Just how big a deal can Intuit's QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions become?

That's an intriguing question because Intuit's release of financial results for its fiscal year ended July 31 shows that the Mountain View, Calif.-based software vendor sold 12,000 units of QBES, the mid-market edition of its QuickBooks accounting software, during that twelve months.

This was the first year that sales of QBES hit a steady pace of 3,000 units sold each quarter, and was up nicely from 10,000 units sold in fiscal 2005, 5,000 for 2004, 4,000 in 2003, and 1,000 for the last quarter of fiscal 2002 the first time it was reported.

But the most intriguing thing about this pace is that it was done largely without the assistance of value-added resellers. Intuit publicly announced its pilot reseller program only in May, and although some firms had been remarketing the product on their own, the channel was not involved very much and will take some time to ramp up. It was also been done without a big push outside the QuickBooks user base.

If you remember the premise of QBES, and Sage Sioftware's Peachtree Quantum package that came to market only this year, it's that there are hundreds of thousands of users who should have moved to a mid-market package but stayed with a lower-cost product because either they liked the features or they didn't want to spend a lot more money to move to another product.

And note that Intuit had also not made a push to sell QBES outside of the QuickBooks base because it wanted the faster performance of a SQL-based system, introduced in the QuickBooks line last year, before it tried to entice users who were less familiar with QuickBooks.

So what happens when VARs in some numbers start pushing the product and Intuit makes a bigger marketing push?

The 32,000 units sold are a lot of mid-market installations for a relatively new product. Other vendors would definitely likely to have part of the 12,000 unit total for FY 2006.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that once a channel and more intense marketing is in place, these totals will climb sharply. It's also hard to escape the belief that QBES is pushing traditional resellers either upstream or out of business and that this trend will escalate.

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