04 February 2002 – The many facets of hosted services

The many facets of hosted services

Issued by: AccTech systems

[Johannesburg, 4 February 2002] – Businesses can derive definite cost benefits from using hosted software application services, says Tertius Zitzke, director of strategic marketing and sales at AccTech Systems (ATS), a leading provider of accounting and financial software solutions.

“Costs are based on a fixed monthly fee and backups and support are provided by the service provider, so the customer does not have to worry about human resources,” he says.However, he says, providing software hosting services is a complex process that needs to be well managed. Among other things, he says, the service provider must have a mechanism that recognises which version of the software the customer is using and can route users to the correct server. Security is another aspect, which requires role-based, user-definable access to be set up and stringently managed and controlled. ATS has been offering hosted services for some time, one of its customers being Diamond Tobacco, a US company that has a presence in the Africa region.

“Diamond Tobacco is the world’s 2nd biggest tobacco processing company,” says Zitzke. He says ATS is providing services for the company’s African operations and has developed a system that provides a link between Diamond’s global sales system and its regional Sage ERP Accpac accounting system. “We have built a web-based layer that links all activity in the business cycle from sales to delivery and takes care of the workflow, including orders, bills of lading and freight,” he says. The result is that all the processes are totally integrated and it is transparent to the users as to which system the information is coming from.

“There are nine departments, each of which used to have its own version of the system, but now it is an almost paperless environment, and recently developed technology now makes it possible for sales people to access the system remotely using a mobile device to access and update information.” says Zitzke. ATS manages and supports Diamond Tobacco’s accounting system locally in Harare, and in Malawi. Zitzke says ATS is rolling out similar technology for Anglo Vaal Mining for its Zambia office.

One of the reasons the ASP market has taken so long to take off is that service providers have battled to host accounting software and other applications that had not been adapted to run on this model. “There have also been technology issues to overcome with thin client technology and bandwidth issues,” says Zitzke. He says Sage ERP Accpac released an ASP version of its software in the US two years ago, but has only just released an on-line model in SA.

Sage ERP Accpac Africa, which will provide services to channel resellers such as ATS, who will be able to sell them on to their clients, is hosting this locally, says Zitzke. “Our differentiator will be that we can offer added value through our web-based middleware and workflow software and services.” ATS’s ASP customers will access the service by logging on to a branded website, and implementation, ongoing support, and billing will be handled by the company, says Zitzke.

AccTech Systems (Pty) Ltd

AccTech Systems (Pty) Ltd is an Sage ERP Accpac accounting software solution provider. Accredited as a Master Solution Provider by Sage ERP Accpac International, AccTech specialises in Sage ERP Accpac’s entire range of award winning product lines and third-party software products. In-depth customer needs analysis, product configuration, and custom designed workflow solutions, backed by world-class training and support. AccTech Systems (Pty) Ltd, quality and technology for the road ahead.

Editorial contacts

AccTech Systems
Nick Botha
(012) 640 2600