Bad news always seems to roll out from Sage on the day before a long weekend and yesterday was no exception. A channel-wide message titled “New Unified Certification and Authorization Program” announced that partners in Sage’s channel who wanted to re-sell or support Sage Fixed Assets have until September 30, 2012 to pony up a reduced amount of $1,300 and pass two tests (Update: See my notes below for full details on how and why I compute this amount).
Sage’s email is very confusing with respect to the total costs a typical Sage Fixed Asset consultant might expect to pay. For example, they introduce a selling (Application Competency) and a consulting competency (Implementation Competency) – both of which appear to have separate fees of $1,000 each. Yet in Sage’s email they indicate through 9/30/12 that existing partners can certify for the cost of only one competency. There is no mention of whether this earns the Sage partner both the Application and Support competencies or only one.
These certifications are in line with similar costly requirements for Sage’s core ERP products though some noted channel concerns are:
- This notice comes about two weeks after Sage’s conference – was it discussed there?
- It requires partners to certify (or at least apply) prior to Sage’s fiscal year end in September 2012 – slightly over 30 days’ notice
- The term optional in referencing the need to take both competencies is loosely applied – in practical terms both competencies will be required in order to obtain both sell and receive support (It’s absolutely true if you just sell or just support that you’d only need one competency).
- For those partners who fail to initially certify within the time period that Sage is waiving certain costs – it would appear based on Sage’s own email that future Sage Fixed Asset certification will cost $5,000 — computed as the $3,000 enrollment fee plus two competencies of $1,000 each.
- $5,000 for the ability to sell and support Fixed Assets (after the initial grandfather/waiver of fees period passes)?
In order to reach certification, each partner must maintain the following competency roles:
Application Consultant (required to sell Sage Fixed Assets).
Implementation Consultant (optional competency: required to install Sage Fixed Assets).
Individuals who complete each competency role will be given the designation of “Certified Consultant.”
Initial competency role fees will now be $1,000 per role for new partners. This fee includes five support cases and all required training/assessments to complete the competency. Partner employees who have previously completed the FAS certification training have been grandfathered as a certified consultant and mapped to the Application Consultant competency role as appropriate.
The annual renewal fee for each Certified Consultant will be $650. This fee includes ten support cases, along with any required recertification training and assessment for each competency held.
Here’s my opinion.
What’s the purpose of this new certification along with $1,350 initial fee ($5,000 for new partners after 9/30/12)?
In my opinion it’s a move by Sage to clear the decks for sales of Fixed Assets directly to customers. With this shotgun approach Sage effectively tells partners who complain about direct sales and support that they offered a way for the partner to become certified.
The back channel discussion from partners I’ve spoken with can be summarized as:
- I would have subtitled this “Sage announces new business line – the business of certifying consultants to be certified to sell”
- My thoughts exactly….
- Exactly what I thought when I saw it.
- Couldn’t have mentioned it at Summit?
- When I saw this my first thought was “Good riddance FAS”.
What does this mean to partners?
In order to reach the required certification by September 30, 2012, you will need at least one employee to sign up for the Application Consultant competency role as outlined above.
If you do this by September 30, Sage will provide the following:
- Waive the Sage Fixed Assets Enrollment Fees.
- Reduce the competency fee from $1,000 to $650. (Note: Sage waives a number of initial costs – I compute the promotional initial sign-up as $650 x 2 roles = $1,300. Technically a partner would only need one competency but that would appear to only allow them to either sell or support/consult. In this day customers have a funny expectation that you’ll do both – so I’ve therefore computed the initial fee for all practical purposes as being 2 competency roles times the initial reduced $650 each. After 9/30/12 it appears that the enrollment fee is $3,000 plus two competencies of $1,000/ea for $ 5,000 total for a brand new Sage Fixed Assets partner who certifies for all competencies.).
- The reduced competency fee of $650 will include five support cases, the required training, and assessment test.
- Waive the annual product line fee until December 2013.
- Waive the annual Certified Consultant renewal fee of $650 until December 2013.