In the ten years I was a small business CFO, I constantly had one foot in accounting and the other in information technology. This is the reason I chose the MIS (Management Information Systems) concentration in the Tennessee Tech MBA Program.
The last CFO position I held was at A-Plus Reprographics. During the last ten months I was at A-Plus, the company was owned by a private individual, the venture capital firm Chicago Venture Partners, and the NYSE traded American Reprographics Company.
During the Chicago Venture Partners tenure, I was the project manager for implementing Repro Total Office which is a Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formally called Navision) solution for the reprographics industry (reprographics is printing for the architect, engineering, and construction industries). During this period, I became very familiar with Microsoft Server and SQL.
CPA for Small Business is a member of the Microsoft Partners program. Last Thursday, Microsoft held its "Heroes Happen Here" conference at the Nashville Convention Center to unveil Microsoft Server 2008, SQL 2008, and Visual Studio 2008.
I have a few observations I’d like to share concerning things I learned at this conference.
Windows Server 2008 gives you a dashboard view of all the activities and statuses of all the servers on your network. This dashboard allows you to click on a problem or error message and the GUI (graphical user interface) of the server where the error message originated from is automatically brought up. With this feature, you don’t have to drill down to find the server where the problem is.
Windows Server 2008 has a feature that interrogates any new computer that is hook up to the network. The new computer is interrogated to ensure that there are no viruses or malware present and to verify that the computer has the most up-to-date patches and service packs. If the new computer does not pass the interrogation, it is segregated from the main network where it can still access, but not pose a threat to, the main network.
There is one more interesting thing that was discussed during the seminar. Microsoft has come out with a server product that is positioned between Small Business Server and Enterprise Server (this product is called Windows Essential Business Server). This is the first time I have seen Microsoft attempt to fill a product gap between software offered for very small businesses and the software made for larger firms.
In business accounting software, there is a very big gap between the software made for small companies (Microsoft Office Accounting, QuickBooks, Peachtree, etc.) and the software for larger companies (Great Plains, Navision, ACCPAC, MAS90, etc.). I am wonder if Microsoft will eventually introduce an accounting/ERP (enterprise resource planning) product that will fill the gap in accounting software like Windows Essential Server does for server software.