So….. reporting from the Small Business Expo – I’ve been undercover today – doing the rounds of the accounting software businesses talking them about what they do and pretending to know nothing.
Both MoneyWorks and MYOB are on the defensive, running down Xero‘s strategy, product offering and viability. The man from Xero was the least combative of the three – Xero would no doubt say that both the ISV’s feel threatened and this is where their hostility comes from.
I talked to the guy from MYOB about my previously posted about problems with their product. In relation to the agonisingly slow processing across the network, MYOB had two comments to make;
- It works well under terminal server
- It probably needs to move to an SQL platform
Now on a technology-centric level, and as a bit of a geek myself, I can see that and buy into the story. However we need to turn it around (and if nothing else SaaS by its very nature forces us to do this) and look at it from a user-centric perspective.
I run six or so businesses through MYOB, all I want is an accounting package that does what I need it to, reasonable rapidly and without lots of technical wizardy – IT JUST NEEDS TO WORK! From a user-centric perspective then, MYOB is failing dismally at doing what it needs to.
Both MoneyWorks and MYOB made some valid comments questioning how Xero will work once it has to serve up long lists of customers, or inventory items or whatever. Of course the technology-centric perspective we could get all excited about would include increased latency, upscaling broadband speeds and improved bandwidth functionality. None of that matters, what everyone needs to do is some “mind of the customer” analysis to determine what exactly it is that the customer needs.
If Xero has an issue dishing up long lists of data then behnd the scenes it needs to resolve that – from a user-centric perspective it doesn’t matter how they do that – it just needs to work.
The encumbants dont work particularly well so in my judgement all three enterprises are at a similar level right now – the interesting thing wil be which of them moves the quickest to sort out their individual issues.