Serenic Acquired by Sylogist

Posted by Admin on July 15, 2014 under Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Sylogist recently announced the acquisition of Serenic Software for $8M. Serenic is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) solution that provides HR and financial software for the non-profit industry. The solution is built on top of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution and has a good install base in the non-profit arena offering a strong grant management solution including budgeting.
Sylogist is a technology company that has a history of acquiring software vendor solutions and providing a suite of software for various industries – including municipalities and manufacturing companies. While Sylogist is not as big as other vendors with a similar strategy (ie. Sage and Infor) the Serenic acquisition is a much more visible vendor acquisition and puts them more on the radar.
With regard to the future of Serenic – we do not see this acquisition as a strategy to sunset the product. Instead, we see this as adding to the suite of vendor solutions offered by Sylogist that fills the non-profit solution hole in their product suite. This acquisition will most likely provide a cash infusion that will allow Serenic to increase product development and sales and marketing resources.
Serenic is a viable option for mid-market to larger non-profit organizations, and can be purchased and implemented either directly from Serenic or through a network of Value Added Resellers.

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!

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.

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.

Lawson Software – S3 or M3?

Posted by on May 21, 2010 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Lawson software was originally founded in the 1970’s and remained a private company until December 2001, when they went public. Originally built on the AS400 platform, the software has migrated through the client/server era and now is 100% web enabled which means that you can use a web browser to access the software, as well as thin client options as well. Unlike JD Edwards which similarly came from the AS400 and subsequently got acquired by PeopleSoft and then Oracle, Lawson has remained a stand-alone company. They made a large acquisition in 2005 by acquiring Intentia – a european based manufacturing solution. Last year Lawson was profitable and had $757M in revenues.

The important thing to remember as you evaluate Lawson software is that they have two separate ERP software products – Lawson S3 and M3.

Lawson S3 is the traditional Lawson product. This software is a very strong financial solution that has a very broad implementation base in many different industries. S3 has a particular focus on Financials, Health Care, Non-Profits, Government, and service based organizations. It also has a very strong Human Capital Management (HCM – otherwise known as Human Resources). In fact, many organizations use Lawson’s HR solution as a stand alone HR product even if they do not use Lawson’s S3 ERP product. S3 also touts a very strong reporting tool called Lawson Business Intelligence (LBI).

Lawson M3 came to Lawson through the Intentia acquisition. This ERP is focused on Manufacturing and Distribution companies and is a stronger multi-national solution than S3. (In fact the majority of Lawson international installations and offices are focused on the M3 product). Keep in mind that this product is completely separate from S3. For example, the strong S3 HR solution would require an integration to the M3 product.

With regard to implementation, Lawson has their internal Professional Services Organization, but also has a network of 200+ software integrators in their Lawson Partner Network. Some of these partners focus on S3, while others focus on M3. Make sure that you do an implementation partner selection when considering Lawson to find an implementation partner with experience in your industry and the specific product you are implementing. Many times these partners have more experience in a particular industry at lower billing rates than Lawson’s direct implementation.

We consider both S3 and M3 to be Tier 2 ERP solutions in our 5 Tier Chart(www.softresources.com/software-market-overview). This means that Lawson can compete very favorably with the Oracle suite of products as well as SAP at a lower cost. Over the past 15 years we have been doing software selection consulting, both Lawson S3 and M3 have been selected by various clients. These products are definitely worth consideration as you evaluate your ERP software options.

Oracle Fusion Applications are Coming! Shhhh!

Posted by on May 3, 2010 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

We are currently working with a client that is considering PeopleSoft – one of the ERP applications that Oracle acquired a few years ago. The PeopleSoft product looks like a possible fit, but it was interesting to note that the salespeople did not talk much about the new Oracle Fusion product and the fact that this new ERP software is less than 1-2 years away from release.

I thought this was very interesting. One would think that a brand new ERP software product from one of the largest ERP software vendors in the world would be promoted heavily. But Oracle is almost completely silent about the development of this product even though they have to be spending many millions of dollars in R&D for this product right now.

Why isn’t Larry Ellison shouting from the tops of the trees that Oracle Fusion applications are coming? Because they are trying to protect the current sales of the e-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards ERP solutions.

Right after the acquisition of PeopleSoft/JD Edwards, Oracle began talking up the idea of their new Super ERP product “Fusion” that would Fuse all of the best functionality from the 3 ERP products Oracle owns. They were also going to put functionality from other acquisitions such as Siebel and Hyperion into the new solution. It would be web based and facilitate Software as a Service (SaaS) as well as on-premise deployments.

Competitors began seeing this as an opportunity to create uncertainty about Oracle’s current ERP solutions. They asked “Why would you buy e-Business suite when it will be replaced within the next couple of years?” This hurt current sales and revenues, while the Fusion application was still years away from being released. So, they dropped the marketing for the new Fusion ERP Applications product.

In fact, if you go to Oracle’s website there is just a 1-page overview that Oracle’s Fusion applications are under development. Interestingly, the first thing you see is how Oracle will support all of the current products with Lifetime Application Support. Again you can see their concern that the announcement of future Fusion applications will hurt sales of their current products.

Now I do not doubt that when Fusion comes out, Oracle will continue to support companies on e-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards for a long time. All of them have significant numbers of installations and they receive billions in annual maintenance revenues from these companies. However, when Fusion is released, the focus for new sales will be the Fusion product. This means that the sales goal within Oracle will be to upgrade all of these companies to the new product eventually. Which will be a huge revenue stream for Oracle.

That is why you will hear almost nothing about Fusion until it is released. Just know that if you currently own an Oracle product, or are looking to purchase one, that you will eventually be encouraged to upgrade to Fusion Applications. Make sure that if you are considering an Oracle product, that an upgrade to Fusion is included in your contract.

Sungard Business PLUS

Posted by on March 26, 2010 under ERP Software, Government Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

SunGard is a unique software vendor with its roots actually in the oil business – in the early 1980’s, SunGard spun-off from the Sun Oil Company. Their growth as a software company has primarily been through acquisition – concentrating on 3 software target verticals: Financials, Higher Education and Public Sector.

Recently, SoftResources participated in scripted demonstrations of SunGard’s new flagship product for the Public Sector – BusinessPLUS. BusinessPLUS is the result of an effort by SunGard to integrate its Public Sector software acquisitions into a single, web-based Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) product. The products included in this integration were: BiTech, Pentamation, HTE, Open Software Solutions, Inc. and Vivista Holdings Limited out of the UK. What about IFAS? IFAS was actually the new name of the BiTech product and used as the basis for the new BusinessPLUS major release approximately 18 months ago. (Software vendor’s like to re-name and re-brand their products so it is important to truly understand the genealogy of the software you are considering!)

BusinessPLUS was considered a “major release” because .NET code was used to bring together several applications with different underlying source code (C++, C#, COBAL, etc.) to create a unified look and feel of the system. .NET technologies allow SunGard to have a web-based product without completely rewriting the source code to these systems. It should be noted that SunGard has some pieces of the “classic” system in their solution that have not been written in the .NET technology. For example, if a payroll clerk is doing head’s down multiple timecard entry, the “classic” timecard screen is best suited for that purpose at this point. However, the parts of the system that have not been enhanced with .NET are likely to be updated over time.

SunGard’s roadmap includes a commitment to develop and enhance BusinessPLUS as their flagship product, In fact, they will no longer sell the older products like Pentamation or HTE and will only support 2 prior versions of the software. This means that customers on the older software solutions will either need to go off maintenance and support their own software internally, or they will eventually move to the BusinessPLUS system. They have formed specific professional services groups for sub-sets of the Public Sector such as municipalities, non-profits and K-12 school districts. SunGard believes this focus will allow current and potential customer’s access to industry experts in their respective fields who understand how the software should work for their vertical market.

SunGard is showing some momentum. They estimate that 30 – 40 customers have either upgraded or purchased BusinessPLUS since its release in November 2008. If you are going through a software evaluation in the public sector, you should definitely consider BusinessPLUS on your list of ERP software solutions.