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Open Systems, Inc. — TRAVERSE Enterprise Edition

From the December 2005 Review of High-End
Accounting Software

TRAVERSE continues a long-standing tradition of solid, well-rounded accounting
software with its latest release, version 10.2. It offers accounting, manufacturing,
distribution, eBusiness, and several other vertical-market applications, in
two editions (see more details below) for businesses of different sizes. A solid
database platform and straightforward user interface make this an attractive
package for the small, growing or midsize business. Source code is included
for customized modifications and enhancements.

Modules Available/Scalability – 5 Stars
Accounting modules available for TRAVERSE Enterprise include System Manager,
GL, AR, AP, Fixed Assets, Payroll, Direct Deposit, and Bank Reconciliation.
Manufacturing modules include Bill of Materials, MRP, Routing and Resources,
and Production. Distribution modules include Inventory, Sales Order, Purchase
Order, and Bill of Materials/Kitting. Several other add-ons include Project
Costing, Service Director and POS.

Version 10.2 introduced a number of module enhancements, as well as two new
modules: Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP) and Customer Relationship
Management (CRM). DRP is an MRP-like planning tool for non-manufacturers. It
is used to help plan future supply and demand, to assist in determining the
items you need and when you need to purchase them in order to fulfill planned
sales goals. CRM is a module used to maintain contact information for customers,
vendors, prospects, and so forth. It has task management; bulk e-mail, fax and
mail-merge; campaign management, and integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Other module changes include enhancements to the multicurrency module, allowing
you to assign any currency to GL accounts, and the ability to report and post
realized and unrealized gains and losses to the GL. You can also view customer,
vendor and bank data in base or default currency values. A new “Digital
Dashboard” feature within the System Manager gives you an executive snapshot
of key business indicators. You can personalize the Dashboard using pre-defined
business metrics. The module supports both numeric and graphical representations.

As noted earlier, TRAVERSE is offered in two editions: Business and Enterprise.
The Business Edition is suitable for up to 12 users and utilizes MSDE as its
back-end database engine. The Enterprise Edition is geared for mid-market enterprises
that require the scalability of full Microsoft SQL Server. This provides a nice
upgrade path for growing firms that want to start on a budget, but with the
capability of growing into a full-scale application that can support many users
in multiple locations.

Ease of Use/Transaction Entry – 5 Stars
All modules launch from a menu system that is centered on the main screen. Two
style choices are available based on user preference. The standard menu system
is a three-column window that lists the main modules on the left. As selections
are made in this column, the center column shows applicable submenu choices.
The third column shows further detailed actions for the item selected in the
center column. The other menu style is an Explorer window with a collapsible
tree structure. Each module is an item in the tree that can be expanded to show
sub-choices. The right side of the explorer window shows the current action
or report choices. A double-click opens the input screen or report.

Data-entry screens are clean, well-organized and easy to understand. Fields
that have a limited number of choices, such as invoice terms or account numbers,
provide drop-down lists for convenient selection of a valid choice. Screens
are kept uncluttered by using multiple tabs to segregate the data-entry process
into discrete sections.

Customization/Security – 4 Stars
The program provides several workstation configuration preferences. The keyboard
function can be used to assign keys to frequently used commands and functions
such as save, delete, lookup and new record. For each company, you can set various
data-entry defaults like location ID, bank account ID and batch codes to speed
data entry. The user can also set the preferred menu style, language (English
or Spanish), and other preferences.

TRAVERSE’s security system is closely tied to the application’s
SQL Server database security. First, a login must be defined that gives the
user access to the company database. Each user is defined as part of one or
more groups. Secondly, menu-level security uses the groups to control the functionality
allowed for each user group. The sophisticated Server Manager application lets
you add users and groups, fully controlling logins and permissions at two distinct

Integration/Import/Export – 4 Stars
Open Systems has developed an authorized reseller channel that relies on developers
to create integrated vertical market solutions for the TRAVERSE and OSAS product
lines. Several import products are available to address EDI (electronic data
interchange), supply chain integration and others.

Limited ASCII import capabilities are built into the program for physical inventory
counts, bills of materials and production orders. With advanced programming,
you can create your own data import procedures since the database structure
is documented and accessible. Export is provided only by accessing the data
programmatically from the database.

Reporting – 5 Stars
Numerous reports are provided for each module, which can be previewed, printed
or output to a number of different formats using Microsoft Access’ Office
Links functions, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and text files. In
addition, Open Systems offers the Advanced Financial Analyst add-on, which is
a reporting tool that provides access to your GL data directly from Microsoft
Excel. Two modes, Author and Analyst, give you the ability to create and view
reports respectively. Using built-in wizards, you can create sophisticated what-if
scenarios and drill-down functionality.

Another tool is the Advanced Information Analyst, which utilizes online analytical
processing (OLAP) technology to produce reports and graphs, which enable business
mangers to selectively extract and view data from different points of view.
The Analyst allows you to view business information in charts, decomposition
trees, perspective views or grids. Finally, since this is an open database product,
you can also use nearly any third-party ODBC-based reporting tool (such as Crystal
Reports) to create nearly any report imaginable.

Support/Training/Help System – 4 Stars
Open Systems offers telephone and email-based technical support through annual
subscription plans. This also provides access to the company’s online
eUser section, which has additional product information including a knowledgebase
and reduced rates for training sessions. Support can also be purchased in blocks
for pay-as-you-go access to company technicians.

The online Help system is more limited than some of the other products reviewed.
It is context-sensitive, which is a real plus for finding exactly the information
you want. For full details, the complete manual for each module is available
in *.PDF format.

Relative Value – 4 Stars
TRAVERSE is a practical package that offers a standard set of modules, particularly
suited for manufacturing and project-oriented companies. The availability of
source code and the ability to use either MSDE or Microsoft SQL Server allow
the growing business to start small and protect its software investment.

2005 Overall Rating – 4.5 Stars