Business software prepares for radical decade of change

Finance teams that use business software should prepare themselves for a
period of radical change, experts have predicted, where they will have a smaller
pool of suppliers to buy software from and a plethora of new technology
platforms to negotiate.

Across the board, speakers and vendors at this year’s
Accounting & Finance exhibition said that industry consolidation and rapid
rise of on-demand, online software was set to revolutionise the shape of the
sector over the next decade.

‘About 15 years ago there were 800 business and accounting products. Today
there are less than 100. Probably only 50 of those are in development mode, the
rest are in maintenance mode,’ said Dennis Keeling, chief executive of

‘There are going to be fewer vendors for people to choose from. It is going
to be much more difficult for new entrants to break into the market because as
companies consolidate functionality is enhanced and it becomes so much harder
for new entrants to match,’ Keeling added.

The rise of the internet and the use of mobile phones and PDAs to access
information is the other transformation the industry is negotiating. Once the
preserve of small packages offered to start-up business, software as a service,
web-based applications and on-demand software are becoming more mainstream as
more and more companies of a much larger size consider new platforms.

Don Haddaway, of Artisiam Software, said: ‘The web is ubiquitous, which
enables people to access key information anywhere. PDA, mobile and internet
technologies can all be leveraged to provide key information to decision makers
at all times.’

Dave Turner, marketing director at Coda, however, sounded a note of caution.
‘We are approaching on-demand software with caution. It has worked for customer
resource management, but it is still to be proven that it will work for f
inance,’ he said.

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