Orlando, Fla. (June 14, 2004) - Best Software chief executive Ron Verni attempted to quell any concerns about partner commitment after the company’s recent spate of acquisition activity by outlining product direction, unveiling a string of new releases, and uttering a simple statement: “We realize we may not be perfect, but we want to be your partner of choice and I’m here to tell you why.”

Verni addressed the crowd of nearly 3,000 resellers during his keynote speech at Best’s Insights partner conference, here. It is the second time this now 40-product company has brought its entire reseller channel together.

“We are not perfect, but we are not about to take any of you for granted. I believe, though, our strength and commitment to our market segment and to you is what makes us your partner of choice,” Verni said.
He continued to call attention to the vast array of product offerings the company now has and mapped out specific product strategies, as well as a new way to market them.

Verni noted that over the next 12 months Best plans to begin offering its products in suites, generally and by vertical market, which will bundle together customer relationship management, human resources, accounting, and the other business process management offerings that the company has. These will include suites for accountants, wholesalers and distributors, nonprofit organizations, manufacturers, the real estate market, and construction.

Verni sees “the suite approach” as the next wave of his business.

 “When we made acquisitions like Timberline, Softline and Accpac, we really needed to think about our entire business and the idea of cross selling and migrating these products,” Verni said. “The products we now have truly allow us to offer an end-to-end solution. We really see ourselves now as suite marketers.”

Another key issue some resellers have raised about Best is how all of its products and their respective code bases can integrate. Verni briefly addressed this concern last year with the announcement of an application integration server. It has now evolved into what Best calls its Integration Framework, which Verni admitted is still a work in progress.

 “This will be a single entry point to all of our products where partners can communicate changes,” Verni said. “They will be able to build once and sell many times, all of which will be supported by Best.”

Verni also didn’t miss the opportunity to comment on what he has long considered the company’s chief competitor, Microsoft, and the potential impact of its upcoming Project Green release - Microsoft’s next generation enterprise resource planning suite.

He opined that Best and its products would be far enough along in advancements to be able to effectively compete with the earliest version of Project Green, which may not hit the market for a few years to come.

 “I don’t feel Project Green will be competitive with us until at least 2010,” he said. “Be assured, we are committed to compatibility and, most of all, we will not forget our partners.”

At the confab, Best also unveiled “Partners for Growth,” a series of sales and marketing initiatives earmarked for Best partners.

As part of the new initiative, Best will invest $1 million toward a pilot program for 100 Best Software partner firms, in an effort to add 100 field-trained sales executives to its existing business partner channel by September 30.

Participating firms would receive a subsidy to offset new-hire start up costs, special lead generation assistance to fill the sales pipeline, and expedited new-hire training on Best Software products.

- Seth Fineberg

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