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Accounting software firms expand regional reach

ACCPAC and Great Plains are expanding their channel relationships with new partnerships, a new ACCPAC office, and a re-think about channel objectives in the Middle East region

Accounting software vendors walked onto centre stage recently when ACCPAC took a more broad-based control of its channel, and Great Plains Software expanded its Saudi Arabian operations. According to Middle East ACCPAC boss Marc Van der Ven, the immediate task on hand following the commencement of direct Middle East operations, is to expand the partner base to around double what is currently available.

“We don’t want to go any further than that because there is a limit to the number of companies that can focus on this and make a good living out of it, at least in the short term. But we need to have more companies that are focused on this,” he said.

The channel now, according to Van der Ven, is “going to do great” because of what he believes is a perfect set of right time and right place characteristics in the market today. “I can’t say I can see anyone right away [among the current set of ACCPAC partners] that would not make it. Those ones that have been struggling a little bit may now get it going because they are more motivated, they get more support from us and they can see how this is all coming together now. But I am sure that among the new partners that we find there may be one or two absolute stars that will take over from some of the other guys,” he told ITP.net.

One of the first steps ACCPAC has taken is to remove the distribution aspect of its Middle East operations in order to bring the partner relationship directly into a one-to-one model. According to Van der Ven, this will help him to determine which partners have the ability to make a major success out of their ACCPAC business, and to work closely with them. “The ones I am really looking for are the ones who understand the potential. There are companies around the world in South Africa and Canada, for example, who have 12 or 13 offices world wide and they do only one thing—their only revenue is related to ACCPAC,” he said.

Partners that fit that mould, and with which Van der Ven is particularly interested in working, are those in the business of developing add-on solutions. “Things that we didn’t have in our products, for vertical markets that we weren’t addressing. So instead of just developing their own accounting software backend, they made sure that their product integrates with ACCPAC and that it looks and feels like ACCPAC,” he said.

ACCPAC competitor Great Plains Software meanwhile, tightened its links with Riyadh-based Digital Telecommunications and Computer Systems (DIGICOM).

According to the agreement, DIGICOM will provide Great Plains’ business management solutions in the Kingdom, as well as providing all after-sales and technical support services needed for implemented applications.

“Partnering with DIGICOM reflects our strategic commitment to empowering the Saudi market with the best available business management electronic solutions,” said Nizar Badwan, managing director of Great Plains Middle East.

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