Channel lessons Crystal clear for Business Objects

Channel lessons Crystal clear for Business Objects

Business intelligence outfit, Business Objects, is folding its local channel operations into that of Crystal Decisions, having completed the $US820 million acquisition of its former competitor last month.

The move will see Business Objects become a more channel focused operation, with its A/NZ managing director, Brenton Smith, estimating its direct sales percentage would fall from 75 to 60 per cent.

He estimated the channel merger would be completed within two months.

“The reseller side of the Crystal Decisions business was a main driver of the acquisition,” Smith said. “They have lots of dedicated resellers in Australia whereas Business Objects only started to build a channel in the past two years and only had seven resellers.”

Crystal Decisions had 10 resellers closely aligned to its Crystal Reports product but also had a network of more than 100 resellers buying product through its distributors, ACA Pacific and Tech Pacific.

Smith said he was keen to retain and build on that model.

“It’s a formula that’s worked well and now those partners have more products to sell,” he said. “We will look to integrate the channels quickly and those Crystal Decisions resellers wanting sell Business Objects, or vice versa, will be trained to do so.

“The reason for having a channel is to broaden your exposure and we rely on these guys to teach the users we don’t have access to.”

Smith said he had fielded enquiries from other distributors wanting to get onboard and said there was a possibility that a couple more would be added to the ranks.

He said Business Objects was currently conducting a channel study, which should be completed by the end of the month, to ensure the channel merger was efficient and to look at ways of increasing distributed revenue.

Channel Marketing Decisions had been employed as a consultancy to assist in this process.

Unusually, for a merger of direct competitors, Smith claimed the new Business Objects had retained all staff of both companies with the exception of former Crystal Decisions managing director, Rob Zalums.

He said Zalums had spent two months teaching him the Crystal Decisions ropes and had since joined Siebel Systems.

Smith said the new Business Objects team had recently been to the US to undergo some team building.

“It has been a frustrating wait because we knew the acquisition was going to happen but we couldn’t get going,” he said. “The task now is to get the local operation working as one.”

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