Miami (March 30, 2004) -- Long-time Accpac International reseller NextLevel Information Solutions has finally realized plans to expand into customer relationship management services with its acquisition of Apex Business Solutions.

The purchase of Apex -- a Chicago-based CRM specialist -- occurs on the heels of Best Software parent Sage Group Plc’s acquisition of Accpac. Apex has over 10 years of experience as an Accpac business partner and is also a CRM development partner.

“It’s important to stay ahead, particularly in CRM, and I don’t have enough expertise here to handle the demand,” said Manny Buigas, vice president of sales and marketing at NextLevel “It’s a mutual exchange where we supply marketing expertise and they bring us the technical expertise we are short on.”

Buigas also noted that his 24-person firm has collaborated with Apex in the past. With the Best/Accpac acquisition complete, he saw it as a good opportunity to help Apex “get to the next level.” Apex president Tony Chiodo agrees.

“We are only a three-person company here in Chicago, and with the [Accpac] acquisition we were wondering where we fit in,” Chiodo said. “We felt we would be better positioned to go after larger clients as part of a larger organization.”

From Best’s point of view, this acquisition and what it represents is being embraced. It is also the kind of activity that the channel may see more of in the future.

“What we are excited about is that when two firms of this caliber join forces and are involved with selling our products, everybody wins,” said Taylor MacDonald, Best’s senior vice president of business partners. “I think we will start to see people who, before [the Accpac purchase], were talking to a smaller universe will now be talking to a larger universe. It will also change the family choices.”

MacDonald also said that the purchase of Apex is a good representation of how it may be easier to jumpstart a CRM business through acquisition rather than build it from scratch.

Buigas said Apex is already working on a few “significant-sized” Accpac CRM deals in the Caribbean, specifically the Bahamas, Curacao and Dominica.

Apex and its personnel will remain in Chicago as part of NextLevel. NextLevel also has offices in Miami, New Orleans, New York and Tampa, Fla.

-- Seth Fineberg

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