Jeremy Roche, the former CEO of Coda who now runs the recently formed spinoff FinancialForce.com, sees lots of possibilities in the cloud computing market.
Codas cloud accounting product, Coda 2go, forms the basis of the new company, which was spun out at the end of September (see Coda 2go Becomes New Company, FinancialForce.com). Codas Dutch parent company, Unit 4 Agresso, has a major stake in the new company, along with a minority investment from Salesforce.com, whose Force.com technology is used by Coda 2go. The technology not only allows Codas software to hook into a readymade customer relationship management system, but also the thousands of other applications developed for Salesforce.com.
Roche visited New York on Thursday to talk about the new company. While it has been spun out of the old Coda, the two will still have ties, and Roche continues to sit on the board at the Dutch parent. However, Salesforce brings with it a potential market of 63,000 customers and 1.5 million users, while FinancialForces headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., will give the company access to plenty of Silicon Valley talent.
The company is already preparing to launch iPhone and BlackBerry access to the software. The Winter 2010 release will offer a graphical view of how the accounting data flows with hyperlinked access to various parts of the accounting system. A new accounting launchpad at startup time will also provide access to various parts of the system.
FinancialForce also plans to build in integration with various major enterprise resource planning systems. While Roche declined to specify exactly which ones, SAP and Oracle are some likely candidates. He also intends to compete with traditional midmarket products like Microsoft's Great Plains and Sage's MAS 90.
Meanwhile, the old Coda will continue to develop the on-premises version of its software. But the new company will offer the old Coda and its Dutch parent better entrée to the U.S. market and allow it to take advantage of the expanding market for cloud computing, which relies on servers across the world and Web-based access. The cloud computing model allows businesses to deploy an accounting system relatively cheaply by not buying their own servers, which is a good idea in todays economy.
And Coda/FinancialForces experience in the European market should be helpful as U.S. companies make the almost inevitable transition to International Financial Reporting Standards that the SEC is likely to approve at some point in the future.