Vendor relationships make for a more Professional Advantage

Vendor relationships make for a more Professional Advantage

Value-added reseller Professional Advantage claims to have reaped the benefits of aligning closely with Microsoft's Business Solutions group, abandoning other vendors that did not provide enough support for its channel.

Professional Advantage is a reseller and implementation partner for mid-market software vendors such as Microsoft Great Plains, SunSystems and Epicor, and also develops third-party applications around these products. For much of its history, Professional Advantage has been aligned closely with Oracle, but in recent months this strategy has been abandoned after the reseller grew frustrated with Oracle's inability to be flexible or prioritise channel relationships above its direct sales effort.

Joint managing director Derek Rippingdale said the opposite applies when discussing the company's relationship with Microsoft, which love it or hate it, tends to be considered a reliable vendor partner for the IT channel.

"The channel strategies of Oracle and Microsoft is a contrast of extremes," Rippingdale said. "A reseller's success is based on the success of its relationship with its vendor partners. Oracle had little understanding of how to run a channel and sell through partners. Meanwhile, our relationship with Microsoft is going from strength to strength."

The 200-strong company is currently experiencing growth in the US market on the back of its ties with current vendor partners.

Whenever Professional Advantage's customers have a requirement that its vendor software packages cannot solve, Professional Advantage's team of developers use vendor development toolkits to extend the functionality of the products without changing their look and feel.

These extensions are often resold through the international reseller channels of Professional Advantage's vendor partners. "The software vendors we work with have ISV programs in place that enable us to leverage their broad base if we develop a specific functionality for a vertical that may be applicable elsewhere in the world," Rippingdale said.

The company's innovative value-adds has earned it a fair share of awards. For the fourth year in a row, Professional Advantage has taken out the Great Plains Asia-Pacific partner of the year award. It also took out the gong for Partners' Choice Solution Developer award, voted by other Great Plains VARs and ISVs.

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