Sage CRM Channel & Deployment Considerations
Sage Group manages a well organized business partner channel of value added resellers (VARs) that resell the CRM software and deliver professional services—including implementation consulting, business process reengineering, system integration and software customization—throughout the world. While customer procurement of the Sage CRM software as a service solution does not necessarily require the same extent of local consulting services, such services are without question valuable in accelerating deployment time and getting maximum utility from the CRM application.
Competition for value added resellers (VARs) and business partners is intense among large software vendors such as Microsoft and SAP, as well as a host of emerging growth suppliers, all competing for a finite number of distribution and solution partners. In recent years the Sage channel has been challenged and declined among some business software product lines. However, the company has stepped up to reaffirm is channel strategy.
In 2010 and well into 2011, with programs such as Sage Partner Advantage, the company has increased its focus, investment and commitment to further growing the partner channel, and the results are beginning to materialize. In 2010, there were 1,200 new partner applications, 110 new partner authorizations, 176 new product certifications, 300 new partner employees dedicated to Sage solutions, and over 200 new partners. A growing channel is highly influential in customers having access to local support and an expanding directory of integrated third party products.
To get additional value from your Sage software investment, the company recently implemented the Sage Advisor Technology—an online monitoring program that identifies potential issues or opportunities for Sage software users to improve their software usage. The Sage Advisor Technology program uses a rules-based engine, data mining techniques and performance tracking to deliver software recommendations via a live Sage support agent or a virtual assistant generated message. Some bloggers suggest Sage may use this technology as an up-selling and cross-selling tool to suggest product renewals or new purchases, but this has yet to be seen. At this point, the technology is only available to Peachtree customers, but is expected to be rolled out to CRM customers in the near term.
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