The UK's largest accounting software developer, Sage Distribution, is aggressively attacking the Australian market with its Sage developer objects (SDO) software suite that integrates vertical market software with Sage's own accounting software.
The result, according to John Marshall, managing director of Sage in Australia, is the ability of third-party developers to concentrate on their own core competencies rather than on becoming accounting experts while still providing total solutions. "It is better for everyone involved that we [Sage] provide the accounting software and the link to the vertical software so third-party developers don't have to reinvent the wheel."
And according to Paul Funnel, manager of Cavalier Software, a Sage development partner and construction industry software developer, Sage's SDO solution addresses current customer demand. "People were constantly asking us if we could link our vertical software right through to their accounting product," said Funnel of his customers' desire to develop total solutions through a single point of contact. "One of the reasons we chose Sage was because they were flexible. We can use their accounting software packages and link them to our software in small businesses all the way up to $30 million companies."
Cavalier is also relying on its relationship with Sage to propel it into the international arena, based on what he perceives is now a better product offering and Sage's existing presence in overseas markets. "The export opportunities available through this relationship should not be ignored. We have already identified North America and the UK as markets we would like to get into, probably the UK first because of Sage's strength there," said Funnel.
And 22 other third-party Australian developers apparently feel the same way, all having expressed interest in establishing a relationship with Sage and utilising its SDO technology.
"We are targeting the Australian market through a big marketing campaign. We've just been to the Melbourne IT show and we do a lot of direct mail drops. But most significant is the fact that there isn't a technology like this anywhere else," said Marshall.
According to Marshall, combining third-party software with accounting products has always been possible but it required a mammoth effort on behalf of the third-party developers. "Resellers and developers saw an opportunity in this market prior to Sage developing SDOs but it meant they had to go through all the rigours of understanding Sage's products and how to connect everything together. We sat back and figured out how to make it easier to link into Sage's accounting products."
Marshall added that 90 per cent of Sage's resellers and developers have taken up the product.