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!

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).

Permit Software and Mobile Technology

Posted by Admin on September 25, 2012 under Government Software | Be the First to Comment

The buzz about Mobile Technologies is widespread among software vendors catering to municipalities. Recently we have had conversations with several Permitting software vendors such as Accela, CRW and EnerGov that rank their mobile applications high on the list of what differentiates their software from their competitors.

Mobile technology has come a long way in the last few years, especially with the introduction of the Apple iPhone and iPad to business application market. The ability to rapidly develop applications and provide them on a universal platform allows vendors to extend their applications beyond the traditional business users. In the government setting, mobile technology translates to increased public accessibility.

In the case of permitting software, increased accessibility means allowing citizens to access parcel information, initiate permitting and license applications, pay fees, check status of applications, etc. We find that vendors are taking this one step further and extending the application by allowing the mobile “apps” to be distributed, such as through the Apple Store, to contractors, developers, external plan reviewers, etc. This eliminates manual/paper processes and allows the municipalities to be more pro-active in their approach to Land and Community Development.

As this trend for mobile apps grows, we expect citizens and stakeholders to demand more and more information at a faster and faster pace. In order to meet those expectations, municipalities will need to think about how this demand will affect other business applications such as GIS (geospatial data for parcel and address data), Parks & Recreation, Transportation, etc.

Infor10 Moving Infor into the Future

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2012 under CRM Software, ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

Infor has been acquiring a lot of business applications software vendors and now has a customer base of over 75,000 customers around the world. While some of their acquisitions are “long in the tooth,” they also have a number of best-in-class applications.

Infor is facing a lot of competition from large companies such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and “up and comers” such as Workday. But don’t write them off; a lot hinges on how CEO Charles Phillips leads the company in the next couple of years. On board only since mid-2010, he’s already invested a lot of money in software development and integrating Infor’s portfolio of software applications.

It appears that Phillips is rolling out a strategy that is similar to what Oracle did when he was Oracle’s president. In late 2011, Infor unveiled Infor10 ION Suite, a middleware technology that will be built into applications with open standards and used to make integrations easier, simpler and more reliable. It will enable new and existing Infor and non-Infor applications to work as an integrated solution.

Infor also unveiled Infor10 suites targeting specific industry applications: Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Chemicals, Distribution, Equipment Services, Maintenance and Rental, fashion, Food and Beverage, General Manufacturing, Healthcare, High Tech, Hospitality, Industrial Equipment and Machinery, and Public Sector.

Infor10 Workspace is designed to deliver a new user experience incorporating relevant information, workflow, tasks and alerts, business intelligence, social media, event management, and business activity on a user’s screen.

Geographic Information Systems in Government Software

Posted by Admin on January 27, 2012 under Government Software | Be the First to Comment

G-I-S. These 3 little letters are taking the public sector by storm. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are the latest trend in the Public Sector and from our perspective, this trend has some serious staying power.

In its simplest form, GIS is the mapping of geographical and spatial data. These systems allow organizations to create “layers” to the maps that provide additional information different segments of the map.

As GIS technology has evolved, so too has the demand for the types of information that can be added as layers on the maps within the system. Within the last couple of years, we have seen software demonstrations of several Permitting and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software systems that have either architected their product to be “GIS-centric” or are working closely with leading GIS vendors to integrate systems. One advantage of these systems is the ability to provide added layers of metadata on the map that can be accessed even to external users (e.g. citizens, stakeholders, contractors, developers, etc.).

We expect to see GIS-centric systems continue to gain market share as municipalities look to upgrade their current permitting and EAM systems. Many organizations have GIS departments, often as a sub-set of their IT departments. These departments will become more and more important as technology continues to trend toward an enterprise focus.

SAGE

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011 under CRM Software, ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software, Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

SAGE is a major ERP global player and one of the largest ERP vendors in the world. While it is a major player, SAGE has struggled with marketing their products and brand and is not as well known in the US. They have also struggled with product direction and focus as they have many different products both in the US and Europe. The SAGE software products are mostly sold through a Value Added Reseller channel, although they do sell direct depending on the product and situation. In the past they have taken more of a regional approach – with certain products focused on the North American market and other products in Europe. They are squarely focused on the mid to lower market for software solutions.

SAGE has acquired many software solutions over the years – including State of the Art in the US in 1998 (MAS 90 and MAS 500). Here is a partial listing of the products that SAGE sells in the US. You will probably recognize the names and may be surprised that they are owned by SAGE:

X3 (Formerly Adonix) – ERP
Accpac – ERP
MAS 90 – ERP
MAS 500 – ERP
Timberline – Construction/Property Management
MIP – Non-Profit
Peachtree – Small Office Accounting
ABRA – HR
BEST FAS – Fixed Assets
Saleslogix – CRM
Many others…

One product that has reached a couple of Short List’s recently in our software selection projects is the SAGE X3 product. This is a multi-national manufacturing focused software solution and is the former Adonix product that was acquired by SAGE in 2005. Adonix was originally developed in France and offers a robust accounting/manufacturing solution. It is interesting to note that the CEO of SAGE is Guy Berruyer who led the French SAGE operation. They also recently installed Pascal Houillon as the CEO of SAGE North America – who also came from the French operation. We think these moves point to a future emphasis on the X3 product at SAGE, and may even lead to X3 becoming the flagship product for SAGE on a worldwide basis.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Public Sector

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2011 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

At the GFOA show in San Antonio last week we got an update on Microsoft Dynamics AX for the public sector. In 2007, Microsoft and Tyler announced a partnership that they would jointly develop a Public Sector software solution based on the Dynamics AX ERP software product. Microsoft chose Tyler because they own 3 ERP software solutions that focus on the government sector (Munis, Eden, Incode). The new AX 2012 software is scheduled for release this summer (2011).

Dynamics AX for Public Sector has a single implementation in process – City of Redmond, WA – which is fitting because Microsoft is based in Redmond. Go-live for the project is scheduled to be July 5, 2011. Right now they are only offering financials and do not have a wide functional footprint for the public sector. While they did say they would eventually expand the footprint for the government sector, they did not disclose the functionality they would develop next.

It is interesting to note that they have been working with Tyler for about 4 years now and are just now finishing up financials. While the government sector has many unique requirements, Dynamics AX has a strong base financial capability with dimensional charts of accounts that are very powerful that has been used for many years in the private sector. It will be interesting to see how the capabilities that are so useful in the private sector will be leveraged in the public sector.

Is this product ready for prime time for governments? Not yet, especially because governments in general tend to be very conservative. But as the functionality expands and a few more cities decide to implement a newer software product, the Dynamics AX product will be a player in the government sector.

Serenic Navigator

Posted by Admin on February 9, 2011 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Serenic Navigator is a Non-Profit/Public Sector focused ERP and HR/Payroll software solution that was built in 1999 as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) solution on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform. By building the software on top of NAV, Serenic is able to take advantage of all of the features and new functionality provided by Microsoft while developing enhancements specifically for the non-profit and government industries. Serenic sells the software directly and has a network of qualified NAV VARs that resell and implement Serenic so there are many implementation options available to you.

There are more than 350 organizations that are using Serenic Navigator. (One of SoftResources’ notable clients that selected Serenic was the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee 2010.) While their focus is on both government and non-profit entities, the non-profit space is where they excel, and they have limited government implementations.

Serenic is especially strong with grant accounting requirements and they have recently developed a budgeting tool geared specifically for non-profits and grant accounting. Because the NAV product has good multi-national functionality, Serenic is starting to leverage that capability to drive expansion internationally and has set up sales offices overseas.

In December 2010 Serenic announced a Cloud/Hosted offering for the software. It will be interesting to see how non-profits accept the hosting model as the cloud gains more acceptance in the ERP space.

Serenic is a public company and at the end of January 2011 released their quarterly numbers showing they swung to a loss. They cited the fact that many non-profit organizations are pushing off purchases of new ERP software because of the economy. Also, because they are a Canadian company, they have had some currency losses as the majority of their installations are in the US.

Serenic is a major player in the mid-market non-profit area and should be considered by these organizations. We met up with Lisa Ramsey of Serenic at the GFOA 2010 show in June last year. Watch the video to get an overview of Serenic and some of the things they are working on.

Springbrook Software

Posted by Admin on January 27, 2011 under ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

Springbrook software is focused on the municipal government market and has been in business for 25 years with 400 customers in 33 states. They offer a fairly complete ERP functional footprint for municipalities including financials, utility billing, HR/Payroll, Permits, Land Management, etc. They are focused on the mid-market space with clients ranging in size from 10,000 in population on up to 200,000 in population, but the majority of their implementations are in the 10,000 – 100,000 population range.  (In fact, they recently announced they signed up Texarkana, Texas – a city with a population of 38,000)

Springbrook has about 100 people in their company which is a good number for a niche focused software solution. They have more of a family feel than some of the larger vendors which works well in the mid-market municipal space. Also, while there has been a lot of consolidation in the municipal ERP market with Tyler, Sungard, Infor, and others buying up a number of municipal focused ERP software solutions, Springbrook has remained independent and organically grown which allows them to focus on serving their customers. For cities of that general size that are looking for ERP solutions, Springbrook should definitely be on the long list of software solutions to consider.

Check out  the interview below that we had with Scott Stickel at the GFOA 2010 conference in Atlanta last June. We discuss an overview of the software solution and some of the key things to consider as you evaluate Springbrook for your city.

Tyler Technologies – Munis, Eden, or Incode

Posted by Admin on January 7, 2011 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Tyler Technologies is a public sector focused software vendor that owns three main ERP products – Munis, Eden, and Incode. Because all 3 of these products offer full government financial modules, it can be confusing as to which Tyler product you should focus on for your evaluation. To shed some light on this, we spent a few minutes with Roger Routh of Tyler Technologies at the June 2010 GFOA tradeshow in Atlanta to discuss the differences between the products and where a public sector organization should focus their software selection efforts.

As you will see in the accompanying video, they have positioned the products in the following way:

Munis – This product focuses on larger government organizations counties, cities, non-profits, and is also strong in the K-12 school district market. This is a mature product that offers a wide functional footprint. We have found that Tyler typically leads with this product for mid-large organizations unless there is a compelling reason to look at one of the others.

Eden – Functionally overlaps the Munis product in many ways, but seems to have a stronghold in certain geographic regions of the US – namely the Northwest and Southeast. Recently, we have found that Tyler only leads with Eden when there is a specific client preference to consider this product and does not seem to have the same sales focus that Munis does. This is not to say that Tyler will not sell this product, just that they seem to focus much more on the Munis product, which should be a consideration in your evaluation. 

Incode – This is a lower end product that works well for smaller cities. It is less costly and less complicated, but also much less robust than Munis and Eden. If you have an annual budget of $30M or below, you should consider this product unless you have a lot of complexity in your organization.

Tyler is also working in partnership with Microsoft to develop a government focused solution based on the Dynamics AX ERP software, but we will cover that topic in a different post.