PracticePeople In PracticeIBM launches Axapta

IBM launches Axapta

Big Blue's new software suite takes on rivals at Softworld, writes John Stokdyk.

IBM will throw down a challenge to established UK accounts software developers when it launches Axapta, a Web-friendly family of business applications in Birmingham next week.

The autumn Softworld in Accounting and Finance event, sponsored by Accountancy Age, is a traditional showcase for new products. Jostling for attention with Axapta will be MPower, the all-new 32-bit application from Kettering-based Pegasus.

MPower will extend the Pegasus product family and provides a multi-currency, multi-company, and multilingual accounts environment that is year-2000 compliant and capable of handling the legal requirements surrounding euro transactions.

Both MPower and Axapta originate from Danish software houses, but where MPower is built around Microsoft’s SQL server database and Bill Gates-approved development tools, Axapta is the first accounts system to be built with the Java development language.

The Axapta business management family is designed for those firms turning over between #5m and #60m. The software includes a financial series comprising general ledger, cash-flow management, bank reconciliation, accounts receivable and payable and invoicing modules.

The financial configuration can be accompanied by trade series, to handle inventory management, purchasing and sales order processing; logistics series, for managing trade relationships; and production series, for manufacturing and materials management.

Fraser Williams, a Bristol-based systems implementer, is one of a handful of resellers to sign up to sell and install Axapta applications. The company’s managing director Ian Williamson said Axapta would carry the company into the second-tier corporate market and his technical staff gave the product the thumbs-up for flexibility and power within its MorphX development tools.

Axapta may not be as strong on core accounting functions as Fraser Williams’ other product, Agresso, said Williams, but the breadth of the application meant it would appeal to a wide range of target markets.

‘Axapta exploits its technical edge to leap-frog the competition in key areas,’ said Williamson. ‘Combining the IBM brand name with a good, leading-edge product, and our own reputation and track record, is very appealing.’

The rest of the Softworld event will be notable for an array of upgrades from vendors ensuring products are both millennium and EMU-compliant, and exploit the capabilities of the Internet and new Microsoft technologies.

Other key products will be:

– Sage Line 50, version 5, with built-in contacts and task manager applications, enhanced bank reconciliation and cheque-generating facilities, plus other improvements requested by its users.

– Navision Financials 2. Now tagged with the Microsoft BackOffice logo, the Navision family can generate reports in both euros and the national currency and provides rounding and triangulation functions to meet euro requirements. A manufacturing module is due by the end of the year.

A full round-up of the Softworld event will appear in Accountancy Age on 15 October.

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