Key Suppliers in Business Software and Applications


Product and focus: SAP’s Business One and All-in-One packages are specifically designed for small and medium-sized companies.

SAP currently derives just 8% of its revenues from sales to companies with revenues of less than $250 million; its ambition is to convince more SMEs that its high-end software can meet mid-market needs. The German company offers two software packages targeted at SMEs, but sold solely through third-party resellers: Business One and All-in-One. Business One is designed for companies with between 10 and 250 employees, and is the product of the company’s March 2002 purchase of Israeli company TopManage. It will be launched in the UK during the summer of 2003. All-in-One is a pre-packaged version of SAP’s flagship software, specifically tailored for vertical markets, and targeted at organisations with more than 250 employees.


Product and focus: Oracle’s E-Business Suite – Special Edition is a packaging of the company’s main ERP for mid-sized enterprises; a separate product, Small Business Suite, is sold to the low end of the market as an outsourced service.

Having lost ground in the high-end ERP market to SAP and PeopleSoft, US software colossus Oracle has made it clear it has no intention of letting that happen in the mid-market. It offers products at two levels. Its E-Business Suite has been repriced and repackaged as a Special Edition of integrated, pre-configured financials, order management, purchasing, and inventory modules that are sold directly or through the third-party channel. Tackling the low-end of the SME market, last year the company introduced the Oracle Small Business Suite, a package powered by a separate financials application known as NetLedger. Customers pay $1,200 a year for access to the software, which manages accounts, payroll, web presence, customer relationships, time and billing, and expense reporting. By its own definition, Oracle already claims that over 40% of its existing user base are SMEs, though its definition of an SME varies country by country.


Product and focus: PeopleSoft’s eponymous ERP suite is particularly strong in human resources applications and offers a good fit for professional services organisations.

PeopleSoft executives define the mid-market as organisations with less than $300 million in annual revenues – around 25% of its customers already fit this profile. In October 2002, PeopleSoft announced the general availability of PeopleSoft Accelerated Solutions – pre-packaged suites of PeopleSoft applications specifically designed for mid-market customers – initially targeted at SMEs in the UK, France and the Netherlands. These fixed-price software/services bundles include PeopleSoft applications, technical and end-user training, and fixed-scope implementation services. The company claims that Accelerated Solutions can reduce the delivery costs associated with ERP implementation by “as much as 50%”.

JD Edwards

Product and focus: For long a major force at the high end of the SME market, the company’s OneWorld product is a full ERP suite with particular strength in functions for manufacturing companies.

Considered by many analysts to be the leader among mid-tier enterprise application software companies, JD Edwards has a strong heritage in selling to organisations with revenues between $250 million and $1 billion, and the medium-sized divisions or subsidiaries of multinationals. According to analysts at the Meta Group, JD Edwards “competes well on total value proposition (product functionality, technology, and cost of ownership) for mid-market companies with somewhat complex operational systems requirements.” Additionally, the company’s acquisitions of supply chain management company Numetrix and customer relationship management supplier Youcentric are starting to pay off, after some delay in integrating these with the company’s flagship OneWorld ERP suite.


Product and focus: The company’s purchase of the Great Plains and Navision products have given it a broad range of function for many different industries.

Microsoft dominates the market for desktop applications software. Starting at the low- to mid-end of the market, it now hopes to achieve a similar position in the market for SME-focused business applications. Having acquired ERP providers Great Plains of the US in April 2001 and Denmark’s Navision in May 2002, the company has formed Microsoft Business Solutions, a unit which can now boast some 250,000 customers worldwide and a global network of some 4,000 channel partners. The broad product lines are designed for organisations with between 50 and 1,000 employees, with one exception – the Axapta ERP suite (acquired by Navision in its acquisition of Damgaard) scales to several thousand users. Microsoft’s .Net platform, say company executives, will provide mid-sized organisations with a common deployment infrastructure for deploying both desktop and enterprise applications, and will also enable third-party developers to create and integrate add-on, specialist modules.


Product and focus: A longstanding mid-range applications player, Baan’s iBaan product is a full ERP suite targeted at “industrial enterprises”.

The future of Anglo-Dutch software company Baan is, once again, less than clear in the light of suggestions from outside the organisation that it may be sold off by parent company, systems controls giant Invensys. However, as Baan accounts for less than 5% of Invensys’ $7 billion annual revenues, such a sale would certainly be insufficient to alleviate its parent company’s considerable financial problems. In its favour, Baan has done much to resolve the architectural and integration problems left in the wake of an ill-conceived acquisition strategy of the late 1990s. Moreover, despite its troubles, Baan has retained the loyalty of many longstanding resellers and customers, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Lawson Software

Product name and focus: Lawson’s eponymous ERP software range offers considerable specialised function, with a particularly strong line up for healthcare and retail customers.

Lawson plays at the high end of the mid-market, and offers strong function for organisations in the healthcare and retail markets, and increasingly for professional services organisations. However, the US-based company is frequently criticised for lagging on multinational capabilities – hardly surprising given that just 7% of its sales come from outside the US.


Product and focus: The Movex Collaborative Applications, a full ERP suite, draws on the company’s pedigree in mid-market manufacturing and logistics software.

Intentia is betting heavily on the message that customers need “to change their business processes to collaborative business models”. And although it can leverage a broad customer base and a strong, integrated ERP product suite, it has seen orders slow in recent quarters (especially outside of Europe). Its Movex Collaboration Applications (also known as Movex 12) covers six application areas: enterprise management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, business performance measurement, value chain collaboration, and ebusiness. After experiencing its first ever downturn in annual revenues in 2002, the Swedish company is now adjusting its cost model to deal with more modular buying by customers and lower prices that stem from intensified competition.


Product and focus: Geac SmartStream is a general suite of business applications software, while its System21 product is targeted at manufacturing companies, particularly in the food and beverage and apparel sectors.

In 2002, Geac began a phased “strategic transformation”, designed to decrease its reliance on maintenance and services for legacy applications. The acquisition of travel and expenses software company Extensity in August 2002 demonstrates the company’s determination to boost new software licence sales. That will sit alongside Geac’s SmartStream suite of financials, human resources and procurement applications, and its System21 ERP suite for manufacturing and distribution.


Products and focus: Springing from its dominance of the UK’s PC accounting software market, Sage has progressively acquired country-specific packages in order to become the world’s leading low-end accounting software player.

Sage is broadening its focus beyond its traditional sphere: low-end accounting software for specific geographical markets (notably the UK, France, Iberia, German-speaking countries and North America). In the UK, its Line 50, Line 100 and Line 500 packages also offer the contact management package Act! and sales force automation software, Saleslogix, acquired with the purchase of Interact in March 2001.


Product and focus: IFS Foundation is a component-based suite of applications primarily for discrete manufacturers.

Swedish company IFS has sold its applications to around 100 UK companies. The company offers a component-based suite comprising some 60 modules that has been rewritten to take advantage of XML and web services. It targets complex manufacturing operations and offers a strong product for asset management.

Unit 4 Agresso

Product and focus: A stalwart of the mid-market, Agresso Business World is sold across Europe but with a particularly strong following in Benelux and Scandinavia.

Formed from the merger of a pair of accounting and security software companies, Unit 4 Agresso is one of the largest business software companies in the Benelux region with 1,400 employees. The Unit 4 product range is primarily used by medium-sized and small businesses (up to 50 users) in the Netherlands and Belgium, with a particular emphasis on wholesale and distribution operations. The broader Agresso Business World range covers financials, logistics, HR, and project costing and billing.

Exact Software

Product and focus: The Exact Globe 2000 and e-Synergy lines focus on mid-market manufacturing users.

Dutch company Exact furthered its global reach in May 2002 with its purchase of US-based Kewill ERP, a division of Kewill Systems. The combined company targets manufacturers with revenues of between £5 million and £150 million. Exact’s software is designed for make-to-stock manufacturing environments, while Kewill concentrates on make-to-order manufacturing.


Product and focus: MFG/Pro is targeted at the mid-market manufacturing sector.

QAD’s MFG/PRO product is aimed at global manufacturing companies with sales of between $200 million and $1 billion, as well as the plant-level divisions of larger organisations. The software focuses heavily on ‘lean’ manufacturing processes, and has recently been re-engineered so that customers can buy it in smaller ‘chunks’. The company also sells private trading exchange software, QAD eQ, and a hosted exchange,

SSA Global Technologies

Product and focus: SSA’s broad line-up (the result of multiple acquisitions) offers products for manufacturing companies in all major verticals.

In addition to its own BPCS enterprise resource planning software, SSA has made a number of acquisitions in recent years: manufacturing software company MAX International in April 2001; the Interbiz ERP division of Computer Associates in March 2002; and ERP vendor Infinium in October 2002. The company targets manufacturers with revenues of between $250 million and $1 billion and is particularly strong in consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals/chemicals.


Product and focus: Epicor offers a full ERP suite for mid-sized companies, and a standalone CRM product, Clientele to manufacturing and distribution companies.

The demise of e-procurement company Clarus in 2002 was an opportunity for Epicor, allowing the mid-market ERP vendor to snap up Clarus’s e-sourcing and procurement technologies for a mere $1 million. Clarus targets organisations with revenues between $10 million and $500 million and also offers a wide range of Microsoft-based business applications.


Product and focus: The Mapics product is targeted at manufacturing companies with relatively complex needs.

With its November 2002 acquisition of Frontstep, manufacturing software veteran Mapics has launched a ‘dual platform’ strategy that may broaden its appeal to manufacturing companies with sales of $50 million to $500 million. While Mapics’ traditional focus has been on IBM’s proprietary midrange systems, Frontstep’s SyteLine ERP package has been rewritten for Microsoft’s .Net environment.

Systems Union

Products and focus: SunSystems for mid-range financial applications; Pegasus Opera for PC-based accounting

UK company Systems Union’s core accounting software, SunSystems, is aimed at organisations with sales of between £50 million and £500 million, and at multinational organisations that require an international product with a global support infrastructure for their worldwide subsidiaries. Since its acquisition of Pegasus Software in June 2000, the company has also offered a low-end accounting package, Opera, for small businesses.


Product and focus: Accounting packages aimed at different levels of the SME market, with additional modules for manufacturing, CRM, and HR.

US systems software giant Computer Associates has been trying to spin off its applications business for the past four years, after having successfully sold its enterprise applications unit, interBiz, to SSA. Already largely autonomous, Accpac has displayed serious ambitions to become a broad ERP player by expanding beyond a base in financials with the acquisition of mid-market vendor SBT Accounting Systems, manufacturing package supplier Lahey Software, point-of-sale software vendor AGS, and customer relationship management software company eWare. Profitable, with sales of $78.3 million, Accpac now aims to increasingly compete head on with the traditional ERP vendors, and new-entry Microsoft.

Scala Business Solutions

Product and focus: Scala 5 and its ‘collaborative ERP platform’ iScala 2 provides a base of manufacturing, logistics and financials software.

Scala Business Solutions has built a strong pan-European customer base of 7,500, targeting discrete manufacturers with revenues of up to EU250 million or the divisions of large corporations. With revenues of EU73.4 million, Netherlands-headquartered Scala was one of only a handful of major business applications companies to show growth and profitability in 2002, supported by the release of iScala, a ‘web services-based ERP II’ product – in effect, a re-architecting of the company’s Scala 5 product to address customer demand for application integration and connectivity. To boost that, Scala has doubled its R&D headcount over the past two years to 200.


Product and focus: Coda offers two financial accounting packages: its Coda-Financials suite and a new acquisition for smaller companies, Dream.

Twenty-four year old Coda (a division of CodaSciSys) has traditionally sold its Coda-Financials package to organisations with around 300 accounting software users. But its late 2002 acquisition of rival Squaresum will enable it to target smaller customers: it plans to sell SquareSum’s product, Dream, to companies with up to 12 accounting software users.

Ross Systems

Product and focus: iRenaissance is targeted at process manaufactrers

Ross Systems’ iRenaissance product is designed for process and mixed-mode manufacturers in the food and beverage, life sciences, chemicals, metals and pulp and paper industries. In 2002, Ross Systems added supply chain management and customer relationship management applications to the iRenaissance product portfolio and shifted its development focus away from Java development to embrace the Microsoft .Net platform.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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