New contenders enter mid-range market

Systems Union, the veteran mid-market pacesetter, has launched SunSystems 5, its client/server accounting package upgrade from version 4.2.

The release includes full dual-based accounting facilities and is due to ship in the first quarter of next year. It, and version 4.2, will integrate with Microsoft’s long-awaited SQL Server 7, due later this month.

Peter Dryer, marketing director of Foundation Systems, which resells Systems Union, Lawson and Tetra software, said SunSystems 5 answered previous criticism over ugly product design.

‘SunSystems was renowned for being dependable but it was criticised for being a bit of an ugly duckling. The new release looks better. It also has a dual-based euro functionality in the basic model for the first time,’ he said.

Aside from the now obligatory euro-friendly features, SunSystems 5 offers enhanced e-commerce features, such as NetLink, which uses business tools to drill down for information.

SunSystems faces competition from newer companies such as the Danish firm Navision, Colchester-based Access Accounts, and Great Plains, a US-based contender in the mid-range enterprise market.

To herald its new multi-currency, EMU-compliant product, Access has given it a new name, Dimensions. Dimensions includes 20 integrated modules and will begin shipping to customers next month. It starts at #950 per module for SQL Server-based software, and #1,250 for Oracle versions.

Great Plains is promoting Dynamics 5.0, which brings together two products – Dynamic C/S+, which runs on NT and SQL Server, and Dynamic, which can run on Novell and Btrieve database.

New features include a module called Explorer, which ‘can transfer information from a database, such as sales customers in a geographical area, to an Excel spreadsheet’, explained Great Plains UK MD Neil Robertson.

John Tate, MD of Tate Bramald, a financial software consultancy and Dynamics reseller, predicted that smaller mid-range vendors would be ‘squeezed out’ by larger vendors. ‘There will be a shake-out of smaller players such as Access. They have great ideas along with Pegasus, but don’t have a global market like Great Plains,’ he said.

Alistair O’Reilly, Access MD, responded: ‘He’s looking at our past.

We only started seven years ago without a heritage of DOS users.

We now have a #4m turn-over and 150 dealers.’

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