Plain truth: ISV and resellers just love it

Plain truth: ISV and resellers just love it

Sydney-based ISV eOne has signed its 80th reseller for a product that is barely five months old.

The ISV has enjoyed a phenomenal acceleration in sales after launching its first product in September 2002, thanks to a close working relationship with its vendor partner.

A small team at eOne began developing a product called eXtender immediately after hearing that software heavyweight, Microsoft, intended to acquire accounting software vendor, Great Plains.

Chief Executive, Simon Butler, said the company realised very quickly that there was a missing piece in the Great Plains software that could prove to be a valuable contribution as a Microsoft ISV partner.

“We knew that if you could cut down the cost of development you could make the [Great Plains] product far more affordable,” he said.

The team at eOne spent the better part of two years developing eXtender, a tool that sits on top of Great Plains accounting software that allows users to add extra fields and functionality to the software without needing to write any code.

“This type of functionality is not normally available inside the accounting software itself,” Butler said. “Companies can build forms on the fly and specify what fields and tables are needed for their business. Those fields are then integrated back through the whole Great Plains suite.”

Butler said the rapid rise in channel agreements was due to a close relationship with Microsoft in the US. The company chose the Microsoft Business Solutions global partner conference in the US as an ideal occasion to launch the eXtender product and had since erected booths at most of the vendor’s relevant partner events worldwide.

Butler said the 80 partners already selling eXtender were the tip of the iceberg.

“By the end of March I reckon it will be 160,” he said.

Butler said the real value of the product lay in the cost savings a company could accrue through avoiding the pitfalls of custom development.

“We have taken out the old paradigm of having to pay for custom development every time you buy or upgrade your accounting software,” he said. “We have made eXtender upgrade-proof – you will not need to call in your developer again when you want to upgrade your software.”

In a recent deal involving a large UK reseller, Butler said a custom development job was quoted at $135,000 while the implementation of eXtender to do the same job was quoted as $41,000.

“The savings are obvious,” he said.

In Australia, the eXtender product is sold by eOne’s own implementation division alongside a range of Microsoft Great Plains resellers.

Butler said that having a 13-strong team of implementers pitching against resellers had potential for conflict, but it had not caused any major problems so far.

“To be honest, with a model like this there is always going to be a chance of channel conflict,” he said. “We are very open with our partners about it. Most of the time, we let them run on the deal and they contract us for help with implementation anyway.”

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