Possessing a bit of business intelligence may help companies survive the economic downturn.
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At least that seems to be the thought of some accounting software resellers out there who are not only trying to survive themselves, but trying to help their customers survive as well.
One Dynamics SL reseller, Stamford, Conn.-based NexVue Information Systems, entered the BI space seven years ago, but spun off its software development unit to a separate legal entity called BIO Analytics Corp. at the end of 2006. NexVue has consistently appeared in Accounting Technology's VAR 100 list, with growing revenue - $5.7 million in 2008, up from $5.4 million in 2007, $4.5 million in 2006 and $3.85 million in 2005.
Owner Daniel Schwartz explained the increasing interest in the BI side of his business.
How is the economy affecting your business?
In a down market, you need to know what's going on on a real-time basis. You need to identify change, analyze and react. Our clients are changing their internal policies to keep their business going and keep cash coming in, but they don't know the long-term impacts of those changes. You need to use BI in an almost defensive capacity as opposed to in a normal economy it's an offensive tool - a nontraditional analysis of traditional data.
Explain your relationship with other ERP VARs
Our goal is to give them a platform which they can start with out of the box and adopt to the company they're working with, getting it down to the specifics of an individual company and even the individual role. We run a BIO bootcamp, three very full days that covers installation, training on the product and implementation, and we do the first installation with them and they receive margins. About 70 VARs went through it, about 60 to 65 percent of them are actively selling.
As a CPA, what drew you to IT and SL?
I had come out of Big 8 accounting and was pursuing a master's in IT. Lotus 1-2-3 had just come out and I was writing business plans for people in a couple of weeks with graphs and charts and no one knew how I was doing it. NexVue did a number of different product lines - Accpac, Macola, Cyma. In the '90s we focused on project-specific companies. SL has the best solution for that. We're looking at adding the NAV line for logistics and transportation (trucking companies, public warehouses, etc.). That's us being adaptable to the economy (finding) verticals consistent to where money is going to go.
Are the financing options offered by Microsoft helping convince people to spend?
Financing options aren't going to make someone buy a new system who wasn't going to buy one anyway, it might accelerate a sale. Go into your existing clients and have the situational fluency to understand the industry and the role you're dealing with and compliment that with a technological perspective and prove to the prospect there's an ROI and the risk of not doing it is greater than the cost of doing it.
What challenges do you see in the industry?
We, as an industry, sold some really good software starting in the late '90s, as long as they keep updating it people won't be ripping and replacing their accounting systems as fast as they used to unless someone comes out with a radically different platform. The problem with the classic VAR model is there's almost no annuity to consistently bring in revenue streams to add value to our business-maintenance barely keeps the lights on. I think the subscription model is the way to go. I'd much prefer having a steady steam and waking up Jan. 1 knowing how much money I'm going to put in the bank for the next 12 months.