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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.

New Directions: SouthWare Innovations

In November, SouthWare released version 8.0 of its Excellence Series, adding international transaction capability and a rental management module. Last spring saw the release of its first E-business product, SouthWare NetLink. More important, perhaps, was the addition of a database directory, which allows SouthWare’s customers the freedom to use the Excellence Series with its native ISAM database or with those made by Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and others. SouthWare began with a wholesale distribution product in 1984, and over the years it has added financials, POS (point of sales), lot management, contact management, service, and other capabilities. The release of the rental module significantly broadens the market, since sales, service, and rental businesses are a major part of the company’s customer base. SouthWare plans to roll out an ASP offering by midyear.

Stars-Struck: Syspro Impact Software

“We’re pushing functionality as well as technology this year,” says Syspro president Brian Stein. The company’s forthcoming release 5.1 will allow the generation of general-ledger statements in XML form as well as browser-based drill-down capability for income statements. Stein isn’t concerned about Microsoft’s acquisition of Great Plains, and is more focused on what capabilities might be made possible by new platform enhancements from the software giant. “We’d like to see what we can release this year based on their new .Net technology,” he says. “That technology will push the envelope as far as what we can offer.” With an added focus on ease of use, the changes to Syspro’s offerings this year are aimed at making customization and implementation simpler for its mostly manufacturing customers. Toward that end, Syspro has implemented what it dubs a structured technique to achieve rapid solution (STARS) approach, which provides a structured methodology for implementation aided by several project-management tools. “As software companies,” says Stein, “we have been the biggest culprits of throwing so much at people they’re overwhelmed.”

Theresa W. Carey is a freelance writer based in Palo Alto, California.

A Note on Listings:  All products have GL, AP/AR, and fixed-assets functionality. Functions and platforms listed apply to products commercially available as of February 1, 2001. Some functions may be in development; contact vendors for information.


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