MYOB moves upmarket with cloud-based ERP

MYOB Advanced, a new cloud-based ERP suite, is based on technology developed by US company Acumatica, which MYOB invested in last year.

Australian accounting software company MYOB is attacking the mid market with a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning offering dubbed MYOB Advanced.

Targeted at mid to large Australian and New Zealand businesses, MYOB Advanced does not replace the company's existing on-premises EXO software, MYOB said, but rather extends the company's total product portfolio.

"We want to provide choice for our midsized customers who may not be comfortable with the concept of cloud and prefer an on-premise solution," Trevor Leybourne, product development manager of EXO, said.

"EXO is really an on-premise solution, whereas MYOB Advanced is our cloud ERP solution. So, while there may be an overlap from a functionality point of view, we want to provide a set of options for our bigger businesses."

Aiming its latest cloud-based offering directly at the mid market also goes some way to disentangling MYOB from the game of competitive one-upmanship that it has been forced to enter into with NZ-based cloud accounting contender Xero, which is focused heavily on the small to medium business end of the market.

MYOB Advanced is based on technology developed by US company Acumatica, in which MYOB invested $13.3 million last October, taking a minority stake and a seat on the board. Acumatica announced that it had acquired its 1,000th ERP customer in August.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will be the local hosting provider of MYOB Advanced. According to Leybourne, the company chose to go with AWS due to its flexibility and scalability.

"We picked Amazon [becuase] it's highly flexible, it's highly scalable, very reliable, and it's got a great pricing structure as well, and so, it just worked out of the box," said Leybourne at a media event in Sydney on Wednesday.

The new product, which was trialled in a pilot program from July last year, offers fast database searches, a distribution suite that allows customers to search inventory and make and track orders, and streamlines activities such as pricing.

Productivity tools for staff members enable them to enter expenses and access the CRM suite remotely. An iPhone app is being developed and will be released soon, MYOB said.

Laybourne indicated the company would also be releasing an Android app for the platform, but conceded that at present, a Windows phone app was "not even on the horizon".

MYOB general manager of industry solutions Andrew Birch said that a key consideration in the development of the new product -- which has sprung out of the company's AU$40 million research and development investment in the financial year ending 2014 -- were the priorities of business owners when making the shift to the cloud from on-premise accounting software solutions.

These priorities include functionality and cost, security, consistently high service levels and data sovereignty, according to the company -- all priorities that AWS' APAC head of technology Glenn Gore claims the cloud provider can cater for.

Birch said that the take-up of MYOB's cloud accounting solutions across the Australasian market was directly driving continued growth for the company.

"We look forward to seeing even greater take-up of our products across the mid-market, as larger enterprises embrace the benefits of cloud and the opportunities for greater staff and customer engagement through the use of a state-of-the-art ERP system," said Birch.

"Research has shown that once a company is using a cloud solution, use of the ERP system by employees rises from just over half to almost two thirds, offering enormous gains in efficiency and productivity," he said.

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