FinancialForce.com CEO Jeremy Roche (left) tells Stuart Lauchlan how Coda's joint venture with Salesforce.com will take Cloud accounting to a new level of functionality.
Cloud Computing companies such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite frequently argue that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for traditional on premise developers to move to an on demand business model. Witness the struggles of SAP and Microsoft to migrate from their existing architectures.
How does that explain FinancialForce.com, the latest evolution of financial specialist Coda’s two year project to create a Software as a Service (SaaS) version of its popular Coda Financials on premise application? If it's near impossible for the likes of SAP to make such a move, how does Coda pull it off? The answer to that apparently was to be Coda's use of Salesforce.com's Force.com development platform.
The two-year gestation period for FinancialForce.com may not impress the Cloud purists, but the time to market will have impressed rival accounting software developers and stands in sharp contrast to the tortured birth pains of SAP’s web-based Business ByDesign ERP suite. As well as providing a secure, ready-made development platform for FinancialForce.com, the Salesforce infrastructure gives the new venture access to a variety of integration opportunities with other Force.com applications, and plugs it into new innovations such as Salesforce.com’s microbloggling initiative, Chatter.
Roche promises that Chatter will be integrated into the FinancialForce.com environment, but prefers to refer to the concept as “collaborative accounting”. “We have been talking about creating collaborative accounting packages for over a year,” he says. “You can have people monitoring and running activities. You don't need to have a trigger set up to alert you when your bank account is running low for example. One of the things that seems to be compelling is the interconnection between the front and back office which means that the sales guys are not left to be seen as the odd ones out.”