The likes of Coda, Access Accounting, and Microsoft Business Solutions spoke bullishly about the high quality of products that are now available on the market, not just at enterprise level but also for smaller businesses.
‘The mid-market is looking towards enterprise resource planning applications,’ said Jon Hughes, MBS partner group director.
Hughes also spoke about the latest version of Navision ðthe first release incorporating a Microsoft Outlook user interface: ‘We want the product to be less complicated to use, and increase users’ productivity.’
Alastair O’Reilly, MD of Access, said the main reasons for the increasing use of end-to-end software products among medium-sized businesses were the relatively low price combined with highly sophisticated technology, plus a very savvy potential customer base.
‘Business people working in the mid-market tend to come from larger organisations and know what they want for their business ðintegration,’ he said.
For those finance and IT directors looking for more than just a hard sell, the masterclasses once again proved very popular.
Insight MSC provided a session on ‘Finance systems implementation success ða matter of choosing the right approach’. The company has found that, with software implementation, faulty software is not often the cause of project failure, ðbut instead the blame lies with the human element.
‘Testosterone project governance is one of the main problems faced during the early, or “enthusiasm”, stage of the project,’ said Insight director David Muller. ‘Unclear terms of reference and scope, inexperienced resource and project management skills are all common mistakes.’
Muller added that people will often accept system ‘features’ that are actually bugs in the software, while rigorous testing of the system is viewed as ‘nice to have done’ rather than as an essential part of a finance system implementation.
The ‘IFRS/IAS current and future’ session questioned whether businesses preparing for IAS had the right data at hand to meet the new standards. Nick Forman, FD of Cartesis, asked the audience: ‘Is your report-writer capable of producing different reports from the same data? Have you updated the general ledger and other source information?
‘We don’t want to tell the world that the numbers are just different but why they are different. Let’s not shock them. And it’s often the same information presented in a different way.’
Forman added that of those businesses that have moved to IFRS, many have told him that it had ‘improved the way they report’.
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