Opposition set to counter Coda’s plan for SunSystems

Coda’s plans to lure the users of SunSystems business software can expect a
tough battle from Infor, the private equity-backed group that bought out
SunSystems developer Systems Union last year.

IT experts said they were not surprised by Coda’s push to poach clients from
Infor, but warned that the AIM-listed firm faced a difficult task, as persuading
businesses to switch financial software was always a tricky proposition.

John Oates, IT advisory partner at Baker Tilly, said he expected Infor to hit
back at Coda’s move and assure SunSystems’ users that their product would stay a
part of its investment plans.

‘There are a number of customers who have been unsettled by the Systems Union
takeover, so Coda’s move does not surprise me,’ he said.

According to Oates, businesses would only switch software if it was
absolutely necessary, and it was no longer possible to receive support for a
system, as happened with the DOS versions of Sage 100 and Pegasus Opera.

Infor has already assured SunSystems users it will invest in the software, a
promise that will make it difficult for Coda to persuade customers to make the

In December last year, Infor chief executive Jim Schaper said his company
planned to invest 18% of its gross revenues in research and development. He
pledged that investment in Systems Union products would continue and said that
Infor was already integrating the products with other software in its stable.

‘I believe our general R&D figure is higher than the level Systems Union
invested in its products,’ Schaper said.

Oates said he expected Infor to push this message once again, now that Coda
had launched its migration plan.

Coda has not, however, opportunistically punted its migration plan in order
to capitalise on any disgruntlement among SunSystems customers following the
Infor buy-out.

Dave Turner, Coda’s group marketing director, said the software company has
been planning the SunSystems migration package since the beginning of last year,
well before Infor came into the picture.

‘This is a long-term strategy that we have been working on for a long time,’
Turner said.

Coda was particularly keen on SunSystems’ users, as there are several
similarities between the products. A recent SunSystems upgrade had also been
plagued with delays, which sparked Coda’s interest.

Turner said he was not expecting hundreds of SunSystems’ 3,400 users to flock
to Coda immediately.

‘Changing financial software is no easy task and it is going to take some
time for the migration plan to reap results,’ he said.

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