Analysis – A new sales pitch: honesty

Last week, Systems Union bucked normal practice by telling people it was NOT going to be launching a product, writes John Stokdyk.

Sun Systems Version 5 is going back to the drawing board. R&D director Jim Simpson explained that some of the 32-bit components which were developed as part of the company’s Captiva development programme ‘could be better’ and would be rewritten.

Systems Union will stick with its old code for one last hurrah, version 4.2.6, due out by the end of the year. Like its UK rivals Sage and Pegasus, Systems Union was marketing accountancy software well before anyone took Windows seriously. But when the business world leapt on the Windows bandwagon, the older programs they were selling were like millstones.

Sage’s inability to deliver a 32-bit Windows product – particularly in Systems Union’s mid-market arena – has been a long-standing joke. Sage plans to silence critics next month when it starts shipping Sage Tetra CS (see IT File, page 15) – but had to buy rival developer Tetra to do so.

MPower from Pegasus is ‘British’, but the company had to buy in software from Denmark and work on it for over a year before it was ready to be shipped.

Candid behaviour is the new thing in IT marketing. Bill Gates started it, and Larry Ellison last month decided to admit that Oracle had ‘screwed up’ its relationship with Big Five consultancies.

With the market poised for a last-minute rush before the year 2000, it won’t be so long before Systems Union discovers whether telling the truth pays, or if panic purchasers are lured by Windows packages.

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