Aztec Business Solutions LLP, a VAR in Carrollton, Texas, uses the hundreds of consultants it has deployed at customer sites to generate ideas for new software applications and even companies.
The latest company to emerge from this VAR-based incubator is Boardroom Software Inc., which was established last fall. The company last month released its first application, Equity Manager, which enables legal and accounting departments at small and midsize companies to track and manage shareholders stocks and options.
Aztec Managing Partner Andrew Levi said the idea for the new company and software came from his headaches managing ABS equity and from the horror stories hed heard from customers. "Ive felt the personal pain, [and] our consultants have validated that out in the field," Levi said.
To develop Equity Manager, Levi first turned to ABS parent company, Aztec Systems Inc., which offers customer software development as well as managed security and other infrastructure services. Meanwhile, he set in motion the creation of Boardroom to commercialize the evolving Equity Manager application and persuaded a longtime business contact, Kent Mansfield, to take the CEO job.
An essential part of the development was getting feedback from at least 50 experts at law firms and accounting firms to ensure that the software addressed their major needs. Feedback from law firms proved invaluable in providing the nuances that would differentiate Equity Manager, Levi said.
"This [accounting] stuff is real mechanical," Levi said. "[But] when you get to the legal side, this is more of a blank canvas. There is no tried-and-true way to say how some of these things work."
One lawyer whom Levi and Mansfield tapped, Mark Weintrub, general counsel at Manti Resources Inc., told them that while equity management was not always the responsibility of the legal department, the application they were developing would be important from a compliance standpoint.
"As we have all seen compliance become the buzzword of the day and the government crack down, more private companies will have more of a need to track their equity better, especially if they want to go public," said Weintrub, in Dallas.
Weintrub recommended to Boardroom that future releases of Equity Manager add tracking and reporting capabilities that will help companies meet requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.