Saved by the software

Speaking to Accountancy Age this week, as the company released iScala 2.1 – described as its ‘software for the 21st century’ – Andre Israel, vice president of operations for Western Europe, said that had the company not spent resources on creating 2.1, it would have gone into ‘maintenance mode and eventually died’.

The company, like so many of its ERP rivals, has experienced a rough ride over the last few years, running in the red and having to scale back its operation.

Over the last two years, however, behind the scenes the company has been developing its new offering, increasing its investment in R&D, while returning to solid financial results.

The company will pump £2m into strengthening its product portfolio over the next 18 months from its own resources.

In the first quarter of 2002, it reported its fifth positive quarterly result in a row.

The release of the version 2.1 platform, aimed at industries including manufacturing, represents the industry’s first purpose-built collaborative ERP system. It means the company will evolve its core product range over to iScala.

Israel, explained: ‘Over the last two years we have been more focused than ever before. We have concluded a lot of people cannot handle the complexity. We have gone away and designed an offering, which comprises less complexity in the core product and more connectivity.’

The company said it was lowering the barriers to entry for companies to gain ownership. 2.1 has been written following Microsoft’s ‘roadmap’ and is .Net enabled.

It added clients would be incentivised to move onto the new technology, but no time period had been set.

‘Our clients will move when they see the benefits of the added functionality,’ said Israel.

He added: ‘This is a big move for Scala, but I don’t believe it represents a gamble. The architecture has been tested with our clients. This is something we had to do. Software companies that do not develop their technology by the time it reaches the end of its lifespan will die.

‘I believe there will be further rationalisation in the ERP market space.’

Version 2.1 includes two parts. iScala Business Server, Scala’s entry-level product for the medium-size stand-alone business needing full ERP functionality.

It also includes iScala Enterprise Server, designed as a complete collaborative ERP package for medium-size multinational companies or for the subsidiaries and divisions of larger enterprises.

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