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Infor casts net in search of Middle East partners

Vows to maintain aggressive drive for new partners irrespective of fears that enterprise users are buying less corporate software

Business software vendor Infor has vowed to maintain its aggressive drive for new partners in the Middle East irrespective of fears that enterprise users are buying less corporate software in light of the financial downturn.

The US$2.2 billion-a-year ERP and business management applications outfit is keen to reinforce its channel ranks in the region, one of the few places where the bulk of its sales are delivered through partners. Globally, the channel accounts for less than 25% of its business, the rest being delivered through its direct operation or to large global accounts.

“We are recruiting partners, but we are looking for quality, not quantity,” explained Jean-Philippe Pommel, VP of channels at Infor EMEA. “For example, if there is one solution for CRM then we are not going to be looking for 20 partners to carry it in Saudi Arabia, we are going to be looking for maybe one or two. That means we take time in recruiting partners, but it is a very important process for us.”

Infor has added three new partners to its roster since the end of last year, bringing on board Sun distributor Tech Access and solutions providers Comm IT and Azimuth.

That has taken the number of partners that Infor works with in the Middle East to 20, but Pommel is keen to ramp it up further.

“We think we can get to 30 partners in the coming 18 months — that is the timeframe we are working to,” he revealed, adding that the company’s recruitment efforts will be accompanied by an increase in the level of certification and training made available to partners.

Infor says it is seeking partners that can sell and implement its range of ‘extended solutions’, which encompass asset management, performance management and supply chain management software suites.

“We have two types of solutions – ERP and financial solution on the one side and then extended solutions on the other,” said Pommel. “Most of the growth that we are expecting will come from extended solutions so that is the reason we are mainly recruiting for this area. We are not really focusing on ERP because, frankly, we have good partners there already so there is no need for that.”

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