As the IT industry gears up for a ‘last chance before the year 2000’ boom, shoppers for accounting and business management systems are shifting their focus from the functional capabilities of the software to the quality of the supplier. This trend emerged in market research released last month by Accountancy Age and exhibition company Interactive.
‘People going through the buying process will compromise the product to get the right vendor,’ said Interactive research manager Wendy Kane.
‘Products have got to the stage where they all work adequately, but users want suppliers to work with them. They want a vendor with a good upgrade path who is able to adapt to their changing needs.’
Demand for software is still buoyant, with 51.9% of respondents planning to purchase software in the next 12 months. With such a large proportion of buyers in the market, the suppliers’ ability to deliver so many systems will put a strain on their sales networks and infrastructure.
Evidence that users are aware of this danger – and that many suppliers are not yet meeting these expectations – emerges from the research. Over 39% of respondents said there was a less than 10% likelihood they would buy a system from their existing supplier.
The most important factors that buyers consider when looking for new systems are implementation support (63.3%) and ongoing maintenance (54%).
‘They are happier with their software than with their suppliers,’ said Kane. The research also showed a marked increase between those companies that had brought in external consultants to help select and install new systems (8.6%), and those who intended to (13.8%).
The quarterly MarTrak service is based on a rolling programme of over 200 telephone interviews with directors and consultants working in small, medium and large organisations. The research is designed to monitor changing perceptions in the accountancy software market. The results will be covered in Accountancy Age on a regular basis; for more details phone (0181) 541 5040.
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