During the recent Microsoft Convergence 2013 user and partner event we caught up with Jim Bowman, president and chief executive of SBS Group and inquired about their status as a top reseller, Master VAR and the state of the reseller partner profession in general.
The Woodbridge, N.J.-based Dyamics and Acumatica partner is not only the top Master VAR in the Dynamics channel, they are in the top 30 of all accounting and ERP resellers in the U.S. and of late, have been adding two to three Dynamics ERP and CRM reseller partners to their program per month.
Bowman took a bit of time from a busy Convergence meeting schedule to answer a few key questions for Accounting Technology.
AT: What’s the biggest challenge for your firm right now?
Bowman: Some days it’s like herding cats so you need to create consistency. We spent the past couple of days here even before the conference kicked off with affiliates going through our messaging and branding and sales methodology and that continues to be honed. I think the progress we made over past year has been good. We expect to add 15-20 new firms to our program by the end of the year. Really the biggest challenge for us though is that this has never been done before. We don’t know what the upper limit is, but we will know it when we get there.
AT: What would you say is the general vision of your firm?
Bowman: We definitely have a vision. Our role is to create a repeatable system in which reseller partners can transition. It may be cloud or SharePoint or other solutions, we bring it to bear. It’s really about augmenting their capabilities so they can effectively compete. It’s integral to how we do business. Unlike our other Master VAR colleagues this is a key point of who we are.
AT: What type of firm do you look for to join your program?
Bowman: For us we look for if they are in a geography we identify as important to us, we want to know if they have a subject matter expertise that can be scaled or leveraged throughout the network, those are key for us.
We want to be in the top 50 [firms] in the U.S. so we look at geographies and identify potential partners, they also reach out to us. The misrepresentation in the market is that the Master VAR program is only for small partners to take advantage of -- the under three- person organization -- but we have talked to 15-20 person organizations that look at the breadth of resources we provide and want to join. Master VAR is not just for one or two-man organizations.
AT: What does the future of being a reseller partner look like?
Bowman: There’s still partners out there that want to live off the maintenance base and that’s just not going to make it anymore. For us, we really see the Master VAR concept as the future of the channel for many partners. The complexity of the solutions has increased and there’s more subject matter expertise needed, smaller partners don’t necessarily have the resources and skills to deal with all of that so they look to a firm like ours.
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