TechnologyAccounting SoftwareXML takes centre stage at Softworld

XML takes centre stage at Softworld

Competition in the accounting software industry has held back the adoption of open XML standards which would otherwise offer huge cost savings to businesses throughout the UK.

Link: Softworld special report

Dennis Keeling, chief executive of the Business Application Software developers’ Association, has been championing the cause of XML for a number of years. and will continue to do so at next week’s Softworld Accounting and Finance show.

His aim is to get a free and open XML standard into mainstream use as soon as possible. In the past, he said, software vendors have had their own proprietary standards and ‘their own dubious means of charging for it’.

‘We are actually competing with our own members if you like,’ said Keeling.

‘SAP has its own version of an order and invoice. Oracle has its own version as does Navision.’

He says this attitude has ‘totally’ held back the industry and as a result there has been hardly any take up. ‘The only way we’ve managed to get things moving is to bring together vertical groups.’

He cited the example of the building industry where Wimpy Homes had to write off a £2m investment in a proprietary system in order to move to open XML standards.

‘One of the problems you will realise at the show is that it’s all very well having a standalone system such as a Sage or an Exchequer. But its always been the integration with other companies that has been the problem.’

He said that the Audit Commission claims a government department will spend £75 on processing every invoice. But one of BASDA’s members has managed to get this cost to below a pound through using the eBIZ-XML standard.

This, he said, has allowed the company to double in size but still reduce its process control department.

David Turner, international marketing manager at CODA, agreed that XML would be under the spotlight at the show but conceded that we are by no means on the brink of a mass market. ‘It’s kind of like the first telephone,’ he said. ‘It’s no good until someone else has one.’

  • Softworld Accounting & Finance runs from October 16-17 at the Birmingham NEC.
  • For more information on the show, visit: www.softworld.co.uk/af

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