In the past few months, someone said that it's not just about accounting anymore. All you have to do is look at what the major vendors are saying and doing to realize that businesses are no longer just built on their accounting application or their CRM application. Microsoft increasingly links financial software with its Office suite. That's going to be a trend that continues as it rolls out Office Live, CRM Live, and whatever other Live applications that it has up its sleeve.
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Sage's last big purchases have been of companies that provide payment processing, medical practice management, and mobile applications.
That's a lot more than just accounting software.
Of course, the person who used the phrase "it's not just about accounting anymore," was me and I have a certain amount invested in defending this position. But much of this vendor activity occurred after that statement was made.
From a lead generation point of view, Sage's actions make a lot of sense. Most companies have accounting software. They don't have CRM. They aren't completely staffed by road warriors.
Microsoft's also make sense because accounting isn't isolated from other activities. People who use Excel aren't selling the spreadsheet output. Word documents aren't being marketed as a product themselves. All of this information goes into supporting the sale of products and services. So it has to get tied together.
Increasingly, there will be no difference between back-office and front-office software and people on the road will have access to the same data as they do in the office. This is the famous anywhere, anytime computing. But it's more than a slick marketing phrase - I believe it's the way mobile professionals want to work.
I define mobile broadly. Of course, it encompasses sales people and consultants. In the accounting business, the auditors certainly fall into that category. Executives who spend their time on the road need access to information in order to make decisions.
But then, there's the rest of us. Journalists can write on buses and airplanes, and wouldn't it be lovely to have more reliable and faster access to office databases and Web sites in order to do research to polish up that masterpiece?
Anybody who has a thought that they would like to act upon, instead of having to wait until they get home, or back in the office, is a mobile worker. And that's a big change-that we can act upon ideas when we think about them, and not risk losing that thought.
All the world's a mobile office, Shakespeare might have written in a different day on his PDA, and all of us are road worriers. OK, so that last word was supposed to be warriors.
But it's not a bad slip of the keyboard. Wouldn't you rather be a road warrior than a road worrier? Mobile products can help you make that transformation.