Asset management is "absolutely needed" by SMEs, Asset.Guru founder and chief executive Chris Petersen told iTWire, but those businesses cannot afford expensive software, and there is a gap between the basic asset management facilities provided in accounting software and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems.
Or at least there was before the introduction of Asset.Guru.
Asset.Guru is aimed at businesses with annual turnovers of around $2 million or more, Petersen explained, because at that point there is usually sufficient asset complexity that the owner or manager can't track all the assets in their head, but the budget cannot run to EAM.
While Asset.Guru is particularly relevant to companies in the mining, construction and other asset-intensive sectors, it is more about asset complexity than any particular vertical market. The first customer was a human resources company, and others are as diverse as surf lifesaving clubs and aged care facilities.
Examples of assets being managed include vehicles, building equipment, air conditioners, lifts, and even intellectual property, which he said is "a golden opportunity that we've only just discovered."
By the end of March, Asset.Guru will support low-value asset pools.
The cloud-based Asset.Guru can be used as a standalone service, or integrated with the cloud Xero accounting system. Consideration is being given to integration with MYOB, QuickBooks and other accounting products, Petersen told iTWire.
The service runs in one of Amazon Web Service's European regions. "Our main markets are New Zealand, Australia and the UK," he said, citing the cultural fit, similar tax rules, and Asset.Guru's overlap with Xero. Asset.Guru will probably run in additional AWS regions in time, and multi-language support is planned.
One problem with asset management is that "spreadsheets still rule" even in large companies, he said, but they are not suited to situations were 'any time, any place, any one' access is required.
The integration between Asset.Guru and accounting software is "really about saving time and improving accuracy," he explained. It does away with the need to circulate spreadsheets for checking, and journal entries can be posted directly to Xero for depreciation or when an asset is sold.
Pricing starts at $49 a month when billed annually, and that covers up to 1,500 assets and three users.