I wrote almost a couple of years ago now about MYOB’s (see disclosure statement) first foray into the world of SaaS. I wasn’t overly impressed, saying at the time that:

MYOB has the experience, the money and the clout to bring a product to market with the features that users need. Under this measure MYOB has failed, if it’s true that this has been a five year project, BBO is a failure.

Since then lots has happened – MYOB has been sold to a private equity firm. The product head for BBO, Stuart Bale was poached by (and subsequently let go from) Xero and meanwhile BBO has pretty much stood derelict and orphaned.

Come April MYOB are going to it again and will be releasing their MYOB Live Accounts product. The Sydney Morning Herald have trumpeted about the move but, as is often the way with traditional media, haven’t understood some of the subtleties that give a story context. They also quote MYOB’s CTO saying that the product is built on Microsoft Azure however I have it from a source within MYOB that this is not in fact the case.

So what can we expect form this product? An MYOB reseller newsletter that came across my desk this week gave some minor details – pricing around NZD35, a pared down offering focused on sole traders and the like and leveraging heavily the automatic bank feeds that are Xero’s main differentiator.

I’d expect to see, similar to the previous MYOB SaaS product, an offering that serves the invoicing and expenses parts of the business with little on the “richer” parts of the desktop offering (inventory, financial reporting etc). I’d also expect MYOB to leverage the excellent relationships it has with banks in Australia and New Zealand in order to cut a blow into Xero’s self-proclaimed position as “thought-leader” in this particular space.

I can’t imagine it having any real impact on that other Australasian SaaS vendor Saasu – of the three, the Saasu product is the most fully featured and I’d imagine MYOB’s product would come in well below this in terms of functionality.

Watch this space for a more detailed review once I’ve seen the product.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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