusinessByDesign cloud software application in favor of building a cloud based platform for development on the Hana database. (My guess is that their vision would be to create a development environment similar to Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform that has been used to develop many ISV software solutions) While they will continue to support current BusinessByDesign customers, they will not be focusing efforts to develop the software that reportedly cost $4.1B to develop and only has 785 customers. This is a continuation of SAP’s struggles to build a successful mid-market accounting/ERP software solution. While SAP is the most successful ERP software solution with large, global organizations, they have found the mid-market to be difficult. SAP now has tried to approach the mid-market with 2 products – Business One (traditional on-premises solution) and BusinessByDesign (cloud solution) – and has seen limited success.

While we can analyze the reasons for SAP’s success and failures, the more important discussion is the lesson we learn about cloud software solutions in general. Over the past 3 years we have seen a large number of cloud accounting software vendors appear in the market. Almost all of those software vendors have developed their solution with fewer resources backing their application development. So if a company as large as SAP can have difficulty developing and marketing their product, other vendors may eventually run into difficulty and may not have the resources to maintain the system for customers over the long term.

When you purchase a Cloud software solution, you are completely dependent on the vendor to maintain the software and hold your data. With all of these new Cloud ERP vendors, the market is a bit crazy right now. There has not been a lot of talk yet about what would happen if a large Cloud accounting vendor were to go out of business. This would be disastrous for any companies that were using that vendor. Make sure that you do your due diligence on these vendors and that you negotiate the contract to protect yourself from a worst case scenario in case your vendor goes out of business.

Cloud software solutions are a good solution for the right situation, and we have recommended them many times for our customers, but make sure that you do your due diligence and protect yourself for a worst-case scenario if you decide to put your trust in a Cloud software vendor.

Sage Software Update

Posted by Admin on July 25, 2013 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, CRM Software, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Sage recently held their annual conference for partners and users this week. While we were not able to attend, we have been monitoring the conference and also recently spoke with a Sage VAR to get the latest on what is happening at Sage.

1. Sage is continuing with the re-branding marketing push. Because Sage grew through acquisition of many different products, the product names (MAS 90, Accpac, etc.) are more recognizable than the Sage corporate name. Therefore, Sage re-named all of the products in their portfolio. (MAS 90 = Sage 100, Accpac = Sage 300, etc.) The point is to make the Sage brand more recognizable.

2. After many years of acquisitions, the sale of the non-profit solutions demonstrates that Sage is trying to consolidate and focus more on their core products.

3. Sage is working on getting to the cloud. The only pure multi-tenant cloud solution is Sage One – which is their entry level accounting system for about $25/month. The traditional ERP solutions will be available as a hosted (single tenant) solutions using Microsoft Azure.

4. While they continue to maintain and upgrade all of their products, the ERP product that has really become their flagship is Sage X3 (formerly Adonix). Sage is currently doing a very large update to X3 that will be released soon. Due to the robust functionality of the X3 product, Sage is pushing into a higher market than they traditionally have played and will be competing with Dynamics AX, JD Edwards and others that are just below SAP.

5. They are developing mobile solutions to enable access to Sage solutions through multiple devices.

We continue to monitor Sage as they move their initiatives forward. In particular we are watching to see if the re-branding initiative will help with name recognition and how the X3 product develops and competes in the future.

Acumatica – Mid-market Cloud/On-Premises ERP Vendor

Posted by Admin on May 3, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Acumatica is an up and coming Cloud/On-Premises ERP vendor that was founded in 2007 and developed by ex-Solomon employees. They now have over 1,000 implementations. Like Workday, KeyedIn, Financial Force, and others, they are pulling together the old team that helped build Solomon back in the 80’s and 90’s. They also recently moved their headquarters to the Seattle area and have hired some of the Microsoft Dynamics salespeople and channel managers.

Acumatica offers a good functional footprint with particular focus on Distribution and Projects. They are now building up the VAR/Reseller channel (with many of the old Solomon VAR’s), but make sure that you vet the experience of the VAR because many of them are just now signing up and do not have as many installations under their belt yet.

Some interesting differentiators for Acumatica are that they offer their solution both in the Cloud as well as on-premises. This gives them the flexibility to adapt to whatever works best for the client. Acumatica recently released a funny video comparing Acumatica to Netsuite that is based on the Mac vs. PC ads that can be found here www.youtube.com/watch?v=EknOLFLeJQE. They also offer fixed pricing for Cloud implementations – which means that as you scale up the number of users, you will not have to pay more for the software, and they do not force you to upgrade. If you are a midmarket distribution, or project-based company – you should definitely have Acumatica on your long list of possibilities.

ABAS Software – Mid-Market ERP

Posted by Admin on April 19, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Founded in 1980 in Germany, ABAS Software is a flexible ERP solution that serves mid-market manufacturers and distributors focusing on Discrete, Engineer-to-order, Make-to-Order, Assemble-to-Order, and Job Shop Manufacturing environments. ABAS has a total of 150 people in Germany, and many partners throughout the world that bring the total people working on the product to 900. There are more than 2,800 customers worldwide using the software. The product came to the US in 2002 and their US operation has now grown to 40 people with over 100 installations. It is flexible and enables easy modifications to the system while maintaining the upgrade path.

ABAS offers significant functionality for a mid-market manufacturing ERP solution including: CRM, e-business, and EDI capabilities. It also offers multi-currency and can be run in 28 languages. The software works well in mid-market multi-nationals, as well as subsidiaries of large organizations that do not want the complexity of running a Tier 1 ERP solution such as SAP or Oracle, but need to integrate to the parent company’s system.

Although ABAS software is not as well known in the US, it is a very viable ERP solution for mid-market manufacturers and should at least be on your long list of consideration.

SAP Hana Database

Posted by Admin on April 16, 2013 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

At the beginning of the year, SAP announced that they are now offering the SAP Hana database for all of their ERP solutions. (SAP R3, SAP Business One, SAP Business By Design). So what is all of the fuss about? Well, the Hana database is different from traditional SQL database that most systems run on today. Let me explain.

A traditional relational SQL database (Oracle, MS SQL, DB2, etc.) requires storing of information on a spinning disk, creating multiple tables of information, and linking tables in order to access and query data in many different ways. This has been (and still is) a very successful method of storing, querying, and accessing data, but depending on the amount of data that is in the database or that needs to be queried, there are hardware limitations on the speed of running queries. In large databases, a sophisticated query can take many hours.

The Hana database is different. Rather than keeping information on a spinning hard disk, the SAP Hana database keeps the data in the Memory of the system. This means that queries and information can be completed much faster as all of the data is within Memory and there is no spinning hard drive to wait for. Sophisticated queries on live data can now be run much faster (in some cases reducing query times from hours to minutes or even seconds) enabling a real-time view of what is happening in your organization at any given time.

Interestingly, Workday also claims to have in-memory reporting in their cloud offering, so we are starting to see more of a move to this sort of database scenario. We will be watching with interest as this database technology matures.

From the SAP perspective, this database may change how people use the SAP ERP solutions. Traditionally, SAP has relied on the Oracle and MS SQL databases to store the transactional data for their ERP solutions. The Hana database may eventually replace these databases enabling SAP to offer an end-to-end solution for their customers with much faster processing and querying speeds.

Sage Sells CRM and Non-Profit Solutions

Posted by Admin on April 8, 2013 under CRM Software, ERP Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Last month, Sage announced the sale of the Saleslogix and ACT! CRM solutions and their Sage 100 Fund Accounting solution for about $100M. This is an interesting development as it appears that Sage is beginning to streamline their product lines. Sage, along with Infor, Oracle, and others have traditionally been an accumulator of software solutions. Over the years, they have purchased a number of business software systems including acquiring and developing CRM solutions.

Sage is now starting to focus on their core accounting/ERP software. Based on our interactions with them, the X3 product seems to be evolving into their flagship product for the mid to upper market. The Accpac product (now called Sage 300) has a lot of installs, particularly in Canada, and the MAS 90 product (now called Sage 100) also has many installs in the smaller market. At the lower market, the Peachtree solution (now called Sage 50) has a significant install base as it competes against Quickbooks.

We will watch with interest how their strategy evolves!

Article – Is Cloud ERP Right For You?

Posted by Admin on February 7, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

SoftResources recently published an article in Strategic Finance Magazine titled “Is Cloud ERP Right For You?” While the business software market has seen a lot of acceptance of CRM, HR/Payroll, and Project cloud software; ERP in the cloud is now beginning to see more interest. In fact, almost every one of our clients is interested in at least exploring the possibility of cloud ERP. This article will help you understand the cloud ERP market, get an update as to what the ERP vendors are doing to develop cloud solutions, and identifies the pros and cons of the cloud vs. on-premises ERP. It will help you make an objective analysis as to whether a cloud ERP solution is right for you! Check it out at www.softresources.com/resources/articles

Springbrook Acquires KVS Software

Posted by Admin on January 18, 2013 under ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

Earlier this week, Springbrook announced they are acquiring KVS Information Systems. Both companies provide ERP software to the municipal government and utility markets. At first glance, it would seem that this acquisition does not make sense – both companies offer municipal ERP software solutions, which means there is significant overlap in functionality. But on closer examination, this acquisition makes sense for a couple of reasons.

First, Springbrook is based in the Portland, OR area and KVS is based in Amherst NY. While they both sell on a nationwide basis they both have much higher install base in their respective geographic regions. This acquisition gives Springbrook a stronger foothold in the northeast. It appears that KVS will continue to service their clients as an independent operating subsidiary.

Second, this acquistion opens the door for Springbrook to upsell their cloud ERP software to not only the 400 Springbrook municipal government clients, but also the 700 KVS municipal government clients. Springbrook is one of the first municipal ERP vendors to offer a cloud ERP software solution. Now the cloud upgrade path for both Springbrook and KVS customers (1,100 customers) will be the Springbrook cloud ERP solution for government. We will be watching to see how the strategy pans out!

NetSuite Acquires Retail Anywhere – Get Ready for More Cloud Acquisitions

Posted by Admin on January 14, 2013 under ERP Software, Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Last week, Netsuite announced the acquisition of Retail Anywhere – a Point-of-Sale software solution. This acquisition enables Netsuite to fill the POS functional gap in their product offering. The selection of Retail Anywhere makes sense because it was developed on Netsuite’s cloud development platform SuiteCloud. This means that they are essentially taking an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solution that was previously available to customers on the Netsuite platform and bringing the functionality in-house for development and support. It is not really an earth-shattering acquisition, but a nice pickup for Netsuite.

One of the biggest challenges that cloud software vendors like Netsuite has right now is both broadening and deepening their functionality to compete on more equal footing functionally with the full featured on-premises software vendors that have been adding functionality for decades. For the most part, cloud vendors have been developing the functionality in-house which is the slower and cleaner approach. But on occasion we have seen acquisitions – for example Netsuite acquired Openair in 2008 and Quickarrow in 2009 to expand their offering in the project accounting market.

With vertical market cloud software solutions gaining traction in the market, we expect to see more of these vendors get acquired over the next few years. These acquisitions will come from two ways – cloud ERP vendors looking to widen their functional footprint, and traditional on-premises vendors looking to more quickly enter the cloud.

Tyler Acquires Energov Community Development

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2012 under ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

We’ve been working on a number of permit and land management/community development projects for a variety of municipalities (software selection as well as contract negotiations), so it was interesting to see today’s announcement that Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL) has acquired EnerGov Solutions, a privately held company with a GIS-centric Land Management, Community Development and Citizen Services solution.

This was an excellent strategic move by Tyler, one of the leading software companies focused solely on the government/muniipality sector and at first glance appears to be a win-win situation for both parties.

It expands EnerGov’s sales opportunities with Tyler’s customer base, gives EnerGov some capital infusion to support its expansion and provides access to Tyler’s government practices expertise.

At the same time, Tyler should be able to use the EnerGov’s technology to enrich its Munis, Eden and Incode solutions to meet the needs of its 10,000+ agency customers, as well as increase its opportunities for future sales. It also gives Tyler an office in Atlanta (which it didn’t have), which will help position Tyler with sales opportunities in the Southeast. Tyler will also gain very strong GIS integration technology. This is very important since we’ve seen very strong growth and interest in the use of enterprise GIS by municipalities, including those with populations under 50,000.

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact this acquisition will have for Infor (Hansen), Accela and CSDC (Amanda), as well as for the municipality practice for ERP vendors New World Systems, Lawson (Infor), SAP and Oracle (PeopleSoft and Oracle eBusiness Suite).