The British are coming! Or rather, the British software systems are starting to make their way to U.S. shores.
Two systems making their debut on Multichannel Merchant’s upcoming annual software roundup are imports from the U.K.: 1) Omnica, a new solution developed on the Microsoft Axapta platform, and represented in this country by nFocus in Deerfield, IL; and 2) the ActiveSeries, a suite of veteran SQL/Server applications installed in several dozen U.K. facilities, represented here by Datamann in Wilder, VT (which also has the MOSP application).
Both systems have been fully Americanized for U.S. dollars, U.S. addresses, U.S. sales taxes, and U.S. transaction processing such as credit card and manifesting. They also incorporate U.S. terminology, which is different enough from the U.K. to be annoying if left unchanged (for example, “general ledger” instead of “nominal ledger”).
How viable are these applications? Very! The U.S. partners are responsible for support, so you don’t have to worry about vast time zone differences. Both developers are willing to make modifications if necessary to meet user requirements. And while Omnica is a new entry, the people who developed it have over a decade of experience in direct commerce software.
Finally, just a “sanity check,” the U.K. landscape for direct commerce is very similar to our own, even though it didn’t really emerge until the early 1990s. While one or two previous attempts by U.K. software vendors to make a go of it stateside failed, they were tepid affairs without U.S. partners. This time around, I think we have two winners.
Ernie Schell is director of Ventnor, NJ-based consultancy Marketing Systems Analysis. Look for his exclusive Annual Software Update in the June issue of Multichannel Merchant.