FinancialForce comes of age

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.” 
 

Continued...

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Comments
Bahram's picture

Improving Coda?

Bahram | | Permalink

 

I worked with Coda about two years ago while I was on a short term assignment at Entertainment UK. The system was extremely outdated and labour intensive. In fact in my opinion as a senior Chartered Accountant, sticking with something as inflexible and rigid like Coda, could have contributed to the mess, which existed at the time, about the financial accounting position of Entertainment UK culminating in the subsequent downfall of Entertainment UK and Woolworth.I can't understand while anyone in their right mind would want to stay with a system like JDE or Coda or any AS400 systems and such like, when you can have a clean start with a modern and accountable system such as ORACLE, SAP OR NAVISION. Moving on to a proper modern system straight, costs much less in the long run than trying to patch up and "interface" something that is inherently backward. Such practices may create some income and a foothold for the IT suppliers of that particular "patch" but surely it can't be in the long term interest of profitability, accountability of the company's best interest.  If you wish to comment or want more information and evidence about my views you can google me or contact me through Linkedin.

Bahram Alimoradian BSc FCA

david_terrar's picture

In defence of CODA

david_terrar | | Permalink

Hi Bahram,

As one of their competitors, let me do something unusual and jump to tbe defence of CODA (but also see later disclosre).  You seem to have a problem with the old AS/400 version of CODA, but that's not the same code as current CODA or the Financialforce.com product described by Jeremy above.  Actually CODA's gone through many incarnations.  It started life back in 1979 on HP3000 (remember them?), then DEC VAX and then arrived on AS/400 circa 1988.  Each time the code was never converted, but was re-written with the same unified ledger philosophy but natively for the particularly platform, and each time the code structure was extended and improved.  The same was true when it was re-written for client/server (Windows) and so the current product shares a name and an approach, but is a very different product to the AS/400 one you used a couple of years ago.  I was chatting to Jeremy at last week's Cloudforce2 conference and he was explaning how Financialforce.com has made full use of the Force.com platform - they actually started developing the product before it was rebranded Force.com so they have plenty of experience of the technology and agile development. That product is different again to client/server CODA.  

So your comments might be relevant to that old AS/400 version of CODA, but just don't apply to current CODA or Financialforce.com.

Now although I represent Twinfield, one of their online competitors, I should disclose that I used to work for CODA as did the two original founders of Twinfield.  I also used to be an Oracle Applications reseller, and at heart that's a traditional ledger product, and I definitely know which I would chose to work with when put alongside current CODA.  However, these days I would choose one of the online Cloud based products. 

David Terrar

D2C and Twinfield