San Rafael, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2002) Citing competition from Microsoft Business Solutions, top executives of accounting software vendor Softline Accountmate rallied the company and its resellers to differentiate themselves by tapping into vertical markets.

"If you don’t differentiate yourself, you die as a business," company president Murray Aston said to some 200 resellers at opening day festivities of the company’s annual partners conference here. After identifying Microsoft as part of the new competition in middle market business applications, Steven M. Cohen, chief operating officer of the company’s parent organization, South African-based Softline Ltd., added, "Vertical applications can be the ‘differentiators’ that you need,".

Cohen and sales executive vice president David Dierke each urged the resellers to familiarize themselves with developers of vertical industry and other specialized systems designed to work with the company’s Visual Accountmate accounting software. The conference included approximately 15 of those developers, offering specialties that include manufacturing management, electronic commerce enablement and billing systems for public utilities, to name a few.

In most cases, the developers built their systems to work with Visual Accountmate because that product’s source code is open, a feature which is not available from Microsoft. "Accountmate’s source code gives us the ‘differentiator," Cohen said.

-- John M. Covaleski

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