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Accounting Software: Microsoft Moves In

Midrange vendors have seen a lot of consolidation, but the latest deal is undoubtedly the biggest.

Beyond Accounting: AccPac International

David Hood, AccPac’s CEO, points to three reasons for last year’s acquisition of SBT Accounting Systems: to expand AccPac’s distribution channel, to acquire additional marketing talent, and, as with AccountMate, to offer source-code versions of the technology to facilitate custom enhancements. Prospective customers can choose between a modifiable alternative (the Pro Series) and the company’s existing Advantage Series. AccPac has also been aggressively pursuing the Internet/E-business model, adding its eAdvantage suite of products, which includes eTransact, a Web store solution. As with many companies in this space, AccPac wants to expand beyond accounting functions and offer a wide array of back- and front-office applications. As Hood says, “Every company understands the need for accounting software. Taking it to the next step–educating our customers about opportunities to increase sales and reduce costs–is the bigger challenge.”

At Your Service: Deltek Systems

As a provider of accounting and related software for professional services organizations, Deltek Systems has turned its focus toward Web-based reporting and an expanded product line, including CRM (customer relationship management) and time-and-expense reporting. “Those are important products to a services company,” notes Richard Lowrey, vice president of business development, “so those were our top priority.” During 2001, says Lowrey, “we will put out resource scheduling and delivery functionality so that our customers’ best resources are on the job, and profitably deployed.” Deltek bolstered its own resources in 2000 by acquiring Semaphore, a former competitor and specialist in automating architecture and engineering offices. In addition, it formed several strategic partnerships, including one with Adaytum Software that led to the introduction of a budgeting tool that enables clients to comply with recent full-disclosure rules (Reg FD) advocated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Back-to-Front: Epicor Software

Need more proof that it’s not just about accounting anymore? Consider the ever-growing core of Epicor Software. John Hiraoka, senior vice president of marketing and business development, says that last year the company released more software than it did at any other time in its history: “We’ve expanded beyond accounting, and now have manufacturing, front office, CRM, and E-intelligence decision support.” Epicor released upgraded software across all product lines, and, as Hiraoka puts it, “added E-business capability everywhere.” The ultimate goal, he adds, is to move beyond traditional back-office finance and manufacturing applications, and provide software that allows customers to generate additional revenue. “Many people appreciate enterprise management applications for their cost benefits,” he says, “but we see an expansion of revenue possibilities.”

Big & Better: Great Plains Software

Having swallowed up a number of its competitors even as it was being swallowed up by Microsoft, Great Plains Software is vowing to avoid indigestion. Last year, the company grew to 2,000 employees, with 2,000 channel partners and 130,000 customers. Amid all that tumult, it rolled out what vice president of product development Jeff Trosen calls “the most significant product release in our history, strengthening multinational and international capabilities and focusing on buy- and sell-side economics.” The new release, 6.0, also includes enhanced E-commerce and B2B solutions, as well as distribution functionality and supply-chain management.

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