The crowds at Reckon’s national conference last week were as big or bigger for Reckon Accounts Hosted than its web app, Reckon One. Clearly there is a lot of passion for desktop software among Reckon’s accounting partners.
Given that all accounting software companies (you could almost say all software companies) see their desktop software as a sunset business, I asked CIO Zack Levy how important desktop software remains to Reckon’s plans.
Digital First: You said earlier you wanted “to do the right thing by your APs”. What do you mean?
Zack Levy: Yes. Our accredited partners, some of them have been with us for many years, and this is their 10th conference. They have tens if not hundreds of customers behind them that are still not ready to make that aggressive move to the cloud.
They want the functionality of desktop software and those people’s livelihoods are around that community and those users. If we forget them and neglect them we are going to miss the next wave, when they are going to end up in cloud in five years.
That’s why at the same time as we focus on ramping up our cloud products and building capabilities there, we are still servicing those hosted and desktop products that are servicing customers now and for the foreseeable future. If we neglect them we are going to lose that market.
Digital First: So you see cloud as coming in two waves? How would you define those waves?
Levy: Cloud is here and although (desktop software) is a sunset product (the sunset) is not as close as you may think. It’s still got five years in it at least. And during that five years we need to continue servicing our existing customers.
If you look at Reckon Accounts 2014, the hosted and non-hosted version, it is our biggest software release in the last six years. So clearly we still invest in the desktop product, it goes directly to our hosted product, and we are still going to continue to invest very heavily in our cloud product Reckon One.
Digital First: Are these waves of migration to the cloud dependent on the size of the business? If a quarter of businesses in New Zealand are already using cloud software that doesn’t seem like there’s five years.
Levy: If you look at the functionality of the desktop or hosted product and compare it to the cloud product the features are not at the same level. You still have businesses today that need to run a seven-year P&L and need to manage multiple inventories and do all the functionalities that none of the web-based products can do today.
What do you expect (those users) to do? How long do you expect them to wait until those features are there?
We are going to service those customers now and today and we’ll continue providing those features until we’re ready with our customers to move them to a cloud product with comparable functionality.
Digital First: So this is a size of customer or a type of business?
Levy: It all depends on the individual journey of the customer. Some of them are ready to embrace the cloud today. Some of them want to embrace the cloud but they can’t because the features aren’t there. Some just aren’t ready to go through the journey, or they are just starting the journey.
If you look at our strategy house the central pillar says desktop, hosted, cloud. Freedom is a word we use for marketing but the idea is that it’s a choice. we’re not going to push you down a particular path.
If we were a vendor with a only web-based product we would have to push you down that path whether you’re ready or not. But if you have hosted, desktop and cloud, it’s a matter of choice. Wherever you are in your journey you can get a product from us.
Digital First: How satisfied do you think businesses are with a hosted desktop program versus a web program?
Levy: I think the hosted option is the best of both worlds. You get all the benefits and features of a product that’s been written over a 30 year period and the features are deep and sophisticated.
But at the same time you get to access it from the browser no matter where you are so you get all the benefits of a cloud solution.
Image credit: Viator