SYDNEY - Mid-range financials software vendor Great Plains has opened an office in Australia, to assist its existing business partner base, while actively seeking new ones.
Operating out of North Sydney and led by Austra/Asian country manager Rob Kirkey, the new team will roll out a number of programs to business partners, based around the Dynamics and Dynamics C/S+ lines of financial management software.
The opening also precedes the September release of Dynamics C/S+ 4.0. The new release offers features such as parameter-driven business alerts with integrated workflow systems, inter-company processing, and multi-dimensional analysis.
According to Steve Syndess, group vice president for international operations, the expansion is being funded with money raised at Great Plains' June stock market float. Previously the company was represented in Australia through Melbourne-based systems integrator Praxa, which acted as both a distributor and VAR. Praxa will remain a Great Plains VAR.
As for the local office, Kirkey says its priorities are to bring in stronger marketing and pre-sales support, and build its partners' mid-range expertise. Great Plains has also hired Greg Neyle from rival firm Systems Union as director of channel sales to boost its local knowledge. Kirkey sees his role moving forward as implementing a four-stage plan. The first step is to increase the satisfaction of existing customers, while the second is to establish the brand awareness for Great Plains software.
"The third thing we want to do is to work with our partners cooperatively to generate more leads," said Kirkey, "so that we can then close sales and accomplish the other strategies that we have moving forward.
"The last strategy is to build our partners' skills, with all the new technologies on the horizon, not only with financial management systems, but also in being able to have that integrated seamlessly with the other systems that a customer may have."
At the core
To help fulfil these aims Great Plains is rolling out Centre for Organisation Excellence (CORE), a program based around the theme of providing the resources and systems from headquarters out to its business partners.
Included in CORE is the Virtual Organisation Information Centre (VOICE), an Internet application that lets partners access company-related information. "If our partner wants to check which of their customers have what modules, using a Web browser they are able to get into one central database and find out," said Kirkey.
Partners can also use VOICE to monitor which of their customer's enhancement programs are due to expire, or keep track of their own internal skill levels.
CORE also features a Web recruiting program called CareerDirections, where prospective employees and students can post their CVs online, and look at positions throughout the world within Great Plains and its partners.
The vendor has also commenced the Dynamics Education Alliance Network (DEAN). Designed to integrate Dynamics into tertiary educational institutions, Great Plains has already implemented DEAN at Sydney's Bankstown TAFE, where accounting courses are integrated with the Dynamics product set. "Universities can use Great Plains Dynamics and Dynamics C/S+ to show students how you would move an accounting system," said Kirkey.
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