MICROS offers its software on Internet

Shift is part of trend from on-site installation

March 21, 2000|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

MICROS Systems Inc., the Columbia-based seller of software for the restaurant and hotel industries, plans to begin providing most of its products through the Internet, a company executive said yesterday.

The company has just distributed its first product on the Internet, a software program called Insight that helps restaurants track and analyze sales and customer data such as which menu items sell well, how long it takes for diners to finish their meals, and how a restaurant chain's individual stores compare in sales.

"This is the model of the future," said John Rovani, vice president of Internet products and services.

The company's decision is part of a larger trend, say analysts, as business software program vendors move away from selling and installing applications at customer sites in favor of distributing them through the Internet.

MICROS has struck an agreement with Usinternetworking Inc., the Annapolis-based application service provider, to "host" the Insight program on its servers for MICROS customers.

The companies declined to disclose financial terms of the agreement. Rovani said the company hopes that its free offers on the Internet will give it a sales edge.

"We're finding that a lot of our customers want to outsource their [information technology] needs," said Rovani. Clients, he said, will be able to "focus on their core business instead of operating and maintaining applications."

As part of their service, application service providers such as Usinternetworking take on the task of maintaining software products and the big computer networks needed to run them.

Rovani said MICROS believes that Internet access for Insight will help the company tap into a large potential market: 300,000 hotels and 1.8 million restaurants worldwide. Currently, just three customers use Insight.

The company is especially interested in tapping into the small chain and independent business market, said Louise Casamento, manager for marketing communications.

MICROS, which netted $13.7 million on sales of $190.2 million for the first six months of its current fiscal year, plans to begin selling and providing other restaurant and hotel management software packages through the Internet later this year.

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