Master MAUS catches business Net-cat

Virtual reality is about to invade high-rise executive offices, as well as your local chicken takeaway, thanks to a Sydney company's plans to flood the Web with its Internet management simulation, development and training solutions.

MAUS Business Systems received $250,000 from the Department of Science and Technology to subsidise the project that should help at least some of the 890,000 Australians owning small businesses to improve their business management skills.

Several MAUS-developed business and training tools (such as business diagnostic, marketing management and financials programs) will be offered to customers through MAUS' On-line Resource Centre that is expected to be supported through a channel of online retailers.

"[The Internet management simulation program] will [place participants] in a genuine simulated business environment where they will be able to test and develop their management, marketing and strategy planning skills," Peter Hickey, managing director of MAUS, said of the Government-subsidised part of the larger commercial program.

"It will be specifically designed to help improve overall business marketing capabilities, assist with future planning and increase appreciation of the criteria that can affect market share."

In addition to launching this so-called "business game", MAUS will give retailers the opportunity to resell a range of its business management and training tools for desktop or online use. "Retailers will be able to sell our desktop products or offer their customers online information," Hickey said. "For example, if a user wants to do a budget, they can put their variables in and get their information out while online. If they order our desktop product through a retailer's Web site, we will deliver the product direct and the retailer will get better margins because they will not have to physically handle stock any longer."

Scheduled for launch on August 2, the program's success will depend on the retailer uptake and MAUS' ability to attract an investor for international channels.

"This program is entirely structured around incorporated retail strategy and if we successfully sell the idea to an investor, we expect it to bring us $43 million in sales revenues over the next two years," Hickey said.

MAUS releases new version of Masterplan

The latest addition to MAUS Business Systems' flagship product, Masterplan, is its recently released Masterplan Enterprise edition. This multi-user program, which is claimed to eliminate the normal amount of time spent creating professional business plans by up to 90 per cent, should allow the user to "customise any business, marketing or production plan and the accompanying strategies, questions and financials" at multiple levels. The solution features modules such as executive summary, background focus, marketing and sales analysis, competitor and market profile, detailed segment analysis and full financials. MAUS' Masterplan is used by the likes of the Commonwealth Bank and IBM. MAUS 1800 350 013Fast FactsMasterplanDeveloped in 1993Used by 23 universities and 70 TAFE coursesMasterplan manual is a best seller at Dymocks 100 per cent Australian developed and ownedFully Y2K compliantMasterplan retails at $199Masterplan Enterprise retails at $499