For CFO of accounting software provider MYOB, Richard Moore, cloud is more than just a buzz word; it means business. With software services access and delivery increasingly moving online, the vendor jumped on the opportunity and doubled the company’s new product registrations within six months.
Last year, MYOB spent almost $30 million developing cloud-enabled products. Its AccountRight Live product, which was launched in November last year, is the first in its product suite to allow users to seamlessly store files on their desktop and in the cloud. If combined with MYOB’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, LiveAccounts, cloud-enabled software now makes up more than one third of MYOB’s new product registrations.
“Based on the current growth rate, we should be getting almost half of registrations online by the end of the year,” Moore said. “It’s been growing by a couple of percentage points every month. And that’s just the growth rate in our business division on our SME [small and medium enterprise] products over the last quarter.”
By moving to a cloud services model, Moore said MYOB is more likely to secure recurring revenue from customers as they view their subscriptions as “another automatically-deducted monthly business cost”, rather than upfront yearly expense. The cloud services model also delivers an ongoing stream of updates to MYOB’s software throughout the year.
“This enables us to respond to user feedback much more quickly than we could with the desktop model,” Moore said. “For example, with LiveAccounts, we release software improvements and enhancements to clients every two weeks, and with AccountRight Live clients, receive updates every six to eight weeks.”
However, there were some challenges in moving to the cloud. With advancement in cloud technology maturing at a “very fast pace”, Moore said there was pressure to ensure products being developed would stay ahead of the curve in terms of what was already available in the market.
Also, having up to 70 per cent market share across both its SME accounting software and practice management software, Moore said it can be easy to sit back and be comfortable with MYOB’s current success.
"When you have a large customer base and you are the incumbent, it’s very easy to sit back and not innovate,” he said. “We are proud to show our clients that no matter how long you have been in business, it is possible to continue to evolve and innovate."
Practising what you preach
MYOB is also using cloud applications internally to drive productivity and efficiency. The one most widely used across the company is Salesforce’s Work.com, which was rolled out in February/March. It's an online performance management tool that helps managers align their teams’ goals with the broader organisation, as well as encourages workers to give praise and recognition to others for their work.
“It means the performance discussion can be ongoing throughout the year rather than just a formal meeting every six months to work out how your team members are doing,” Moore said.
“It has helped boost employee engagement, performance and satisfaction, which in turn leads to better productivity, business efficiency and a positive, engaged workforce. Teams that are highly motivated and positive are not only fun to be part of, they also accomplish far more than teams that are struggling with morale.”
More than 2000 peer reviews were completed between mid-June and the end of July, Moore said, with 7000 compliments made of people’s work over the past few months.
Moore’s next step is to move the company’s practice management software for accountants, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and payroll products for enterprises to the cloud.
“We would like to get to a point where we cloud-enable everything in our complete product suite while still offering desktop solutions for clients who don’t want or need to go to the cloud,” he said.
“The concept of buying software on a disk and loading it onto your computer is not as common nowadays. If you think about anyone who owns a mobile phone or a tablet, they are generally downloading software as an application straight from some form of app store. That’s exactly the same as the software that we’re developing.
“Anyone who thinks that isn’t the material change to business as well as personal life is going to miss the boat.”
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