Avanti Aspiring For The Future
Gareth Connor, Avanti Founder

It's been some time since we made any announcements. We have kept things purposely very quiet but now, for the first time, I would like to share with you exactly what we have been working on and what the future holds for Avanti.

Since late 2017 we have been developing the next generation of Avanti. Not just a rewrite or a rehash but a complete rethinking of what Avanti needs to be as a complete business management system in order to meet the needs of small businesses into the 2020s and beyond.

Avanti started life as a simple accounting software system and we put down our roots in that market. However all of our growth in recent years has been from customers having a greater need for advanced inventory and order processing requirements and away from vanilla, standard accounting systems. While we addressed much of this demand in Avanti we also fell short in some areas. In early 2018 we took the decision that developing these advanced capabilities into the current product would ultimately involve duplication of work and would therefore be counterproductive. As we began the development of the next generation system, we started with the key purpose of focussing on the areas of advanced inventory and productivity features specifically.

Of the key requirements that we focussed on, the one that remained top of our agenda was technology. We had to embrace and develop utilising cutting edge technologies in order to deliver a cutting-edge business management system. With the current Avanti product we were coming up against a ceiling with what was possible in this area and a reset was required. As part of this reset, our approach focussed toward Cloud, the Web, Mobile, multi-platform and integrations with other systems and services (eg ecommerce). Our next generation system will enable you to utilise and access all of these technologies without compromise.

Accounting
Accounting is an essential part of a complete business management system and nothing about that is changing with the development of Avanti Next-Gen. We are building an accounting core with features similar and even superior to those already included in the current Avanti software. However we have to also acknowledge that very few customers come to us, or will come to us, solely for our accounting features. There are plenty of other systems that are available for simple and dedicated accounting purposes. Our focus will be on providing world-class inventory control, stock and order processing solutions and we don't want to preclude those who are using alternative accounting back-ends from selecting us for the core productivity capabilities we can offer. Therefore Avanti Next-Gen will give customers a choice of using our built-in accounting system or to integrate with several 3rd party accounting systems.

Inventory Control & Stock
Inventory control and stock are at the absolute core of Avanti Next-Gen. This is the key area for where we can add the most value for our target market and customer. We have built on the facilities in Avanti to develop all of the features that the current Avanti system lacks. These include :
  • Component Assemblies & Bill of Materials (BOM)
  • Multi-Site & Multi-Location
  • Multiple Unit Tracking
  • Batch & Serial Tracking
  • Item Options Tracking
We want to be able to deliver a solution with Avanti Next-Gen which enables us to cater for virtually any inventory and stock capability that a small business can require.

Order Processing
In Version 4 of the current Avanti system we introduced quite extensive Sales Order Processing (SOP) features. However for many customers they fell short in some areas. As with Inventory & Stock we want to be able to cater for as many small business requirements as possible. Key to this is integration with common ecommerce platforms such as eBay, Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce and others. The ability to cater for drop-shipping is key and of major importance is back-to-back ordering to raise and track a Purchase Order with a Sales Order. We believe Avanti Next-Gen will take SOP to the next level for small businesses.

Technology
Avanti Next-Gen is on the cutting-edge. To identify a system as being cutting-edge in today's world it has to be cloud, web and mobile-enabled. It must run on multiple-platforms and it must integrated with necessary 3rd party systems and services. Avanti Next-Gen delivers on all of these. In recent times we have seen a real barrier to adopting on-premise systems, especially for multi-user where an internal IT setup and network is required. This has started to seem archaic compared to the convenience of internet connected and cloud enabled systems that we have grown accustomed to in other areas requiring zero setup. Avanti Next-Gen is at it's core a web-based solution, capable of running on any device, on any platform and on any operating system. For single-user systems a simple on-premise system will still be available while for multi-user systems the internet will be your network and your server will be replaced by the cloud. We are leveraging the power, the security and the connectivity of the Google Cloud Firebase Platform to power Avanti Next-Gen.

Compatibility
All of your data from Avanti will be able to be upgraded to Avanti Next-Gen. We'll provide the necessary bridging software to enable you to move your data from your current Avanti (Firebird) database to Avanti's cloud database on the Google Cloud Firebase Platform - (or if required and using a single-user system to the local database storage). In terms of usability, a reset and a rethink means that we have taken the opportunity to implement a new, more modern look and feel to the new system but it won't feel alien by any means and we'll provide the necessary online video training to existing Avanti users to ensure the transition will be as easy and as seamless as possible. Fundamentally we did not want to be limited in our design for the new system purely in order to make it look and feel like the current product, many of whose design concepts have long since been superseded especially on the web.

Status
I have put this article together to round off 2018 with some news of where we are and what we've been very quietly working on. It's looking amazing and we're very, very pleased with the new system and how it's progressing. However it's important to point out that we're still some time away from full release. Our objective was always to release during 2019 to ensure we had a Next-Gen system ready to go for the 2020s and this hasn't changed. The earliest we expect to make it available to customers is mid-2019 although we'll only do so when it's right and if that means waiting until later into 2019 then we're prepared to take the time that's necessary. We're pouring a huge amount of investment into the new system and it has to be absolutely right before we bring it to market.

However this article represents a point in the process which reminds me of Churchill's famous quote "This is not the end. It's not even the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning." It is a milestone on the journey and marks the point at which we can inform you of the Next-Gen system and to begin keeping you up-to-date regularly with news about the new system. Over the coming months we will release further posts, articles, screenshots and, further on, videos.

New System, New Name
The new system is a complete rethinking of what a modern, cutting-edge business management system for small businesses should be. Throughout this article I have referred to it as Avanti Next-Gen but in reality is much more than that. So rather than continue to refer to it as Avanti Next-Gen or merely Avanti we have decided it deserves a new name and a new branding all to itself. The new name is quite apt for both our ambitions for the new system and for those customers who will be utilising the system to help them accelerate their growth.

We are calling the new system Avanti Aspire.

We are all very pleased to finally announce Avanti Aspire and we hope it gives you a little bit of clarity on what we have been working on. Hopefully it's also given you a bit of excitement about what's to come.

With that said it's time for our team to take a well earned break for Christmas ready for the hard work to come after the New Year. 2019 looks set to be a very eventful and exciting year.

The whole team here at Avanti wish you a very merry and relaxing Christmas and a happy, prosperous and successful New Year.