Joining fellow on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor NetSuite, Intacct is taking aim at services-based businesses with a new product and partnership.
Intacct's Project Accounting application, now generally available, will help services companies keep better track of employee project hours and expenses compared to ad-hoc approaches done with spreadsheets or paper documents, according to the vendor. It also generates invoices based on that data, and provides users with role-based dashboards that let them keep tabs on a project's progress.
In addition, the software includes a library of reports and graphs tuned for services businesses, allowing them to monitor benchmarks like "project delivery costs against plan." It is also possible to develop customized reports.
Intacct also announced a partnership with SaaS (software as a service) project management vendor Clarizen that will result in an integrated product, according to a statement.
Overall, Intacct is tapping into a broad economic trend, according to one observer.
"A key component of every product company will be growing services revenues," said Altimeter Group analyst Ray Wang via e-mail. "Today products are excuses to sell services. Project accounting provides one core component. Intacct delivers this piece. Clarizen delivers the resource scheduling, project tracking and task management."
Demand for such software is growing since companies are more eager than ever to closely track project expenses amid the economic downturn, according to 451 Group analyst China Martens.
Intacct's move puts it in closer competition with NetSuite, which gained software similar to Clarizen's through its acquisition of OpenAir. Appirio is another player, with its project management software built on Salesforce.com's Force.com platform.
The SaaS delivery model works well for services businesses because teams are often distributed, licenses can be added easily and deployment is rapid, Wang said.
Still, many companies are still getting by with Excel or using on-premises applications like Microsoft's Dynamics SL, Martens added.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com