Sage North America is not formally endorsing a Master VAR-type program anytime soon — whereby channel partners will align with a larger reseller to further sell products and services they themselves are unable to, and possibly become acquired in the future — yet similar alliance programs are being established within Sage’s ecosystem.
The most recent such program came from top Sage partner Net@Work, which formally launched its Partner Alliance Program at the Sage Summit partner and customer conference. (See Net@Work Alliance Program Aims for VARs, Other Professional Services Firms.)Their goal is to align with accounting firms, other Sage partners and professional service providers in general who believe that their clients would be better served through products and services Net@Work offers. There is also an “exit option” for program partners, whereby part or all of a firm’s practice can be absorbed by Net@Work.
Sage vice president of channel partners Tom Miller was aware that such partnerships exist, and while he explained that partners will continue to evolve in ways that best suit them, Sage had no plans to formally endorse any such alliance programs.
“We have a big tent of partners, some only sell one product, while others have a full range of software and services, but we don’t plan to have any kind of a Master VAR-type program,” said Miller. “We are working through channel programs that allow partners to align better and to focus more attention on Sage Select partners.”
Miller explained that a Sage Select partner is one that follows certain guidelines set by Sage and only carries Sage accounting, ERP and CRM products.
He also stressed that Sage does endorse and encourage some alliances -- for example, with its CRM cross-selling push, where Sage is encouraging partners that are not Sage CRM-certified to form alliances with those partners who are in order to cross-sell CRM.
Other top Sage VARs are finding ways to partner with other resellers to better their own practices and ultimately sell more of the products they represent.
Simi Valley, Calif.-based Arxis Technologies, for one, recently formalized a program helping other professional service organizations sell or recommend SAP Business ByDesign. Arxis began selling the SaaS ERP product over a year ago, and also represents products from Intacct and SugarCRM, in addition to Sage branded products.
Known as the Extended Business Member program, it is aimed at partners who have an active interest in SAP Business ByDesign, but are not in a position to provide the level of direct sales or implementation services required for an SAP business partner. The EBM program enables organizations that regularly recommend, implement or develop solutions to benefit from a strategic partnership with Arxis Technology and be more closely aligned with SAP.
Similarly, major Sage partner SWK Technologies Inc. has its ERP Alliance program, whereby resellers who want to offer Sage ERP X3, but do not have the personnel or capital, can do so through SWK.
“We’re finding in general that there are more [Sage] partners that want to do more with us; the smaller guys are under pressure to sell and meet minimums. Some are looking for an exit, others just want a good partner and we are providing that,” said SWK president Jeff Roth. “The ERP Alliance program is about a year old and has been very successful. It’s all about partners who have customers that could be served well with X3, but don’t have the resources to take it on. Partners can work with us and we can do a lot for them with X3.”
Roth explained that it can cost a partner hundreds of thousands of dollars, between training, hiring and marketing, to properly roll out Sage X3 in their portfolio.
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