PricewaterhouseCoopers last week announced its intention to offers system specification and implementation services for mid-sized accounts systems, in alliance with Norwegian-owned software house Agresso.
PwC’s move into the middle systems market is being driven by accountants working in the company’s global risk management solutions group based in Uxbridge.
PwC partner John Whitfield said the firm had worked with Agresso on an informal basis for some time. ‘We had a toe dipped in the water and decided to make it more formal,’ he said.
‘Agresso is an increasing presence in the market and is one of the names that always appears on invitations to tender. Clients have been telling us they wanted a system PwC knows well,’ Whitfield added.
PwC already has four Agresso-trained consultants working in the field.
Six more are to be trained up by the end of the year.
‘This is a UK venture, but other parts of PwC around Europe are looking at it with a view to taking it further,’ Whitfield said.
Whitfield explained that the new mid-market strategy had grown out of the merged risk management practices of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse.
The Agresso relationship had been tested first within the former Coopers & Lybrand, which also had expertise with Systems Union and Coda software.
Price Waterhouse, meanwhile, had informal arrangements with JD Edwards and SSA.
Agresso UK managing director John Crooks said that mid-market opportunities were opening up because larger enterprise systems took too long to implement.
‘The big systems companies are moving downmarket and offering accelerated installation programmes. But if they implement quickly, they deliberately engineer out some of the flexibility – unlike Agresso, which can change with your business.’
According to Whitfield, there is still year-2000 angst in the market: ‘People are worrying whether they will complete projects on time and organisations are coming to us for contingency planning.
‘Even if you get your areas sorted out, people will mess up elsewhere. Organisations have tackled the year 2000 from the bottom up, but we are working with boards to examine the ramifications through their supply chains.’
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