OutlookSoft Corp., a Stamford, Conn.-based software vendor specializing in business performance management, has expanded into Canada with the hopes of securing a niche in the market from its new Markham, Ont. home.

OutlookSoft

Canada’s EAP software unifies real-time planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation, analysis, reporting, scorecarding and process management and is built on open standard architecture such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office. Current OutlookSoft Canada customers include the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Toronto, Intrawest Corp., and Playground.

The opening of the Canadian office is indicative of the company’s reputation of being a “”rising star”” in the emerging market for BPM, according to one analyst who has been tracking OutlookSoft since its 1999 inception.

Madan Sheina, a principal analyst with ComputerWire in San Francisco, said that OutlookSoft should expect challenges in the Canadian market similar to what it has experienced in the U.S.

“”One challenge is its size,”” Sheina said. “”It’s a privately held company that ‘s quite small, although it’s definitely gaining mind share, if not market share.””

Part of the reason for this is that OutlookSoft’s key product, the Enterprise Analytic Portal (EAP), has tied in the familiarity and functionality of Microsoft Corp.’s Excel program, which is commonly used in financial departments.

“”The underlying philosophy behind its software is that it recognizes that financial departments have traditionally relied on Excel, and rather than force people to learn a whole new application, they’ve built the application around Excel,”” Sheina said.

Lee Geishecker, a vice-president in financial applications at Stamford, Conn-based analyst firm Gartner Inc., said that this philosophy often gets OutlookSoft in the door.

“”They’ve taken Microsoft’s technology further than anyone else in this space — Excel’s only a piece of it. For a Microsoft shop, there’s no learning curve with this product and a very low time to implement,”” she said.

OutlookSoft Canada’s president, Peter Digby, said that he is confident in the company’s venture into the Canadian market for a few reasons. Firstly, the market sector of BMP software is strong and continuing to grow, he said.

“”There’s been a lot of shrinkage in IT software purchasing, but this has been a real growth market, not just for us, but for most of the vendors in this space. Companies have had to find better ways to me

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