Local asset management software goes Web-based, mobile

Offshoring software development deemed too difficult to manage

With 17 years of software development behind it, Melbourne based KDR Creative Software is rebuilding its flagship asset management application, SmartAsset, to take on the Web and mobile power users.

SmartAsset was first developed on Windows with a 4GL environment from Ingres in 1990, but KDR CEO Kevin Ramsey told TechWorld because Ingres changed hands a few times the company was uneasy about its future.

"We were tossing up between Java and .Net and couple of customers dragged us into .Net," Ramsey said.

So KDR decided to re-write SmartAsset in .Net and SQL Server, and established a new company, The Online Workshop, to attract more venture partners and expand its scope.

Ramsey said until recently Asset Management was an application that required a fat desktop client and Web-based efforts had been clunky, but with advancements like Ajax and Silverlight "things are getting better".

The next core functionality upgrade of SmartAsset will be available in June, with the full suite available in September. This will include the Web-based and mobile versions, but they will not have all the features as the desktop application.

"Using .Net and SQL Server is an efficient way of developing software because the business processes can be wrapped in Web services," Ramsey said.

"We looked into offshoring development and I went to Chennai where development is cheaper, but managing the process concerned me. And as we are re-writing the older product it helps if the developers are familiar with the previous versions."

KDR has seven local developers, with six in Melbourne and one in Queensland.

SmartAsset was originally pitched as a best-of-breed Asset Management application, but it was losing ground to larger players like Oracle and SAP because "they deal with the CEO and we deal with the end-user" so Ramsey shifted the focus to being more of an integrated module to the large ERP suites.

SmartAsset also integrates with Microsoft Office 2007 and Outlook.

Despite being a "newcomer" to the Microsoft ecosystem, KDR recently collected the Microsoft Office Business Application Solution of the Year award for 2008, which Ramsey said has enabled the company to focus on deployment.

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