A decisive software move

About a year and a half ago Real Systems Inc., a solutions provider to the Canadian financial sector, was fed up with the solution it built for running its own business.

The internally developed application tracked inventory, sales and bid quoting, but didn’t integrate completely with the off-the-shelf

accounting software it was using in the front office. The answer came from Decision Software Inc., a Toronto-based small company which tailors one of its software products to be an end-to-end operational system specifically for IT resellers.

Its application, The Decision Builder, includes almost anything a reseller could want, covering accounting, inventory control and purchasing, product shipping serial number and warranty tracking, service contracts, technical support and billing, and service work orders. Just as important, it promises XML connectivity to the systems of major distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

Not only can a reseller find out what the distributor has and the best price, it can generate a purchase order and receive a confirmation number, as well as automatically check if an order has shipped. The software also automatically captures and pastes serial numbers and other information the reseller needs for accounting and warranties.

“”The true value we bring to resellers is a completely integrated solution, so they can cut back on their administrative costs,”” says Kevin Anderson, president of Decision Software.

The product is based on its Decision Builder application for the manufacturing industry, which helped give the company its start over a decade ago. At that time it was called Nexerve Inc., a VAR of NEC minisystems and software. To help sales it developed an application for running manufacturing companies to go along with NEC’s accounting software.

But when NEC dropped its proprietary systems and software, Nexerve could have lost its nerve. Instead in 1994 it decided to take the product it created and specialize under the banner Decision Software. Anderson, who had joined Nexerve as a sales and marketing man, became a partner. Today the company has 20 employees including six programmers.

Two years ago, after a number of requests, it decided to extend the core application to suit IT resellers. So far Decision Software has signed up about a dozen customers in the Toronto area, including Real Systems, which does some $10 million in annual sales.

“”It’s made everything more structured,”” says Mark Austin, the company’s account manager, who suggested the firm look at the software. “”We didn’t have a purchase order system before. Now everything has to go through the system properly.”” The result, he says, is that it has greatly reduced the time it takes to process invoices.

Don Conaby, president of Oshawa, Ont. reseller Conpute, says Decision Builder has allowed him to reduce administration staff from six to three and a half positions. His firm, which was a beta tester, is now integrating with Ingram’s ordering system.

The Windows-based 32-bit software, which needs a dedicated server, is not inexpensive. Anderson says installations can run from $10,000 to $80,000 depending on the number of seats and customization needed.

Anderson figures there are 300 premier resellers and another 1,000 second-tier companies in this country which could take advantage of the application. But he also has his eye on the lucrative American market. That, however, will be another decision.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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