SmartOnline, creators of an online suite of small business services announced its newest creation, “OneBiz Conductor” – a software platform that gives small businesses with up to 500 employees the power to start, run and grow by integrating sales, inventory, banking, accounting, human resources, shipping, collaboration and commerce applications with only a Web browser.
SmartOnline is doing many things right, and reminds you of a similar type of service offered a few years ago by DigitalWork (now only a shadow of its glory days) which now offers primarily web design services.
OneBiz Conductor has a lot of promise and SmartOnline’s challenge will be building its network of partners, increasing subscribers and ensuring the product is best of breed and at least as feature rich and user friendly as its competition. NetSuite, SalesForce.com, Quickbooks, Microsoft, SAP and other vendors are going to be VERY tough competitors and these vendors in fact are ahead of SmartOnline in many respects.
SmartOnline syndicates its service to partners which include INC Magazine, Fast Company Magazine, JP Morgan Chase, Union Bank of California and Bank One who then offer the SmartOnline services to their audiences/customers.
SmartOnline claims that OneBiz Conductor is the first Web-native enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform designed for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that uses open industry communications standards to pass data seamlessly between multiple applications.
Unlike ERP systems that trap business users into proprietary applications, Smart Online’;s open standards architecture permits business users to quickly expand OneBiz Conductor with applications from Smart Online and companies that partner with Smart Online.
SmartOnline’s press release reads further OneBiz Conductor delivers big-business ERP on demand to small businesses, said Tim Bajarin, president of industry-analyst Creative Strategies Inc.
Hosted applications and utility computing for SMBs are markets that the elephants of the computer services industry ignore, said Bajarin, citing statistics from research firm IDC that show worldwide growth of software subscriptions growing 16.6 percent, compounded, from 2004 to 2008, when subscription revenues will hit $43 billion worldwide, or 34 percent of the total software market.
They’re too busy chasing thousands of seats at enterprise companies. But SMBs create more than half the new jobs in the US each year and they need, but can’t get, business solutions similar to the ones major corporations use, said Bajarin.
OneBiz Conductor terminates costly upfront payments for today’s disconnected software applications, said Michael Nouri, president of Smart Online, which pioneered Web-delivered Software-as-Service applications and the private-labeling of those applications by syndicating companies.
Enter your information once, and OneBiz dynamically updates multiple applications, said Nouri. Sell a product? OneBiz will have the capabilities to send credit card transactions to the bank, update the accounts receivable system, and order a new product while keeping track of your inventory.
Everything is visible within a customizable dashboard that gives you one-stop access to critical business information. The dashboard tailors information to each user. The VP of sales sees different data then the VP of operations. You can customize the look and feel of your calendar, planner and contact management system, said Nouri.