Attending publisher events is important for value-added resellers like Southeast Computer Solutions. Even at other events, like the semi-annual conferences held by the ITA (www.itaaliance.com), the publishers have a presence in supporting the partners. It’s great when resellers get together and collaborate to exchange ideas and keep business relationships fresh.
A few of us at Southeast are attending the Acumatica conference in Nashville at the end of January. Although we’re disappointed that Sage Summit won’t appear in its usual nation-wide form this year, we’re looking forward to the Sage Enterprise Management (Sage X3) event in Europe this spring and the new regional Sage one-day meetings scheduled later this year.
These events are important, as they teach us about the software publishers’ current product releases, future plans, and how we’ll continue to partner with them going forward. They have me thinking about how much things have changed since Southeast Computer Solutions was formed decades ago and how our relationships with the vendors have evolved.
When we first started reselling ERP software, it was a straightforward process. We selected a software publisher – namely Sage – and learned the products inside and out. We then marketed the product, gained a customer base, and earned our margin for what we sold. There were a lot of on-premise SMB ERP products to choose from: Sage, Microsoft, Epicor, Infor, and many smaller vendors. Each vendor courted partners to their program, and we received a lot of rewards for partnering with Sage. Resellers who sold the most earned extra margin, annual awards, etc.
In the past few years, that landscape has changed dramatically. New cloud software vendors have emerged; we’ve learned that our installed base is a huge treasure for ongoing revenue. As a result, existing publishers have implemented a lot of changes. Tier structures and margins can change, and the resellers have less control over what the publisher does. Prices increase without much notice. Publishers are trying to reduce the split they share with partners to maintain their bottom lines.
New vendors continue to court resellers with a proven track record of producing results. As you know, we started carrying Acumatica several years ago and recently purchased a small practice. Acumatica is making it feel like the old days when we first started reselling ERP software: like our voice matters.
Additionally, as a publisher of Sage Enterprise Management add-ons, we may function as a “go-between” with the larger ERP vendors and our reseller peers who resell our offerings to their customers. We get to see both sides of the equation in this respect, providing complimentary features to the accounting solutions and working with the channel to promote and sell our products. It’s an interesting situation to be in and provides additional revenue and diversification to our business.
Southeast enjoys carrying a variety of products to serve our customers’ needs. The ability to work with several different software publishers, combined with our extensive history in the business, gives us a unique perspective. While on the surface it seems that the software publisher/software reseller relationship has been fairly consistent over the years, that is definitely not the case. As these relationships evolve, it’s important for us to understand our best options moving forward and to align our business for success.