In case you missed it, this past week was packed with accounting-related technology vendor news so here's a roundup and a few insights about each one, plus a few thoughts on some current trends.
First let's start with a few of the more notable vendor goings on this week:
- Acumatica Hires a New CEO: the up and coming SaaS ERP vendor hired former Microsoft Dynamics general manager, worldwide SMB sales operations Yury Larichev as its new CEO. He replaces Ezekiel Steiner, who had been at the helm since 2009 around the time the company opened its McLean, Va. office. Larichev came on back in September as COO and since then they've moved closer to Microsoft territory -- Kirkland, Wash. to be exact -- and plan to tap in to some of the talent in the area and possibly even people looking to leave Microsoft for a more entrepreneurial opportunity. Regardless, Acumatica and Microsoft are partners with the former being an ISV for the Windows Azure platform. I'd look for these guys got get more aggressive in channel marketing and possibly product development and staffing for sure. Im already hearing reports from resellers -- particuarly in the Dynamics channel -- that Acumatica has been courting them pretty heavily. This makes sense since finally solidifying a formal channel strategy just a few months ago. There's also plans to have a more attractive offering for accounting professionals so expect to hear more about that in the future.
- Sage VP of Channel Sales Miller to Retire(aka, Saying Goodbye to Smiley): It's true, after four years of service -- and many more in channel building over all -- Sage North America will bid farewell to its vice president of channel sales Tom Miller. He admitted that his stint with Sage lasted longer than he originally planned -- two years that turned into a bit over four -- but he stuck around to make sure plans he had put in place for the channel were being executed and well received by partners. For the most part it seems he's succeeded, though of course time will really be the final judge as the impact Sage's partner programs will have on the company remains to be seen. Sage's transitional period has been well publicized, from key executive departures to major rebranding efforts, but Tom always kept a positive attitude and a smile on his face. Maybe partners didn't always get all the answers they wanted from him, but he made sure he was present and listened even if his hands may have been tied. Tom will officially retire at the end of March, leaving midmaket and CRM product executive VP Joe Langner to pick up some his more "channel facing" duties and a mix of new reporting duties for other members of product sales and operations. Langner himself admitted this new structure will be a bit of an experiement, but if it works out a full replacment for Miller's position may not be needed. Again, time will be the judge, but until then many well wishes to Tom.
- Avalara Buys UPC Code Taxabilty Database: The sales tax and compliance automater added another weapon to its arsenal in buying the largest UPC code taxability database around with the purchase of UPC Matrix Master from one of its partner companies Tax Matrix. Essentially Avalara now has at its fingertips a multi-state, product database that maintains tax information for more than 10 million products in thousands of tax jurisdictions around the country. Translation: the company is becoming a formidable source of tax information, not just an automation service business. For accountants who work with retailers, and ecommerce entities across the board, this is big news.
Here's something you may not know, this week at the International CES show, the startup company Ooma Inc. announced the release of Ooma Office, a phone service product designed specifically for small businesses or practices in the case of accounting first. Basically it promoses to be a virtual receptionist as well as provide more "big business level" office phone features. Could be worth checking out if for some reason you are not totally thrilled with your office's phone services. http://www.ooma.com is the place to look.
Speaking of CES, it's no surprise that gadget-wise we're hearing a lot of mobile offerings. I think this stands to reason as, essentially everything we will do in our business lives will involve some level of mobility or mobile access and it's happening fast. Think about it, five years ago did most of you know or care what an iPad was? Tablets were mentioned, sure, but they were little more than laptops that had their screens flip around, no touch capabilities to speak of at the time. But my main point about mobile is this: the cloud may be where information and data is going, but mobile will be how you get to it.