Intacct Aims for More Mash-ups and Less Worry
Web-based accounting service touts real-time Web 2.0 dashboards and looks to make software-as-a-serve carefree.
Intacct, like many veteran Web-based applications vendors that launched in the late '90s, has had to wait a bit for the small and mid-sized business market to catch on to the benefits and reliability of hosted software. However, the San Jose, Calif.-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) accounting application provider has waited it out and is now gaining traction alongside arguably better-known vendors such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite.
Today the company unveiled Intacct Spring 2008, which is designed to offer new real-time Web-based dashboards, interactive reports, analytics, Web 2.0 mashups, disaster-recovery options and expanded customer assurances.
Intacct is aimed at the SMB market, but George Jaquette, the company's vice president of product management, said it's not for everyone. "It's not a deep inventory solution. And we're not experts in e-commerce." Rather the service is aimed at businesses that "have grown beyond QuickBooks." Jaquette knows a bit about QuickBooks users. Prior to joining Intacct six months ago, he was the group product manager for QuickBooks at Intuit.
While Jaquette said that Intacct doesn't compete with QuickBooks, it does compete with NetSuite. However, he said, the big difference between the two SaaS vendors is that, "we focus on financial management. Our core is accounting, and we partner for the rest." In contrast, NetSuite offers a turnkey platform offering accounting, e-commerce, CRM, ERP and other modules.
As part of its new Intacct Insight offering, Jaquette said, Intacct offers "deep integration" with Salesforce.com, so businesses can use a single dashboard that includes a sales pipeline and forecast from Salesforce.com combined with current financial and operational metrics from Intacct. The company also has partnerships with ADP, Paychex, CompuPay, LucidEra, Adaptive Planning and about 100 other software and consulting services.
|Intacct Insight is designed to make it easy to add other Web-services-based applications and content.|
However, Jaquette added, Intacct's mash-up capabilities make it easy to link and embed external applications, collaboration tools, financial resources, and news and consumer content. Because Intacct is open platform, he said, it's easy to add any Web service to the dashboard with no IT programming help required.
SaaS is hardly new technology, but Jaquette said there are still some concerns among small business customers, and Intacct has attempted to address those with its Buy With Confidence guarantee. "It's not a change in policy, but now we're just putting it in writing to take the concerns off the table."
The concerns involve involve data both its security and its availability. Jaquette said that some SaaS vendors make it difficult and expensive to get data back should a business decide to move to another vendor. He said Intacct will extract data for a small fee (typically about $600). "We have no intention of keep customers hostage. If you're not happy, we'll let you leave."
Intacct also announced today that in addition to the 99.97 percent uptime and security provided through its hosting partnership with IBM, it's working with SunGard to set up a disaster recovery center in Philadelphia. Should a disaster such as an earthquake destroy the IBM data center in San Jose, SunGard and Intacct will restore the applications in SunGard's disaster recovery center in Philadelphia within 24 hours. This new disaster protection is automatically provided to all Intacct clients for free as part of Intacct Spring 2008.
The company also introduced new fixed-price implementation services that are designed to make it easy for clients to predict expenses. The subscription costs $10,000 a year for two financial seats and 10 dashboard seats. The one-time implementation fee costs $10,000.
If a business needs multi-company, multi-currency and financial consolidation capabilities, the annual subscription fee is $28,000 for four financial seats and 20 dashboard seats. That version requires a $30,000 implementation fee.
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