Feb 042017

PCMag has updated its rating of accounting software in an extra useful way.

First, the ratings are determined by a panel of the magazine’s community members.

Second, in addition to the ratings there is a directory of 66 products available for perusal in the category.

Sage (formerly Sage Software, the publisher of Sage 300, Sage One, Sage 50c, etc.) has won the category. SAP has lost the category. Not bad, given how it is the smallest of the top-rated companies from a revenue perspective. Perhaps it is a testament to the power of focus as Sage has been shedding product lines and trimming its portfolio in the last ten years. It also dodged a bullet when its intended acquisition of MYOB did not go through – although it did get sued for it.

While six products are listed the top contenders do not offer the buyer as many choices and make finding a top software for each market segment easier. PCMag’s list has curiously mixed products for personal use (Quicken), SMB (QuickBooks and Sage) with Mid-Market products (Microsoft) and Enterprise Solutions (SAP and PeopleSoft). Also, the two ‘swift’ products either belong or belonged to Intuit.

Top Accounting Software rating

An earlier article also provided a guide for Cloud-based accounting software.


*I used to work for Sage, Microsoft and Oracle.

Jul 112016

Last time Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) was in Toronto it was 2012 and then-CEO Steve Ballmer was announcing Windows 8 as his microphone kept failing the audience.

How things change with the passage of only four years. Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft, Cortana is here and the show went without a hitch as far as one could tell.

The opening keynote was once again at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, but instead of new product announcements (rumour has it that the partner application store AppSource, a rebranding, was accidentally announced prematurely) and opportunities for VARs and resellers, the keynote was one challenge after the other extended to ISVs to build on the Microsoft platforms. AvePoint’s Citizen Services is one of the first 200 apps on the new portal.

To hammer the point home that solving problems and extending technology to all corners is the route to success Nadella invited GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt onto the stage to speak about how his company has become a software company. He also insisted that the era of outsourcing has come and gone and successful companies of the future must innovate with technology or die.

The aforementioned Cortana was the first product to get a name check followed by Dynamics365 from Nadella followed by less tangible, but more fundamental concepts, like “digital transformation” and the Cloud residing in every endpoint was IMG_20160711_112354 IMG_20160711_101728 IMG_20160711_101539 IMG_20160711_101451 IMG_20160711_100953 IMG_20160711_095503 IMG_20160711_095140laorrainebardeenhololens IMG_20160711_092237 IMG_20160711_085704 IMG_20160711_084512 IMG_20160711_084310 IMG_20160711_084135sequence IMG_20160711_081928also discussed. The technology is impressive, but also from a sheer cool factor point-of-view the demonstration of a virtual engine via HoloLens in collaboration with JAL (Japan’s largest airline) took the cake.

Microsoft is increasingly a platform company. That is obvious. It is interesting to watch how much Nadella and the company can extend the giant’s distinct platforms away from licensed SKUs and line items into the platform realm without going too far revenue-wise i.e. whether the balancing act can come fast enough.

By the way, did anyone see or hear any mention of the recent LinkedIn purchase? After all, it was only last month that Microsoft announced its intention to spend $26 billion (US) on the acquisition.

*I do work on behalf of AvePoint and also worked at Microsoft.

*Things That Need To Go Away: Attending Conferences Without A Clear Benefit Or Specific Outcome

May 042015

Is Salesforce.com on the auction block?
That was the report last week when Bloomberg reported that the venerable Cloud Computing Sales and Marketing application vendor has been approached by a suitor to be taken over.

The approach and the need for Salesforce.com to be sold are not surprising. The company has been a leader in CRM and platform computing the cloud. Its desirability is not in doubt, although its leadership might have peaked. Moreover, despite its surging revenues (by another 33% in the last year) the company has always suffered from low margins. There are two reasons for this. For one, the company spends heavily on operations and marketing. For another, the company has been an acquirer of companies and technology wading into marketing to bolster its sales-side offerings.

Last Wednesday the 29th of April the company’s stock took on 9% more value to give the California-based firm a valuation of $49 billion (US). That already is above the $44 billion (US) a suitor was ostensibly offering. By this week the value had fallen to $46 billion. Nonetheless, any buyer would have to look at book value plus premium to grab the company. This might mean a $60 billion (US) price tag. This is a truly mighty sum. Moreover, the company has $908.12 million (US) in cash on hand and twice that in receivables.

So, who is the potential acquirer? The company’s heft makes for very few suitors. Oracle is a serial acquirer and king of the nominations. Oracle is in the CRM and Cloud business already selling its own software built in-house or originally developed by Siebel. Oracle has approximately $44 billion (US) in cash and receivables. Safra Catz, Oracle’s CFO, was characteristic in responding dismissively. Nonetheless there is always some fun and games between those two CEOs who have since patched things up again. Larry Ellison is a founding investor in Salesforce.com. There is SAP whose spokesperson indirectly refuted interest. The companies have talked in the past, but not in regards to an acquisition should they be believed. There is Microsoft, whose Dynamics software has been the sole serious roadblock in Salesforce.com’s domination. As mentioned here Microsoft has an agreement in place with Salesforce.com. More importantly, Microsoft’s CEO since 2014 Satya Nadella is completely focused on the Cloud and the mobile experience. The Redmond-based giant is sitting on $95 billion (US) in cash and short-term investments. Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM is reportedly holding onto a 6% market share versus Salesforce.com’s 17%. Microsoft and Adobe announced an agreement last week as well. See the below link for reference to Adobe’s marketing play. A few observers have also pointed to Google. A dark horse is IBM. The last name officially exited the ‘applications’ domain years ago, but in actuality plays in the field through its financial/business intelligence/analytics offerings. Regardless, IBM may be interested in Salesforce.com’s Cloud technology. Could IBM be interested in taking Salesforce’s CRM off Oracle database and unto its own DB2?

Reality might be the Salesforce founder himself is ready for a sale. He has tried various strategic initiatives and agreements – including an attempt to build in-house financial software and tie up with Intuit in 2011, which was quietly discontinued in 2014 – to little avail. Subsequently Salesforce invested in Financial Force .

One last point for you readers: Salesforce’s annual revenue is in the $5 billion (US) range. taken purely from a revenue standpoint a $60 billion (US) deal would take 12 years to pay off.