Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A new player in LA Financial Management

I note with interest that TechnologyOne, the Australian software house, has won its first local authority customer in the UK (it is already one of the largest suppliers to local government in Australia and New Zealand).

In a testament to persistence (I think they bid their first UK LA tender some 5 years ago),
TechnologyOne has won Scarborough BC, supplying its financial management and works/assets solutions in a contract worth £218k. This must be a double reward for Joe Slattery, TechnologyOne’s Regional Director as it not only potentially opens up the UK LA market at last, but also gives TechnologyOne a win over the Civica (one of their main competitors down under), the incumbent FMIS supplier at Scarborough.

However, the UK local authority FMIS market is littered with the grave stones of failed attempts of new suppliers to become significant suppliers of their FMIS solutions to UK local authorities (with suppliers like Coda, Ross, Northgate, CyberScience, Foundation, Flex and JD Edwards all winning their first sites, but then failing to get more than a handful of other LA customers - in many cases, only one or two – before deciding that it’s not a market for them and their product). It can be a tough market, with users demanding more from their FMIS than some suppliers expect (or their products can supply).

But, having researched TechnologyOne during my time in Radius and Civica, I believe that their product, whilst lacking some key functionality for the UK LA market, can be enhanced relatively easily to fill any gaps. With their track record down under, a range of excellent bolt-on modules, and a friendly user interface, I suspect that TechnologyOne will succeed – albeit they will have to go through a pain barrier to achieve live operation by the target October of this year.

Will TechnologyOne be successful in the UK LA market?

My view is yes - most probably – but it will take a long time. I’d rank their core functionality, width of product offering, and technology above many incumbent suppliers like Civica, iBS, COA and Consilium – all of whom appear to be looking to preserve their existing customer base, rather than win lots of new UK LA business. TechnologyOne is in many more sectors than just local government, and will also be able to rely on revenue from those sectors to fund its overall investment in attacking the UK market.

I think that, long term, TechnologyOne can compete with the likes of Agresso, and possibly even SAP and Oracle – but it will take many, many years – I just hope that they are prepared for a very long battle to gain a significant foothold in the UK LA market.

1 comment:

David Turner said...

Interesting to see a new competitor in the Local Authority market. At Agresso, we know how much hard work, focus and resources it takes to be the Number One supplier of ERP to UK Local Authorities.

So we welcome the new competition, but as you say, we will all watch with interest to see if they deliver successfully, and then can continue the investment needed to follow up a first win with the dozens more you need to become a serious supplier to this sector.