Tally Ascent Scrapped, Entrez Tally ERP 9.0

by Abhinna Shreshtha    May 05, 2009

Tally Solutions, best known for its iconic accounting software — Tally, has finally launched Tally ERP 9.0. Tally had actually planned its ERP entry way back in 2006 with Tally Ascent, but the launch date kept getting pushed back for reasons unknown till now. We provide an insight into Tally’s ERP foray and the competition it  might face from the likes of SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.

Exit Ascent, Enter ERP 9.0

Speaking exclusively to CXOtoday, Bharat Goenka, co-founder and MD of Tally Solutions informed that the company was not happy with the architecture of Tally Ascent. "We felt Ascent was not scalable enough, both downwards and upwards. So we scrapped Ascent and started working on a new architecture which would rectify this," he said.

The result was a hiatus of nearly three years and much criticism from an expectant public, before Tally ERP 9.0 was released in March this year.

So how does Tally ERP 9.0 differ from its ill-fated predecessor? "For one thing, it is highly scalable, which was one of the main things lacking in Ascent. We have also worked on the flexibility of the system, in fact, we are going to solve this more comprehensively than any other solution. Also, the solution reduces the need for skilled professionals," said Goenka.

The ERP Gameplan

The ERP market in India is currently dominated by biggies like SAP, Oracle, and SAP, though there are a host of smaller players, which cater to a niche audience, mainly in the SMB segment.

But Tally has more ambitious plans. Goenka informed us that Tally ERP 9.0 is actually just the first version of their ERP software (he calls it series A) and focusing on SMBs. By this year end or by early next year, Tally will launch ‘Series B’ - focusing on medium to large enterprises, replacing ‘Series A’. ‘Series C’, featuring added module -including a HR module, is also in the pipeline though the launch date was not been disclosed.

Series A has all the functions of the Tally 9.0 accounting software. In addition it is web-enabled (something lacking in the Tally accounting software) and will have additional modules likes inventory, service invoicing, payrolls, etc. for Tally ERP 9.0 according to Goenka. Series B will feature user definable workflow, fixed assets management, employee self service, MRP, etc.

"There are so many organizations that want to implement an ERP solution, so I do not think that there will be much competition for customers. We are also providing the user with the remote access and integrated Internet services, something not many ERP solutions can boast of," Goenka said.

Tally is trying to play safe with its incremental system of launch. With each version it will test the water — see what has been done right and what needs to be changed. There is one thing though that Tally should be careful about with ERP 9.0, if it is serious about tapping large enterprises, and that is not to get categorized as only a low-end solution by users. This could affect its adoption by larger organizations.

How much value Tally adds to its ERP offering will also be something to note. If customers feel they are only getting a repackaged accounting software with a few add-ons, this could affect its brand-image. Tally will have to be careful of  this.

Customer Loyalty could Play a Huge Role

It is considered safer for smaller vendors to cement themselves in niche areas, leaving the bigger players to battle out among themselves. Tally’s ERP plan is radically different from this school of thought. If the Series B comes out on schedule, Tally could be directly competing with Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft in the large enterprise space within an year!

There is one thing that can, and perhaps is already, working in favor of Tally. Tally Solutions is a very well-known company. It is possibly one of the most respected Indian software companies due to the success of its accounting software. It already has a huge client base, not only in India but also abroad.

Customer loyalty and a favorable brand image can count for a lot. Consider this, Goenka told us that Tally ERP 9.0 has already 50,000 takers; and it has not even been two months since its release! This is no mean feat for any company.

However, there is a flipside to this too, as a reader had pointed out to us when we first reported about Tally’s ERP plans - ERP is different from accounting. More than selling, successful implementation is very crucial — How Tally addresses this issue might hold the key to the success of Tally’s ERP venture. When asked about their plans for this, Goenka said, "The design of our ERP solutions will enable about 75% of the users to self implement. For the remaining 25% we have planned on engaging around 500-800 implementation partners in the long run."

Meanwhile, Microsoft has already announced its intent of increasing focus on the SMB segment in India. Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have a headstart, and enough resources and expertise to experiment with new technologies and models like SaaS, SOA, etc. What will the Indian ERP market look like a couple of years down the line? Hard to say, but it will definitely be interesting to observe.

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