Software Giants Eye the SMB Market

As his firm neared $100 million in revenues, Jeff Westphal saw trouble brewing. “We had outgrown our in-house solutions for accounting and planning. We were facing the inability of our homegrown solutions to provide us reliable, flexible and expandable information,” explained the president and CEO of Vertex, a 600-person software-solution company. Fortunately for Westphal, a new trend in the marketplace has made a new class of business-process solutions available to mid-sized enterprises like his.
The solutions themselves are not “new.” Companies such as Oracle, SAP and Peoplesoft have long offered their powerhouse databases to the biggest corporate entities in the world. What is new is that these vendors have started marketing scaled-down versions of their accounting, inventory, manufacturing and other system software, to mid-sized companies.
“What these vendors can provide is a much greater functionality” than the piecemeal solutions that have dominated in mid-sized firms, explained Marc Hebert, executive vice president at Sierra Atlantic, an IT services company based in Silicon Valley. Unlike most smaller systems, in which different business functions exist within their own silos, these big-time suites typically offer a relational database for enhanced analysis, as well as rich reporting tools and Internet-ready solutions that let firms tie easily into portals and other forms of business-to-business electronic commerce. (full story)