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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.

Another initiative was the launch of Great Plains’s Business Document eXchange architecture (BDX), designed to facilitate the integration of E-commerce and back-office applications, with additional connectivity to Siebel CRM and other third-party solutions. “You could call it an enterprise application integration solution,” says Trosen. This year should mark the launch of the first of many releases for the Microsoft.Net platform. Meanwhile, Great Plains plans to release Solomon 4.5 this summer, along with eEnterprise 6.5. The company’s executives vow that once the Microsoft deal is consummated, they will spend more time in the field with customers and VARs–answering lots of questions about Microsoft, no doubt.

New Color: Khameleon Software

Khameleon is the newly christened entity that resulted when Design Data Systems was acquired by ASA International. Along with the new name came a new focus on such high-tech companies as software vendors and service providers. The company is tailoring its products to serve this not-insubstantial niche. For example, its latest version, release 5.8, provides functionality for recognizing revenue, often a thorny issue for software firms. Contract maintenance likewise got a boost, as did the billing component of 5.8. This year, Khameleon will provide its software in an ASP model through a partnership with New Orleans­based Protier.

All Together Now: Macola Software

CEO Bruce Hollinger believes the day is coming when clients will take fully integrated E-business suites for granted, and he plans to have his company positioned to offer them. “Last year and the year before, we saw disconnected E-commerce and CRM solutions,” he observes, “but these applications don’t really add value unless they’re integrated.” However, this shift doesn’t come easily, for either clients or vendors. “Last year as a business year was a strange one for everybody,” notes Hollinger, as everyone struggled to understand where E-business is heading. Education and knowledge transfer was a big priority throughout 2000. “We couldn’t spend time bringing people to class and doing field training,” he says, so the firm invested heavily in Web-based methods. Macola is also tapping the Web as a sales tool, encouraging prospects to log on to a schedule of live Web demos, for example, to get an overview of an entire suite or a single component.

Double Threat: NavisionDamgaard

Another late-in-the-year merger produced NavisionDamgaard, a Danish company with a growing presence in the U.S. market. Randy Keith, president of the company’s U.S. operations, says that while the company plans to evolve the Navision and Damgaard product lines toward a common technology platform, it will nonetheless maintain both families and not force customers to migrate. The company has a global customer base of more than 120,000 installations and an international business partner channel of more than 2,000 business partners. NavisionDamgaard’s main product lines are Damgaard Axapta, Navision Financials, Damgaard XAL, and Damgaard C5. Currently, Navision Solutions offers end-to-end business management solutions, including E-commerce, using the Microsoft BizTalk framework. This application has XBRL (extensible business reporting language, a finance-specific subset of XML) capability built in. Navision Solutions is designed to meet the needs of smaller midsize companies, ranging from a dozen to several hundred users, while Damgaard Axapta is primarily designed for midsize and larger companies, and can be scaled up to 1,000 users.

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